Venetian Gamin, 1894
gelatin silver print, flush-mounted on board, mounted again on second board, in original An American Place frame, printed 1934
signed, titled and dated '1887' in ink on affixed An American Place label (original frame backing board)
image/sheet/flush mount: 7 5/8 x 6 3/8 in. (19.3 x 16.2 cm.)
secondary mount: 14 1/2 x 11 1/4 in. (36.8 x 28.5 cm.)
Anonymously gifted to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1942;
Photographs from The Museum of Modern Art, Sotheby's, New York, October 22, 2002, lot 44;
acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
Martha A. Sandweiss, Masterworks of American Photography: The Amon Carter Museum Collection, Fort Worth, 1982, pl. 111.
William Innes Homer, Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession, Little Brown & Co., Boston, 1983, p. 21 (variation).
Sarah Greenough & Juan Hamilton, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs & Writings, Bulfinch Press/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1999, pl. 4.
Sarah Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set, Volume One 1886-1922, Abrams/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002, fig. 53, p. XLVIII and pp. 100-101, cat. nos. 167-169.
New York, An American Place, Alfred Stieglitz, Exhibition of Photographs (18841934), December 11, 1934–January 17, 1935.

Lot Essay

On December 10, 1942, The Museum of Modern Art, New York sent a press release inviting art editors to preview ‘New Acquisitions’ and ’10 Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz’, among which was the print offered in the current lot, Venetian Gamin. 'The ten newly acquired photographs to be shown at the Museum on Wednesday,' the release read, 'were selected by Mr. Stieglitz from his earliest and latest works. From his earliest period, when he was a student in Germany, he has chosen three famous photographs which anticipate photography today and which have frequently been reproduced:

'November Days, Munich, 1884
Venetian Gamin, Venice, 1887
Paula, sometimes titled Sunrays or Lights and Shadows, Berlin, 1889

The prints of all three were made by Mr. Stieglitz in the summer of 1934.'

Before entering the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in 1942, the print had been exhibited at Stieglitz’s gallery, An American Place, and still retains the white metal frame in which it was originally exhibited. When this print was offered at auction in 2002, it was noted that the Museum had the original printer's notations on file, which were quite specific and likely provided by Stieglitz himself.

In Sarah Greenough's essay for The Key Set, she notes that this image was included in Stieglitz's last one-person exhibition at An American Place in late 1934, early 1935. Given the print date of the present work, its original frame, and its original gallery label, this appears to have been the print that was included in that very exhibition. The show included only works made in the first and last decades of Stieglitz's career, as way of drawing connections between his early and his most recent work. The early works, including Venetian Gamin, were now printed as gelatin silver prints, presenting the images with a more modern aesthetic as compared to the late nineteenth-century tone achieved through processes more associated with Pictorialism such as platinum, carbon and gum bichromate. (Greenough, The Key Set, p. XLIX.)

Greenough locates gelatin silver prints of this image in the following Stieglitz collections: The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Greenough, The Key Set, p. 101).

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