Lot 8
  • 8

Alfred Stieglitz

400,000 - 600,000 USD
461,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alfred Stieglitz
  • ‘OUT OF WINDOW—291—N.Y.’
  • Platinum print
  • 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 inches
platinum print, signed, titled, and dated in pencil in the margin, 1915


The photographer to Aline and Charles Liebman

To their descendants

Christie’s New York, 4 October 1994, Sale 7958, Lot 9


Greenough 421

Doris Bry, Exhibition of Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz (National Gallery of Art, 1958), pl. 3

Dorothy Norman, Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (New York, 1960), pl. XXVII

Mike Weaver, ed., The Art of Photography, 1839-1989 (Yale University Press, 1989), pl. 200

In Focus: Alfred Stieglitz (J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), pl. 15

Catalogue Note

This platinum print has tones that range from a deep lush gray to creamy white.  In terms of its evocation of a winter twilight scene, the print is thoroughly compelling.  As a technical feat, its depiction of a snow-covered tree demonstrates Stieglitz's formidable abilities as a printer.  Snow is a notoriously difficult photographic subject—its stark whiteness tends to throw the rest of the photograph into deep shadow.  Stieglitz has masterfully handled the white values in this print, while also coaxing a great deal of detail out of the darker areas.  In doing so, he has taken a scene that would have been, in a lesser photographer's hands, a technical exercise and rendered it with great sensitivity, capturing the quiet poetry of the moment. 

In a letter of 14 December 1917, Stieglitz described to Georgia O’Keeffe a visit he’d had with Charles Sheeler the day before.  ‘He is always fine,’ Stieglitz wrote. ‘Wears splendidly.  I am to have three of his wonderful photographs in exchange . . . ’  As Sarah Greenough recounts, the photographers, in the end, exchanged four photographs each: Sheeler gave Stieglitz four of his Doylestown interiors, and Stieglitz gave Sheeler two prints of the galleries at ‘291,’ a view from the back window there, and a print of the image offered here.  ‘It’s hellish hard work for me to get what I want—& I don’t want to give him a print which isn’t A1 + + — A 1 plus plus —,’ Stieglitz continued in the letter.  Sheeler’s print of the present photograph is now in The Museum of Modern Art, a gift from Sheeler in 1941 (Greenough, Letters, Vol. 1, p. 221 and fn450).  

The present photograph was acquired directly from Stieglitz by Charles and Aline Liebman.  Aline Meyer Liebman, a photographer herself and an active patron of the arts, was the sister of wealthy banker Eugene Meyer, Jr., whose wife Agnes helped underwrite Stieglitz’s avant-garde periodical ‘291.’

In Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set, Sarah Greenough locates only four prints of this image, aside from that offered here, in the collections of the following institutions: the National Gallery of Art; Sheeler's print at The Museum of Modern Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the J. Paul Getty Museum.  Another print was sold by Leland Little Auction and Estate Sales in 2012.