ALFRED STIEGLITZ | Ernest Gutman, 1933 | Gelatin silver print, mounted
Sold for $43,750 at The Face of Modernism: A Private West Coast Collection, 4 April 2012, New York.
As one of the harbingers of American Modernism in the early 20th century, Alfred Stieglitz passionately championed the works of numerous fledging American and European artists at his galleries. His first, Little Galleries of the Photo Secession, commonly referred to as “291”, lasted from 1904 to 1917; the next, Intimate Gallery, a space he had been designated within Anderson Galleries, ran from 1925 to 1929; and lastly, An American Place, from 1929 until his death in 1946. As a patriarch in the arts community, his galleries were a hub for avant-garde intellectuals, writers, philosophers and artists, who would jointly engage in Modernist discourse. In this image, the self-taught sculptor Ernest Gutman is seen at An American Place. His close proximity to the camera and the direct eye-contact with Stieglitz speak of their fondness for each other. This is further enhanced by the fact that by the time the portrait was taken, Stieglitz had largely ceased taking photographs of his friends and peers, and reserved his portraits for only those to whom he felt particularly close, such as his wife Georgia O’Keeffe, his lover Dorothy Norman, and Richard Menshausen, the caretaker of the Stieglitz family’s property at Lake George.
This print is a contact print from the artist’s 8 x 10 in. negative which was mounted later by Doris Bry, per Georgia O’Keeffe’s instructions. Doris Bry began her association with Georgia O’Keeffe in 1947 and is considered one of the leading specialists in the life and work of both Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. This print is one of three recorded prints of this image. The remaining two prints are in the collections of The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and The Cleveland Museum of Art.