Lot 8
  • 8

Alfred Stieglitz

7,000 - 10,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alfred Stieglitz
  • Titled and dated in pencil on the reverse
  • Gelatin silver print
  • 4 1/4 x 3 5/8 inches
with credit and annotation 'Eliz S. Davidson, Georgia O'Keeffe, Donald Davidson, Shingling Shanty Summer 1919' in ink on the reverse, framed, circa 1919


The photographer to his grandniece, Elizabeth 'Peggy' Margaret Davidson Murray

Collection of her daughter, Betsy McManus

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2005


Sue Davidson Lowe, Stieglitz: A Memoir/Biography (New York, 1983), p. 235 (likely this print, there dated 1920)

Catalogue Note

Pictured here are Georgia O’Keeffe and Elizabeth and Donald Davidson, Alfred Stieglitz’s niece and her husband.  The Davidsons were close to Stieglitz, and the group spent many summers together in Lake George, New York, where Stieglitz’s family had owned property since 1886.  Here, the Davidsons and O’Keeffe are shown shingling the decaying structure that would become O’Keeffe’s studio, known as the Shanty.  O’Keeffe and Elizabeth Davidson, ‘clad in bloomers and chemises’ completely replaced the rotting roof shingles with tar paper (Lowe, p. 234).  O’Keeffe, who often found the constant presence of Stieglitz relatives and guests stifling, yearned for a place to be alone and the Shanty was to be her refuge.

In the 1920s and '30s, Stieglitz spent an increasing amount of time away from New York City at his family’s Lake George home.  It was here that he began his series of Equivalents in the early 1920s, as well as the landscapes and nature studies he would concentrate on in the 1930s.  John Szarkowski attributes, at least in part, the change in Stieglitz’s post-World War I aesthetic to Lake George (Alfred Stieglitz at Lake George, p. 22).  Even in the portraits of O’Keeffe, setting plays a role; Szarkowski notes that the New York City portraits are ‘ideal representations,’ while ‘in the Lake George pictures, even from the beginning, we see the gradual emergence of a subject who serves no fictions but her own’ (ibid., p. 24).  O’Keeffe in this image is an active subject, physically and metaphorically constructing her own space, the Shanty.  

This Stieglitz photograph is scarce.  It is not in the key set of Stieglitz photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C.  The print offered here originally belonged to Peggy Davidson, Stieglitz’s grandniece, and descended through her family.  It is likely the same print that is reproduced in Sue Davidson Lowe’s Stieglitz: A Memoir/Biography, where Lowe, Peggy Davidson’s sister, recounts the shingling of the Shanty.