Stieglitz, a pioneer of modern photographic vision, was a spiritual descendant of the German Romantics. He reread Goethe's Faust every summer, and often escaped his Fifth Avenue gallery "291" to attend Wagner matinées at the Metropolitan Opera. With the title of his 1922 series of photographs, Music, Stieglitz cued viewers to understand his photographs as expressive of nature yet free from its literal representation. Clouds, natural in origin and abstract in appearance, provided the perfect vehicle for his artistic quest. In Music No. 1, they collect and hover like unresolved chords over Stieglitz's country home, which itself is rendered as a triad glowing in the darkening landscape.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil in unknown hand on mount, upside down and sideways, verso ULto LL: "15 // Smooth // small"; miscellaneous notations in pencil on mount, verso OA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 16," March 17, 1997–June 9, 1997.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," November 8, 2010–April 10, 2011.
Bry, Doris. Alfred Stieglitz: Photographer. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1965. no. 38.
Norman, Dorothy. Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer. New York: Random House, 1973. pl. XXXIX.
Greenough, Sarah. Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set. Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 2002. no. 792.
Negative margin at lower edge not measured as part of image dimension. This photograph has been published with numerous titles and dates. Among them: An American Seer, "Equivalent, Music No.1, Lake George, 1922"; Aperture 8:1, "Clouds, Music No.1, 1922". The original MMA (1928) receipt from Stieglitz lists the negative date as 1921.