Sotheby's New York, 12 October 2000, Sale 7518, Lot 159
Acquired by Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco from the above
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2000
This picture may have been intended as an illustration for the 1929 Harcourt, Brace volume Steichen the Photographer, written by Steichen's brother-in-law, Carl Sandburg. In 1908 Sandburg married Steichen's sister Lilian and the two became close friends and collaborators, a relationship that ended only with Sandburg's death in 1967. In his text for the volume, Sandburg records a conversation in which he questions Steichen about certain flower photographs:
"'What is this?' [Steichen] is asked about a print. 'That is a delphinium and iris aurea contrasting the sneak of light up the iris with the soft woolly delphinium; it is just a pictorial contrast of texture, height and shape.'
"'And this?' 'Foliage of hermerocalis or day lily.'
"And this?' 'Common flag and iris aurea--the light runs up the stems like lightning'" (Steichen the Photographer, pp. 56-59). This last line, Steichen's own, is quoted by Sandburg on the reverse of the present image.
Another print of this image is owned by a descendant of Edward Steichen.
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