RENSSELAER, N.Y. – Ten black and white images by American photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) in the form of glass magic lantern slides are featured in a Nov. 8 auction that will be conducted by Two Feathers Antiques & Auction Services / Schillaci & Shultis. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, and schooled as an engineer in Germany, Stieglitz returned in New York in 1890 determined to prove that photography was a medium capable of artistic expression.
These rare magic lantern images from that era, some shot in Europe, go a long way to demonstrate his mission. All but two of the images have human subjects, common folks at work and at rest. Some of the magic lantern images are titled in Stieglitz’s handwriting and with printed credit on labels affixed to the glass housing. Titles include The Last Load (The Tyrol), The Old Fisherman (Berlin), The Card Players (Munich) and Plucking Flowers (Lake George). These Stieglitz slides were made in the 1890s.
A magic lantern is an early form of optical projector of still pictures using a transparent slide. Developed in the 17th century and commonly used as a form of entertainment, magic lanterns were increasingly applied to educational purposes during the 19th century.
Stieglitz was the editor of Camera Notes, the journal of the Camera Club of New York, from 1903 to 1917. In it, he espoused his belief in the aesthetic potential of the medium and published work by photographers who shared his conviction. In addition to his photography, Stieglitz was known for the New York art galleries that he ran in the early part of the 20th century, where he introduced many avant-garde European artists to the U.S. He was married to painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
The auction will begin Friday, Nov. 8, at 5 p.m. Eastern time.