Edward Steichen (March 27,
1879 – March 25, 1973), born in Bivange, Luxembourg, was an American photographer, painter,
and art gallery and museum curator.
He was the most frequently
featured photographer in Alfred
' groundbreaking magazine Camera Work
during its run from 1903 to
1917. Steichen also contributed the logo
and a custom typeface
to the magazine.
partnership with Steiglitz, Steichen opened the "Little Galleries
of the Photo-Secession", which was eventually known as 291, after its address.
This gallery presented
among the first American exhibitions of (among others) Henri Matisse
, Auguste Rodin
, Paul Cézanne
, Pablo Picasso
, and Constantin Brancusi
. Serving in the
in World War
(and the US Navy
in the Second World War
), he commanded significant
units contributing to military
. He was a photographer for the Condé Nast
and Vanity Fair
and concurrently worked for many advertising agencies including
J. Walter Thompson
these years Steichen was regarded as the best known and highest
paid photographer in the world. Steichen directed the war documentary The Fighting Lady
, which won the 1945
for Best Documentary.
World War II he was Director of the Department of Photography at
New York's Museum of
Modern Art until 1962. While at MoMA, in 1955 he curated and
assembled the exhibit The Family of Man. The exhibit eventually traveled to sixty-nine
countries, was seen by nine million people, and sold two and a half
million copies of a companion book.
In 1962, Steichen hired
to be his successor
at the Museum of Modern Art.
His family moved to the United States in 1881 and he became a
Having established himself as a fine art
painter in the beginning of the 20th century, Steichen assumed the
approach in photography
and proved himself a master of it.
Partnership with Stieglitz
Steichen met Alfred Stieglitz
1900, on his first trip to New York City from his home in
Milwaukee. In that first meeting, Steiglitz expressed praise for
Steichen's background in painting, and also bought three
photographic prints of Steichen's.
In 1902, when Stieglitz was formulating what would become Camera Work
, he asked Steichen to
design the logo for the magazine, with a custom typeface.
Steichen helped create the Little
Galleries of the Photo-Secession with Stieglitz.
After World War I
, during which he commanded the
photographic division of the American Expeditionary Forces
he reverted to straight
, gradually moving into fashion photography
. Steichen's 1928
photo of actress Greta Garbo
recognized as one of the definitive portraits of Garbo.
The initial publication of Ansel Adams
image Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico
was in U.S.
Camera Annual 1943
, after being selected by Steichen, who
was serving as "photo judge" for the publication. This gave
Moonrise an audience before its first formal exhibition at
the Museum of Modern
Art in 1944.
During World War II
, he served as
Director of the Naval
. His war documentary The Fighting Lady
won the 1945
for Best Documentary.
war, Steichen served until 1962 as the Director of Photography at
New York's Museum of
other accomplishments, Steichen is appreciated for creating
The Family of
Man in 1955, a vast exhibition at the Museum of
Modern Art consisting of over 500 photos that depicted life, love
and death in 68 countries.
, wrote a "Prologue" for
the exhibition catalog. As had been Steichen's wish, the exhibition
was donated to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is now permanently
housed in the Luxembourg town of Clervaux.
On December 6, 1963, Steichen was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
by President Lyndon Johnson
A show of
early color photographs by Steichen was held at Mudam Luxembourg
from July 14 to September 3, 2007.
In February 2006, a copy of Steichen's early pictorialist
(1904), sold for what was then the highest
price ever paid for a photograph at auction, U.S. $2.9 million.
(See List of most
Steichen took the photograph in Mamaroneck, New York
near the home of
his friend, art critic Charles
. The photo features a wooded area and pond, with
moonlight appearing between the trees and reflecting on the pond.
While the print appears to be a color photograph, the first true
color photographic process, the autochrome
process, was not available until 1907.
Steichen created the impression of color by manually applying
layers of light-sensitive gums to the paper. In 1904, only a few
photographers were using this experimental approach. Only three
known versions of the Pond-Moonlight are still in existence and, as
a result of the hand-layering of the gums, each is unique. In
addition to the auctioned print, the other two versions are held in
museum collections. The extraordinary sale price of the print is,
in part, attributable to its one-of-a-kind character and to its
Image:Steichen flatiron.jpg|The Flatiron
Building in a photograph of 1904, taken by
Image:Camera_Work_cover.jpg|The cover of Camera Work
, showing Steichen's design
and custom typeface. Also, being Issue 2, the entire volume was
devoted to Steichen's
Edward Steichen. Published in Camera Work
1903Image:JP_Morgan.jpg|Portrait of J.P.
, taken in 1903
- DePietro, Anne Cohen; Goley, Mary Anne (2003). Eduard
Steichen: Four Paintings in Context. Hollis Taggart
- DePietro, Anne Cohen (1985). The Paintings of Eduard
Steichen. Huntington, NY: The Heckscher Museum. (Exhibition
- Mitchell, Emily (2007). The Last Summer of the World.
Norton. (A fictional narrative about Steichen.)
- Niven, Penelope (1997). Steichen: A Biography. New
York: Clarkson Potter. ISBN 0-517-59373-4.
- Sandeen, Eric J. (1995). Picturing an Exhibition: 'The
Family of Man and 1950's America.
University of New Mexico Press.
- Smith, Joel (1999). Edward Steichen: The Early Years.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Steichen, Edward (1955). The Family of Man: The Greatest
Photographic Exhibition of All Time. New York: Maco Pub. Co
for the Museum of Modern Art.