The Brass Bowl
Edward J. Steichen
(American (born Luxembourg), Bivange 1879–1973 West Redding, Connecticut)
Direct carbon print
30.4 x 25.6 cm (12 x 10 1/16 in.)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933
Not on view
Like many of Steichen’s early photographs, this image of a languid young woman with a weary gaze recalls the work of Eugène Carrière, a French Symbolist painter who was very much in vogue when Steichen first traveled to Paris to visit the 1900 Exposition Universelle and the nearby Rodin Pavillion (for which Carrière designed the poster). Steichen considered him to be "one of the greatest of modern French painters" and described his moody canvases, which usually portrayed dimly lit figures emerging from a dark field, as securing "an exquisite feeling of atmosphere and shroud[ing] that in a lovely sentiment." It is of little consequence that the woman depicted in The Brass Bowl remains unidentified; the photograph was intended as a mood piece, not a portrait.