A monumental figure in twentieth-century photography, Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) changed the course of the medium not only with his extraordinary photographs, but also with his passionate efforts to establish photography as a fine art and with his innovative publications and galleries. After Stieglitz's death, his wife, the painter Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986), chose several institutions to receive representative gifts of his work, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This 1949 gift laid the groundwork for the Museum's renowned and ever-growing collection of international photography, now numbering around 29,000 images.
This inaugural exhibition—in the Julien Levy Gallery's new location in the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building—pays tribute to the Museum's treasured holding of the master's work with a selection of some of the finest prints from its bountiful collection of six hundred images by Stieglitz, many of them donated by his family and friends. The exhibition concentrates on Stieglitz's work in several series throughout his career, revealing his consistent concentration on aspects of his own personal universe.