Steichen added color to the platinum photograph that forms the foundation of this print using layers of pigment suspended in a light-sensitive solution of gum arabic and potassium bichromate. Together with two variant prints in other colors, also in the Museum's collection, The Flatiron is the quintessential study of twilight. Clearly indebted in its composition to the Japanese woodcuts that were in vogue at the turn of the century and in its coloristic effects, to the Nocturnes of Whistler, this picture is a prime example of the conscious effort of photographers in the circle of Alfred Stieglitz to assert the artistic potential of their medium.
Inscription: Inscribed in red crayon on print, recto BRC: "STEICHEN// MDCCCCV"; inscribed in ink on print, verso C: "The Flat Iron// Platinum Gum// (Blue Print)// 'About the best print of subject' (AS)// Property of Alfred Stieglitz value $125"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," May 18, 1978–July 16, 1978.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs from the Museum's Collection," December 4, 1984–March 17, 1985.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 7," December 12, 1994–March 12, 1995.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paul Strand and His Contemporaries," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pictorialism in New York, 1900-1915," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.
Whitney Museum of American Art. "The American Century: Art and Culture, 1900-2000," April 22, 1999–September 5, 1999.
Whitney Museum of American Art. "Edward Steichen," October 5, 2000–February 4, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," November 8, 2010–April 10, 2011.
Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 14 (April 1906). fig. VIII.
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. 477.
Phillips, Lisa. The American Century: Art & Culture, 1900–1950. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. p. 49.
Smith, Joel. Edward Steichen: The Early Years. Princeton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. pl. 20.
Haskell, Barbara. Edward Steichen. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2000. no. 26, p. 67.