Jan 12, 2007




Alfred Stieglitz

(American, 1864–1946)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 11.9 x 9.2 cm (4 11/16 x 3 5/8 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1988.39



Between 1922 and 1931, Stieglitz worked on a series of extraordinary photographs of the sun and clouds that he called “equivalents.” Each one has its own distinctive forms, tones, light and shadow patterns, and symbolism. In this visually engaging, unmanipulated contact print—rich in light and dark patterns—he transformed observable information into abstracted forms. He eliminated all expected references to reality often found in landscape photography, creating a sense of disorientation. The image offers no internal evidence to locate the work in a time or place, as all indications of ground or horizon have been banished. Stripped of their functional properties and traditional associations as pictorial elements in a landscape, the clouds become abstract configurations that Stieglitz saw as equivalents of emotional tension and spiritual conflict, representing his internal feelings in flux.

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