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The Hand of Man, 1902

The Hand of Man, 1902
gelatin silver contact print, flush-mounted on paper, with original single-ply window mat, printed 1920s–1930s
signed, titled and dated in pencil (window mat, recto); annotated 'Mr. CG Goddack' with framer's notations in pencil (window mat, verso)
image: 4 x 4 7/8 in. (10.1 x 12.3 cm.)
sheet/flush mount: 4 x 5 7/8 in. (10.1 x 14.9 cm.)
window mat: 12 3/8 x 9 7/8 in. (31.4 x 25 cm.)
Christie's, New York, November 8, 1982, lot 218;
acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
Alfred Stieglitz, Camera Work, New York, no. 1, January 1903, p. 47 & no. 36, October 1911, pl. XIII.
Waldo Frank et al. (eds), America & Alfred Stieglitz: A Collective Portrait, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Garden City, 1934, pl. XXV, B.
Dorothy Norman, Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer, Random House/Aperture, New York, 1960, pl. X.
Doris Bry, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographer, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1965, pl. 7.
John Walsh et al., In Focus: Alfred Stieglitz, Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, pl. 4, p. 16.
Sarah Greenough & Juan Hamilton, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs & Writings, Bulfinch Press/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1999, pl. 15.
Sarah Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set, Volume One 1886-1922, Abrams/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002, pp. 164-66, cat. nos. 277-280.
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Lot Essay

'...I often walked the streets of New York... I loathed the dirty streets, yet I was fascinated. I wanted to photograph everything I saw. Wherever I looked there was a picture that moved me -- the derelicts, the secondhand clothing shops, the rag pickers, the tattered and the torn. All found a warm spot in my heart...I loved the signs, even the slush as well as the snow, the rain and the lights as night fell. Above all there was the burning idea of photography, of pushing its possibilities even further.' -- Alfred Stieglitz, 1890-1895

One of Alfred Stieglitz’s most iconic images, The Hand of Man serves as a link between his early Pictorialist vision and his mature modernist direction. The artist himself regarded it as one of his seminal images; the combined effect of the atmospheric impressions and the power of industry are indelible. Stieglitz reproduced it twice as a small-format gravure in Camera Work, in Number 1 (1903) and then much later in the definitive issue Number 36 (1911), which included only his own images.

Gelatin silver contact prints of this work are very rare, and all but the present lot are in public collections. In Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs, Sarah Greenough locates twelve such prints in public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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