American & European Works of Art
Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864-1946)
The Two Poplars, Lake George, with The Dying Chestnut Tree mounted on the reverse, 1934. Unsigned. Gelatin silver prints, image/sheet sizes to 8 7/8 x 6 in. (22.5 x 15.3 cm),matted, unframed.
Condition: Poplars has two subtle chemical stains in u.l. quadrant, minor abrasion or similar l.l., Chestnut with minor silvering.
Provenance: Gift of Carl Zigrosser to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1975; sold with the approval of the Trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to benefit acquisition funds.
N.B. As a founding member of the Photo-Secession and publisher of Camera Work, Alfred Stieglitz was a major force in the promotion and elevation of photography as a fine art in America at the turn of the 20th century. While Stieglitz was based in New York City, he created some of his most exploratory photographs, including his celebrated Equivalents series of clouds, at his country estate in Lake George. Another subject to which he first turned his attention in 1932 was that of a stand of poplar trees, which he photographed from multiple angles and distances. These compositions reflect his shift from a Pictorialist to a modernist "straight" aesthetic, punctuated by the power lines that cross through the lower left corner, while also reflecting his embrace of the poplars and other trees on the property as a source of personal meditation.
This photograph was originally in the personal collection of Carl Zigrosser, who served as curator of prints, drawings, and rare books at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 1941 to 1963.
The name "Zigrosser" appears on the Dying Chestnut print at c.r.; since there are no indentations in the sheet, it may be transfer from something resting over its surface.
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