Abraham Walkowitz's Exhibition, Galerie 291, New York, 1913
platinum print
dated '1913' in pencil (verso)
image/sheet: 5 x 7 in. (12.7 x 17.7 cm.)
mount: 11 x 812 in. (27.9 x 21.5 cm.)
Private collection, New York;
Private European collection;
acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

Alfred Stieglitz’s (1864-1946) 291 gallery in New York played a central role in promoting the most cutting edge modern artist of the 20th century, and Abraham Walkowitz (1878-1965) was one of these. Described by Stieglitz as “one of the very few who understand the meaning of 291”, Walkowitz was among the first exhibitors of abstract art in the United States. He , like Stieglitz, had a true understanding and love for the avant-garde. Together between 1912 to 1917 they collaborated, discovering and putting on Georgia O’Keeffe’s first show which Walkowitz was instrumental in orchestrating, claiming “I put O’Keeffe on the walls”. Not only was Walkowitz often exhibited at 291, Stieglitz’s love for the artist’s work extended onto the pages of Camera Work magazine, of which he dedicated the 44th volume to the artist and included seven of his drawings accompanied by an article by American painter Oscar Bluemner titled “Kandinsky and Walkowitz”. Walkowitz exhibited his work at least five times at 291 between 1912 and 1917, which one example is captured in this photograph offered here, from 1913.

The handwritten date “1913” on the back of this print may indicate that the image was taken at the exhibition Drawings, pastels and water colors, the only show that opened in that year. The frame depicted on the right is the work Creation, also known as Symphony in Creation in Eight Movements. This large composition is one of the artist’s most imaginative works, made of eight wax and pastel drawings , it was acquired by Stieglitz and is now held in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The work is illustrated in the exhibition catalog Stieglitz and his artists (2011, p. 215), where it is dated 1914-1916. The print provides a more accurate date for this impressive artwork.

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