Bly and Venus, 1920. Gelatin silver print, mounted. 3 3/8 x 3 3/8 in. (8.6 x 8.6 cm).
THE FACE OF MODERNISM: A PRIVATE WEST COAST COLLECTION
PROVENANCE From the artist; to Georgia O'Keeffe; to Doris Bry Private Collection,New York
LITERATURE Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set, Volume One, cat. no. 624, p. 376
The man depicted in Bly and Venus, 1920, is the longtime gardener at the Stieglitz family summer home in Lake George, New York. The statue of Venus with which Bly is photographed was originally at the family’s lake house, but was later moved into the new home upon the family’s relocation. By capturing the beloved family employee with a cherished family heirloom within the same frame, Stieglitz created a light-hearted and loving snapshot. Taken in the early days of his relationship with Georgia O’Keeffe and while on hiatus from promoting any artists in New York City, the image attests to Stieglitz’s high-spirits, relaxed state of mind and happiness at the time. This print is a contact print from the artist’s 4 x 5 in. negative which was mounted later by Doris Bry, per O’Keeffe’s instructions. Doris Bry began her association with Georgia O’Keeffe in 1947 and is considered one of the leading specialists in the life and work of both Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. This print is one of five recorded prints of this image. The other four prints are in the collections of The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; The Beinecke Library at Yale University, New Haven; Fisk University, Nashville and The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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