Maurice Maeterlinck

Edward J. Steichen (American (born Luxembourg), Bivange 1879–1973 West Redding, Connecticut)
1901, printed ca. 1903
Direct carbon print
33.2 x 26.5 cm. (13 1/16 x 10 7/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
Maeterlinck, whose early Symbolist writings are marked by a profound melancholy, pessimism, and mysticism, was much admired by Steichen, who at a young age read his plays and essays assiduously. Steichen later recalled, "I was terribly romantic and passionate in my early painting days. . . . I remember how Maeterlinck’s essay ‘Silence’ stirred me, how I went out to paint pictures of night and silence in that mood." The admiration was mutual. Maeterlinck penned an appreciation in 1903 for issue 2 of Camera Work, devoted to Steichen; his text was reprinted in 1906 as the introduction of the "Special Steichen Supplement" in which this portrait appeared as the first plate. Steichen appropriately captured the spirit of Maeterlinck’s writing in his portrait of the author immersed in darkness and barely illuminated by an ethereal light.
Alfred Stieglitz

Whitney Museum of American Art. "Edward Steichen," October 5, 2000–February 4, 2001.

Jeu de Paume. "Edward Steichen, Lives in Photography, 1879-1973," October 8, 2007–December 30, 2007.

Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne. "Edward Steichen, Lives in Photography, 1879-1973," January 18, 2008–March 30, 2008.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. "Edward Steichen, Lives in Photography, 1879-1973," June 24, 2008–September 22, 2008.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographic Treasures from the Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," October 13, 2011–February 26, 2012.

Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly (April 1906).

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. 464.

Smith, Joel. Edward Steichen: The Early Years. Princeton: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. pl. 12.

Brandow, Todd, and William A. Ewing. Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography. Minneapolis: Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, 2007. pl. 19.