MELBOURNE.- The work of some of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century will be brought together in a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria opening on 2 May.
291: Photographers in the circle of Alfred Stieglitz will explore the work of photographer Alfred Stieglitz and the artists who exhibited at his 291 gallery in New York during the early twentieth century.
This exhibition will bring together approximately 40 works from the NGV Collection, including works by artists such as Edward Steichen, Gertrude Kasebier, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Adolphe De Meyer, Paul Haviland, Paul Strand and Alfred Stieglitz himself. The exhibition explores a broad range of subjects including the city, still life and portraiture.
Stieglitz championed the cause of artistic photography with the Photo-Secession group, a group dedicated to raising the standards and awareness of artistic photography.
In 1908 he established the Little Galleries of the Photo Secession at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York, which later became known simply as 291. The 291 gallery aimed to promote photography as a medium for artistic expression, which was a radical proposition for a time when photography was not considered a legitimate form of art.
Susan van Wyk, Curator of Photography, NGV said that Stieglitz was a monumental figure in twentieth century art.
“Alfred Stieglitz changed the way people thought about photography as art. This exhibition will offer a look into the activities and passionate vision of Alfred Stieglitz and will evoke something of the 291 exhibitions that exerted such a lasting influence on twentieth-century photography.”
Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “291 was not just a gallery, it was a meeting place, a forum for new ideas and a venue that supported avant-garde artists. This exhibition provides the viewer with a window into this fascinating period of time within the history of modern photography.”
Alfred Steiglitz was born in New Jersey in 1864. As a young man, while studying engineering in Berlin, he began to photograph. By the time he returned to America in 1890, he had established his reputation in avant-garde photography circles.