Exhibitions/ Art Object

Balzac, The Silhouette—4 A.M.

Artist:
Edward J. Steichen (American (born Luxembourg), Bivange 1879–1973 West Redding, Connecticut)
Date:
1908
Medium:
Gum bichromate print
Dimensions:
37.9 x 46 cm (14 15/16 x 18 1/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933
Accession Number:
33.43.36
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
Late in the summer of 1908 Rodin moved the plaster of his sculpture of the French writer Honoré de Balzac out of his studio and into the open air so that Steichen, who disliked its chalky aspect in the daylight, could photograph it by the light of the moon. Waiting through several exposures as long as an hour each, Steichen made this exposure at 4:00 A.M., when the moonlight transformed the plaster into a monumental silhouette against the brooding nocturnal landscape. Steichen recalled that when he presented his finished pigment prints some weeks later, an elated Rodin exclaimed, "You will make the world understand my Balzac through your pictures. They are like Christ walking on the desert." Stieglitz reproduced this image along with nine of Rodin's drawings in "Camera Work" in July 1911.
Inscription: Signed in yellow crayon
Alfred Stieglitz, New York

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Thirty Photographers: A Selection from the Museum's Collection," April 12, 1969–June 1, 1969.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," February 11, 1989–April 30, 1989.

Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," June 17, 1989–August 27, 1989.

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," September 23, 1989–December 23, 1989.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 3," October 3, 1993–March 1, 1994.

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

Hunter College, New York. "A Painter's Poet: Stephane Mallarme and the Impressionists," February 16, 1999–March 20, 1999.

Whitney Museum of American Art. "Edward Steichen," October 5, 2000–February 4, 2001.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today," August 1, 2010–November 1, 2010.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," November 8, 2010–April 10, 2011.

Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 34–35 (April–July 1911).

Naef, Weston J. The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography. Studio Book. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1978. no. 487.

Haskell, Barbara. Edward Steichen. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2000. no. 27, p. 69.

Marcoci, Roxana. The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today. New York: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2010. no. 76.



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