Steichen made a series of weekly visits in 1901 to observe Rodin in his studio, and he gradually devised the composition for his portrait, which juxtaposes the sculptor’s distinctive silhouette against the bright white marble of his newly carved Monument to Victor Hugo. Hugo occupied Rodin as a subject throughout his career, from his early attempts to make a name for himself with a bust of the celebrated poet to the monument he finally completed in 1909. Rodin said of Steichen’s work, "I consider Steichen a very great artist and the leading, the greatest photographer of the time. Before him, nothing conclusive had been achieved."
Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 2 (April 1903).
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. 460.
Smith, Joel. Edward Steichen: The Early Years. Princeton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. pl. 6.