Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Stieglitz: a photographer first, last always.(Journal North Venue)

Byline: Michael More For the Journal

Museum of Modern Art curator emeritus shares his insights on the ringmaster of American modernism

The two critical giants of photography's long history will cross paths here on Sunday.John Szarkowski, curator emeritus at the Museum of Modern Art, will embellish his incisive introductory essay to his 1995 book, Alfred Stieglitz at Lake George. It stands to be the lecture of the year.

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) was the ringmaster in the wild and crazy circus of American modernism. Yet in his early 50s, he gradually lost interest in being a cultural impresario. He closed his famous "291" Fifth Avenue gallery and moved to his family's house at Lake George, N.Y. Six hours and 100 light-years from Manhattan, Szarkowski contends, Stieglitz transformed himself into a great photographer.

It's terrific story with a great cast, starring Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe, where shiny black cars, feathery white clouds and clingy wet bathing suits made for one memorable picture after another.

The lecture (4:30 p.m. at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Annex) inaugurates an exhibition opening today, "Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz: A Gift from the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation." It will run until early next year.

Stieglitz is lionized as the old master of modern photography, and the exhibition amounts to a constellation of Rembrandts. They include classics such as "The Steerage" (1907) to six of the cloud photos he termed "equivalents," to 12 studies of O'Keeffe from 1917 and 1935. They amount to 1.2 percent of Stieglitz's work, but they make for a major exhibit a thrilling example of the quality the museum has displayed here over its six-year history.

Always a photographer

Stieglitz was born New Year's Day, 1864, in Hoboken, N. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.