[The Hand of Man]

Object Details


[The Hand of Man]


Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864 - 1946)




negative 1902; print about 1933


Gelatin silver print


8.3 x 11.3 cm (3 1/4 x 4 7/16 in.)


© J. Paul Getty Trust

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A locomotive engine steams toward the camera on its barely visible tracks, wearing a billowing black cloud of smoke like a plumed hat. The criss-crossing lines of tracks beside it snake off toward the horizon, and the telephone poles at left appear to be making the same march. Alfred Stieglitz's composition is a treatise on the importance of the machine in the modern Industrial Age. The title of the photograph, The Hand of Man, sets up a comparison between the machine that is depicted and the human artistic impulse that created the image.

Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Alfred Stieglitz: Seen and Unseen (October 17, 1995 to January 7, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 17, 1995 to January 7, 1996

Naef, Weston. Alfred Stieglitz: Seen and Unseen, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: JPGM, 1995), cover.