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Alfred Stieglitz New York

By Bonnie Yochelson

Iconic images of the city from one of the masters of photography collected for the first time in a charming homage to lost New York. Here is “The City of Ambition”—the New York that inspires dreams, the Gotham of the early twentieth century, when grand skyscrapers sprouted everywhere amid columns of steam. Alfred Stieglitz—the legendary art impresario and husband of Georgia O’Keeffe—forged a paean to his native city, finding inspiration on the streets, from the harbor ferry, and in the high-rise views. In her essay, respected art historian Bonnie Yochelson places Stieglitz’s work within the context of the burgeoning commercial world around him and other artists of the period. Stieglitz witnessed a key period in New York’s history when the city suddenly transformed into a modern metropolis. As a child, he grew up in an upper Fifth Avenue brownstone still surrounded by empty lots and dirt roads. Naturally, he was fascinated by the monumental buildings rising around him, and you can sense his wonder in these images. Among the classic buildings he so artfully captured here are the (now demolished) Madison Square Garden, the Flatiron, Rockefeller Center, the Waldorf Astoria, the Chrysler, and the Empire State. His images formed archetypes that would go on to shape the imagination of generations. This intimate volume makes for a beautiful souvenir of timeless New York, a city of striving and dreaming.

Bonnie Yochelson is former curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, and an art historian specializing in photography. Her other books include Jacob Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half (Yale University Press, with the Museum of the City of New York and the Library of Congress, 2015) and Berenice Abbott: Changing New York (New Press, 1997).

Reviews

“Brings together Stieglitz’s photographs of New York City for the first time since 1932, when he showcased his own New York photographs at his midtown gallery, An American Place … Selections of these works are brought together again and discussed for the first time to show the rise of a modern city from the personal perspective of one of the twentieth century’s greatest photographers.” Huffington Post

“In a new book by Bonnie Yochelson … Stieglitz’s photos are put into a contemporary context. At the time, the young photographer sought to produce romantic imagery that channeled his own fascination with the city.” The Wall Street Journal

“Alfred Stieglitz does not need the Lens blog to enhance his reputation. So there is no real point in urging readers to see the exhibition Alfred Stieglitz New York at the Seaport Museum, whose curator describes it as the first show of the master’s collected New York photographs in 78 years. We know that if you can see this show, you will. And if you can’t see the show in person, you can buy the accompanying book, written by Bonnie Yochelson, the curator of the exhibition, and published by Skira Rizzoli at the attractive price of $25.” New York Times, “Lens Blog

“By way of an elegantly mapped visual experience, Alfred Stieglitz New York successfully presents a coherent, essential theme through all three sections—a sense of Stieglitz the man, as he saw himself through all the facets of the city of New York.” ArtsEditor

“A crisp view into life in turn of the century Manhattan.”  New York Observer

Alfred Stieglitz New York

Skira Rizzoli, in association with the Museum of the City of New York and the South Street Seaport Museum, 2011

Also by Bonnie Yochelson

Yale University Press, in association with the Museum of the City of New York and the Library of Congress, 2015