Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879–1973)
This portrait of Alfred Stieglitz, taken in the galleries of 291, was made using gum bichromate, a medium favored by the Pictorialist photographers. However, it shows very little of the brushy effects that were so appealing to the “gummers.” Instead, Steichen pushed the process to its limits, capturing the fine, dark-on-dark detail of Stieglitz’s suit as well as the range of midtones in the artwork behind him. The two lightest spots on the print, behind Stieglitz’s left ear and on his collar, reveal that Steichen did resort to wiping away the emulsion. But unlike his Self-Portrait with Brush and Palette, the brushed effect is minimal, used only to provide tonal rather than textural contrast.
Additional resources related to this object are to the right. Comprehensive material analysis can be found in the Object Research PDF.