Steichen returned to Paris in 1906, and when he was not scouting out modern art to send to Stieglitz in New York he was working hard to support himself with portrait commissions, most of which came from wealthy Americans traveling abroad. Years after making this photograph of Parisian high society at the races, he recalled, "I borrowed from a friend a German hand camera [and] made my first attempt at serious documentary reportage. I went to the Longchamps Races and found an extravagantly dressed society audience, obviously more interested in displaying and viewing the latest fashions than in following the horse races." The smaller camera enabled Steichen to work quickly enough to capture this candid view before it was obstructed by a racegoer entering the picture frame at the left. Far from detracting from the photograph, the man's presence adds a sense of dynamism perfectly in tune with the fluttering excitement of the crowd.
Inscription: Signed in pencil on print, recto, BRC: "STEICHEN"; inscribed in ink by Stieglitz on label affixed to original mat (removed, now loc. in object file): "Stieglitz Collection [underlined]//Steeplechase Day Paris -- Steichen//Gum Print"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," May 18, 1978–July 16, 1978.
Sezon Museum of Modern Art. "The Art of Photography: 1839-1989," March 3, 1990–April 1, 1990.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 10," August 28, 1995–November 13, 1995.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pictorialism in New York, 1900-1915," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.
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 42–43 (April–July 1913). fig. XII.
Evans, Walker. "Photography." In Quality: Its Image in the Arts, edited by Louis Kronenberger. New York: Atheneum, 1969. p. 183.
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. 491.
Smith, Joel. Edward Steichen: The Early Years. Princeton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. pl. 44.
Brandow, Todd, and William A. Ewing. Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography. Minneapolis: Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, 2007. fig. 47.