Alfred Stieglitz

Marius de Zayas Mexican

Not on view

From April to May 1913, 291 exhibited eighteen drawings by de Zayas in his third and last show at the gallery, titled "Caricature: Absolute and Relative." The exhibition reflected de Zayas's two very different approaches to portraiture—one based on satirizing a subject's recognizable physical attributes, and the other relying on abstract signs and symbols— to allude to more intangible qualities of intelligence, spirituality, and personality. In this exceptional composition, de Zayas conveys the complexity of Stieglitz's mind (note the elaborate mathematical equations) as well as his direct gaze and artistic focus (represented by the repetitive circles of his eyes/glasses/camera lens) and the intensity he brought to all of his activities (suggested by the many lines, patterns, and diagonals). Yet even in this abstract composition, there are traces of a physical likeness—wild hair, eyeglasses, and bristly mustache. The central motif, a vertical line between five pairs of circles, was inspired by a rope object made in Pukapuka (Cook Islands), called a "soul-catcher." To de Zayas, and to all the members of the Stieglitz circle, the very phrase captured Stieglitz's mesmerizing hold on their artistic souls.

Alfred Stieglitz, Marius de Zayas (Mexican, Veracruz 1880–1961 Stamford, Connecticut), Charcoal on paper

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