Water Lilies

Adolf de Meyer (American (born France), Paris 1868–1946 Los Angeles, California)
ca. 1906, printed 1912
Platinum print
26.1 x 35.2cm (10 1/4 x 13 7/8in.)
Mount: 45.7 x 27.6cm (18 x 10 7/8in.)
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933
Accession Number:
Not on view
The critic Charles H. Caffin described this photograph by de Meyer as “a veritable dream of loveliness.” It is one of several floral still lifes de Meyer made in London around 1906–9, when he was in close contact with Alvin Langdon Coburn, a fellow photographer and member of the Linked Ring. Both men were inspired by the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1906 book The Intelligence of Flowers, a mystical musing on the vitality of plant life. De Meyer exhibited several of his flower studies, including this platinum print, at Stieglitz’s influential Photo-Secession galleries in New York in 1909. The image also appeared as a photogravure in an issue of Stieglitz’s art and photography journal Camera Work.
Inscription: Signed in pencil on mount, recto, BR; "DEMEYER [underlined and with ornamental embellishments]"; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto, BL: "Waterlilies 94"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso, BC: "94".
Alfred Stieglitz

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," May 18, 1978–July 16, 1978.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs from the Museum's Collection," December 4, 1984–March 17, 1985.

International Center of Photography. "Baron Adolf de Meyer," December 10, 1994–February 12, 1995.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paul Strand and His Contemporaries," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pictorialism in New York, 1900-1915," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.

Vancouver Art Gallery. "TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Golden Age of Photography," February 2, 2008–April 27, 2008.

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

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Quicksilver Brilliance: Adolf de Meyer Photographs," December 4, 2017–March 18, 2018.

Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 24 (October 1908). no. II.

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. 216.

Ehrenkranz, Anne. A Singular Elegance: The Photographs of Baron Adolph de Meyer. New York: International Center of Photography, 1994. pp. 50–51.

Nordström, Allison. TruthBeauty: Pictorialism and the Photograph as Art, 1845–1945. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 2008. p. 15.