Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Octopus

Artist:
Alvin Langdon Coburn (British, Boston, Massachusetts 1882–1966 Wales)
Date:
1912
Medium:
Platinum print
Dimensions:
41.8 x 31.8 cm (16 7/16 x 12 1/2 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.13
Not on view
Couched in the soft velvety nap of the platinum paper, composed in the languid lines of Art Nouveau, and softly focused, this photograph of New York's Madison Square employs many elements of Pictorialism at its best. However, the dizzying effect of Coburn's aerial view and his fascination with the skyscraper are distinctly and precociously modern. The blend of Pictorialist technique and fresh vision was characteristic of the transitional moment when Alfred Stieglitz, Coburn, Karl Struss, and Paul Strand began to celebrate contemporary urban experience.
Inscription: [verso inaccessible due to hinging]
Estate of the artist; George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; Frank Kolodny, Princeton, New Jersey; [Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York; sold to Waddell on July 15, 1986)]; John C. Waddell, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 23, 1989–December 31, 1989.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 28, 1990–April 22, 1990.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 10, 1990–July 15, 1990.

High Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 5, 1991–April 28, 1991.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 8, 1991–August 4, 1991.

IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia. "The New Vision, IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia," January 20, 1995–March 26, 1995.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pictorialism in New York, 1900-1915," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 29," May 21, 2001–September 23, 2001.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 39," December 23, 2004–April 17, 2005.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 50," January 6, 2009–May 3, 2009.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ""Our Future Is In The Air": Photographs from the 1910s," November 10, 2010–April 10, 2011.

Hambourg, Maria Morris. The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. no. 1.



One of two known existing vintage prints; the other is in the collection of George Eastman House
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