Alfred Stieglitz (American, Hoboken, New Jersey 1864–1946 New York)
Framed: H. x W.: 24 x 18 x 1 in. (60.96 x 45.72 x 2.54 cm)
Sheet size: H. x W.: 9 1/2 x 7 5/8 in. (24.13 x 19.37 cm)
Actual image size: H. x W.: 4 7/16 x 3 1/2 in. (11.27 x 8.89 cm)
Collection John and Lisa Pritzker
Not on view
On two separate occasions, a few years apart, O’Keeffe posed for Stieglitz holding first an anthropomorphic spoon from Côte d’Ivoire and then Henri Matisse’s Female Torso both on view in the exhibition. While the similarities between the photographic compositions are striking, Stieglitz’s response to the African sculpture is charged with a heightened erotic energy. Beyond this noted difference, the Ivorian spoon and the bronze sculpture by one of the most admired modern masters appear to have the same aesthetic value in the photographer’s eyes; used identically—as props—their similar scales and shared reference to the female body certainly augment that effect. Such visual associations were critical in changing the appreciation of African artifacts into works of art.