Edward Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879–1973)
In 1901 Edward Steichen shared a studio with fellow photographer F. Holland Day. As he recounted in his autobiography, “I dressed up in one of Day’s stocks, draped his mantle around my shoulders, picked up a palette and brush, and posed in the mirror for what I thought was going to be photography’s answer to [Titian’s] ‘Man with a Glove.’” He spent a year working to create a print that reflected his vision.
Self-Portrait with Brush and Palette is characterized by passages of moody darkness and dramatic highlights. The visible brushstrokes in the print are the result of the gum bichromate process, a favorite of Pictorialist photographers, although Steichen also altered the surface of the print after development. While Steichen considered himself both a painter and a photographer, he chose to represent himself with palette and brush, not with the seemingly more technical tool of the camera, modeling the belief successful fine art photography could only be achieved through painterly handicraft and compositional mastery.
Additional resources related to this object are to the right. Comprehensive material analysis can be found in the Object Research PDF.
 Edward Steichen, A Life in Photography (Doubleday, 1963), n.p.