The J. Paul Getty Museum


Object Details




Alfred Stieglitz (American, 1864 - 1946)




negative 1907; print 1930


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



24.8 × 18.4 cm (9 3/4 × 7 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

All I know about myself is that I am an honest workman.--And that good workmanship is ever a passion with me.--And as I age the passion becomes more intense. Borders on mania.

Alfred Stieglitz wrote this description of himself to a friend in 1920. Can that self-portrait in words be reconciled with the photographic self-portrait of a younger Stieglitz, made thirteen years earlier in his career? Here he appears as an intense, determined man, possibly passionate but hardly manic. The intensity of his bespectacled gaze, a metaphor for his visionary career, suggests the skill that he described and that he applied to his trade.

Some twenty years after he made the negative, Stieglitz still thought this photograph faithfully portrayed him; he then made this print as a gift for his wife, the painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

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 et son cercle: La modernite a New York, 1905-1930 (October 18, 2004 to May 17, 2005)
  • Musée d'Orsay (Paris), October 18, 2004 to January 16, 2005
  • Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), February 10 to May 17, 2005
Alfred Stieglitz: The Lake George Years (June 17 to September 5, 2010)
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), June 17 to September 5, 2010
Portraits of Renown: Photography and the Cult of Celebrity (April 3 to September 2, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 3 to September 2, 2012

Naef, Weston. In Focus: Alfred Stieglitz; Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995).

Greenough, Sarah. Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs, Volume One 1886-1922. 2 vols. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2002), p. 224, pl. 365.

Marien, Mary Warner. Photography Visionaries ( London: Laurence King Publishing, 2015), p. 13.