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Stieglitz:  A Beginning Light

Stieglitz: A Beginning Light
Katherine Hoffman
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004
TR140 .S7 H64 2004

This book weaves together biographical, historical, and artistic strands to present a colorful tapestry of the early life and work of photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946). Generously illustrated, the volume includes photographs Stieglitz took in Europe (some rarely seen), his first works in the United States, and Katherine Hoffman's new photographs of sites important in the young Stieglitz's life. The book is the first to look closely at the photographer's formative years and photographic works before 1917.

Although born in New Jersey, Stieglitz's ancestry lay in Germany where he spent some of his high-school and university years. He immersed himself in European culture of the late nineteenth century, read voraciously, and attended musical performances of all varieties. Stieglitz loved Goethe's Faust , admired Wagner's concept of the "Gesamtkunstwerk," was strongly affected by the German painter Wilhelm Hasemann, and appreciated the Symbolist aesthetic that was gaining prominence in Europe. At the same time, Stieglitz felt the pull of American democratic influences and was an admirer of such writers as Mark Twain and Walt Whitman. Stieglitz: A Beginning Light traces the merging of European and American traditions, and innovations in Stieglitz's work. The book also recounts his tireless - and often lonely - efforts to gain recognition for the Modernist cause and for photography as a fine art. His innovative work as photographer, editor, writer, and gallery director demonstrated in the early years of his career not only a capacity to break away from static, academic approaches to art and photography but also a genuinely original artistic spirit.

Quoted from dust jacket.