Lot 5
  • 5

Edward Steichen

150,000 - 250,000 USD
197,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Edward Steichen
  • Palladium and ferroprussiate print
  • 7 5/8 x 9 5/8 inches
palladium and ferroprussiate print, flush-mounted, the photographer's  'Photograph by Steichen, 139 East 69th Street, New York City' studio and copyright stamp and titled and annotated extensively in pencil on the reverse, 1920


Collection of Joanna T. Steichen, the photographer's widow

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2002


New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Edward Steichen, October 2000 - February 2001

Paris, Jeu de Paume, Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography, October - December 2007, and traveling to

Lausanne, Musée de l'Elysée, January - March 2008

Reggio Emilia, Palazzo Magnani, April - June 2008

Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, June - September 2008


Todd Brandow and William A. Ewing, Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography (Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis and the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, 2007), pl. 75 (this print)

Samuel M. Kootz, 'Edward J. Steichen,' Creative Art, May 1932, p. 363

Steichen the Photographer (The Museum of Modern Art, 1961), p. 32

Edward Steichen, A Life in Photography (Garden City, 1963), pl. 67

LIFE Library of Photography: The Art of Photography (New York, 1971), p. 49

Steichen—Eduard et Voulangis: The Early Modernist Period, 1915-1923 (Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, and Lumière Press, Toronto, 2011), p. 25

Catalogue Note

This print of Edward Steichen’s Wheelbarrow and Flower Pots is an outstanding example of the photographer’s combined use of two separate print processes in a single image.  Using both the palladium and ferroprussiate processes, Steichen has created a print that possesses almost true-to-life coloration, as well as one that conveys a sense of volume and three-dimensionality. 

Palladium, with its warm reddish tones, is an apt compliment to ferroprussiate, or cyanotype, which renders an image in a deep blue to white tonal range.  In the present image, the highlights are rendered primarily in palladium, yielding the appropriate red tones of the clay flower pots.  Ferroprussiate is visible mostly in the print’s shadows, although a few cyan accents are visible throughout the image.  As is characteristic of Steichen’s meticulous approach to the craft of printing, the balance between the two different processes is masterfully handled. 

This print would have required two separate exposures.  Steichen may have made a first exposure of the negative on commercially available palladium photographic paper; after processing and drying, he would have then re-sensitized the paper with ferroprussiate emulsion, allowed it to dry, and made a secondary exposure.  Steichen’s technical notations, written in his vigorous hand on the reverse of this print’s mount, mention ‘from 2 separation negatives.’  This could indicate that each exposure was handled with a separate negative, each calibrated to the tonality of the emulsion being used.  These notations could alternatively represent Steichen’s characteristically specific instructions for reproducing this image in print.