[Wire Wheel]

Artist: Paul Strand (American, New York 1890–1976 Orgeval, France)

Date: 1917

Medium: Silver-platinum print

Dimensions: 33.1 x 26.1 cm (13 x 10 1/4 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.55.318

Rights and Reproduction: © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive.


Skyscrapers and machines—quintessential symbols of modern life in the early twentieth century—were among Strand's last subjects as he advanced in breathtaking leaps across the landscape of artistic possibilities on the brink of World War I. Duchamp and Picabia had introduced machines into American art when they arrived in New York in 1915, and automobiles capable of going fifty miles an hour were everywhere. "Just at the present the sole ambition seems to be to roll about, day in and day out, every moment in [these] machines. Literally a rolling around in the present symbol of wealth," Alfred Stieglitz noted. Strand, interested in mechanics and cars since childhood, made photographs with the sensuousness of a youth running his hand over the voluptuous fenders of his dream machine.