The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession

October 29, 2016 - March 5, 2017

Pictorialism was the first truly international photography movement, and its practitioners, among them Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen and Gertrude Käsebier, sought to position photography as a legitimate aesthetic art form. They favored soft-focus images that drew upon the conventions of important artists and movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, James McNeill Whistler, Japonisme, and Art Nouveau are readily seen in the images on view in this exhibition.
In 1902 Alfred Stieglitz and other Pictorialist photographers founded the Photo-Secession in New York, with Camera Work as the flagship periodical that published images by the group. Their poetic compositions drawn from contemporary life, combined with the use of expensive and labor-intensive printing materials such as platinum and gum bichromate, established these photographs as complex and nuanced works of high artistic quality. The exhibition features work by the principal Pictorialists, including Stieglitz, Steichen, Käsebier, Clarence White, Paul Strand, and Alvin Langdon Coburn.


Images

Alfred Stieglitz. The Steerage, 1907, photogravure. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum purchase made possible by a gift from Helmut Stern, 1995/2.23

Alice Boughton. Dawn, from “Camera Work—A Photographic Quarterly, Issue No. 26, April, 1909”, 1909, photogravure. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of the Morris and Beverly Baker Foundation, in memory of Morris D. Baker, a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Architecture, 1952, 2000/2.141.2

Edward Jean Steichen. Balzac—Towards the Light, Midnight, Meudon, from “Camera Work—A Photographic Quarterly, Issue No. 34/35, April-July 1911", 1901, photogravure. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Larry and Maxine Snider, 2012/1.217

John Bullock. Mother and Child (Mrs. George Vaux and George Vaux, Jr.), ca. 1902, sepia-toned platinum print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Museum purchase, 1978/2.51

Timeline

Exhibition Timeline

SatOct 29
Exhibition Opens
Sun
Nov 13
The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Dec 11
The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Jan 15
The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Jan 15
The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Feb 12
In Conversation: Alfred Stieglitz and the Struggle for Photography as a Fine Art
3:00pm4:00pm
Artists and Curators / Exhibitions Related
Sat
Feb 18
SMTD@UMMMA: Elevation: New Heights in the Concert Hall
7:00pm9:00pm
Exhibitions Related / Performing Arts
Sun
Feb 19
The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
Sun
Mar 5
The Aesthetic Movement in America: Artists of the Photo-Secession
2:00pm3:00pm
Gallery Talks and Tours
SunMar 5
Exhibition Closes