Anderson Galleries and the Intimate Gallery
With the closure of the gallery 291 in 1917, Alfred Stieglitz found himself without a public platform for the first time in thirty years. In 1921 he was invited to show his work at the Park Avenue gallery and auction house Anderson Galleries. The exhibition, a retrospective of 145 photographs created from 1886 to 1921, featured the first public showing of Stieglitz’s composite portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe. This led to a series of exhibitions organized by Stieglitz within Anderson Galleries, eventually culminating in the creation of the Intimate Gallery, a small space he rented within the auction house’s building. There he showcased the work of a group of American artists, including photographer Paul Strand and painters Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, and O’Keeffe.
During this time Stieglitz shifted away from the European-influenced modernism that had been the core of 291’s program, instead promoting a uniquely American modern art. An exhibition pamphlet for the Intimate Gallery describes Stieglitz’s mission:
The Intimate Gallery is dedicated primarily to an Idea and is an American Room. . . . It is in the Intimate Gallery only that the complete evolution . . . of these American workers can be seen and studied.
The Intimate Gallery is a Direct Point of Contact between Public and Artist. . . . Alfred Stieglitz has volunteered his services and is its directing Spirit.
The Intimate Gallery is not a Business nor is it a “Social” Function. The Intimate Gallery competes with no one nor with anything.
Though the Intimate Gallery was intended to be a cooperative effort among the artists represented, Stieglitz was at the helm—sales and pricing were dependent on his estimate of what the buyer could afford, and whether he or she were sufficiently devoted to the works. The profits went into a rent pool, which was distributed by Stieglitz to the artists depending on their financial need. Visitors to the Intimate Gallery could expect to be pulled into an ongoing conversation led by Stieglitz, covering a range of topics including—but by no means limited to—modern art.
 Intimate Gallery, Forty New Water-Colors by John Marin, exh. cat. (Intimate Gallery, 1927), n.p. http://brbl-dl.library.yale.edu/vufind/Record/3776752