Edward J. Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879–1973)
Platinum print with applied color
15 5/8 x 19 in. (39.7 x 48.2 cm)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933 (33.43.40)
After the difficult birth of their first child, Katherine, Edward and Clara Steichen gladly accepted an invitation to escape the heat of August as guests of the art critic Charles Caffin and his wife, Caroline, at their home in Mamaroneck, New York, on the Long Island Sound. Although Steichen at first wrote to Stieglitz that he was disappointed to find "nothing paintable," he ultimately produced this largest, most colorful, and most graphically powerful version of the moody twilit woodland scene that had been a favorite motif since his early days in Milwaukee.
Reviewing such pictures in 1910, Caffin wrote in Camera Work: "It is in the penumbra, between the clear visibility of things and their total extinction in darkness, when the concreteness of appearances becomes merged in half-realized, half-baffled vision, that spirit seems to disengage itself from matter to envelop it with a mystery of soul-suggestion."