Project Description


(2001) (RT 1:30)
Written, Produced and Directed by Perry Miller Adato
Seen through the lens of the life and work of Alfred Stieglitz, the program recreates the exciting early years of modern art and photography in America.  Photographer, gallery director, publisher of “Camera Work,” Stieglitz pioneered the introduction of the European avant-garde art to America in his famous New York “291” gallery while championing the recognition of photography as an art form. From his early pictures shot in Italy and Germany, through his pioneering photographs in the streets of New York and his controversial, famed multi-portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe to the late, ineffable “Cloud Series”, Stieglitz’s own magnificent photographs richly document the story. His photographs were a powerful weapon in the struggle to achieve for photography, the status of art, but the role of the beautiful seminal work of other great photographers like Edward Steichen and the members of the famous Photo Secession is given appropriate recognition. 


Stieglitz knew the future when he saw it.  A visionary, he showed for the first time in the U.S. the work of Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Brancusi and other European avant-garde artists. Later, he became an impassioned missionary for American modernism when modern American artists and photographers were largely ignored.  At his “291” gallery, the core “Stieglitz Circle”: painters John Marin, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Paul Strand spearheaded abstraction in American art.  [br]

The film includes revealing interviews with Steiglitz’s grandniece Sue Davidson Lowe regarding Stieglitz and his wife O’Keeffe, comments by Joanna Steichen, wife of Edward Steichen and penetrating observations by notable historians in the worlds of art and photography including: Wanda Corn, Barbara Lynes, Sarah Greenough, Elizabeth Hutton Turner and cultural historians Thomas Bender, Allan Trachtenberg and writer Richard Whelan.  In a never-before seen interview filmed by Perry Miller Adato in 1980, at the artist’s request, Georgia O’Keeffe speaks frankly and with humor about the many facets of Stieglitz’s life, his career, his difficult character, and their complex marriage which endured until his death in 1946.


“Alfred Stieglitz almost single-handedly invented modern photography. Before Stieglitz, photography had been an amateur pastime, a commercial business and a sometime scientific tool. After him, it was an art as well.

How that happened is the story told by Alfred Stieglitz: The Eloquent Eye, the PBS American Masters series biography…

He was a rebel with a cause, but the cause kept changing too. In the 1890’s, when American photography was sunk in Victorian complacency, he championed the Photo –Secessionists, an arty group of pictorial photographs whose gauzy, soft focus images coyly imitated the look of painting.

He stopped showing their pictures in his little gallery at 291 Fifth Ave in Manhattan and (to their great consternation) starting showing European moderns like Rodin, Picasso and Matisse instead.

The critics heaped abuse on him and his new proteges, but he persevered….

And so it went throughout his life. He was as adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as vice versa. Nor were Stieglitz’s domestic affairs any less turbulent than his public persona.

…The PBS biography – which includes charming archival footage of turn-of–the century New York as well as an interview with O’Keeffe conducted shortly before her death in 1986 in which she recalls the great man with a mixture of tenderness and, after all these years, a still barely concealed rage- makes no attempt to gloss over Stieglitz’s human foibles and failures.

Instead, it accepts them as part of the complex personality Stieglitz was…”

Glenn McNatt, Baltimore Sun


Director: Perry Miller Adato
Producer: Perry Miller Adato
Writer: Perry Miller Adato
Director of Photography: Jerry Pantzer
Co-Producer: Muriel Soenens

Editors: Kris Liem, Rebekah Baker, Kate Taverna
Associate Editor: Caitlin Dixon

Georgia O’Keeffe, painter
Richard Whelan, Stieglitz Biographer
Sarah Greenough, Curator of Photographs National Gallery of Art
Wanda M. Corn, Art Historian, Stanford University
Thomas Bender, Historian, New York University
Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection
Alan Trachtenberg, Cultural Historian Yale University
Barbara Buhler Lynes, Curator, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Researcher and Production Associate: Christy Denes
Archival Research: Dorsey Blunt, Renee Monrose, Linda Lilienfeld
Narrator: Tovah Feldshuh
Stills Animation: Marcos Levy-City Lights
Music Supervisor: Rosie Fishel
Sound Design: Bill Markle

Voice of Alfred Stieglitz: Stan Watt
Other Voices: Nicole Blackman, Richard Long, Tuck Milligan, George Wilson

Works by Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe Courtesy of the
Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation and
National Gallery of Art
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
George Eastman House
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philiips Collection, Washington DC

Thomas Bender
Wanda M. Corn
Sarah Greenough
William Innes Homer
Alan Trachtenberg

Special Thanks
Toni Dove
Juan Hamilton
Michael Hoffman
Agapita Judy Lopez
Sue Davidson Lowe
Barbara Buhler Lynes
Norma Marin
Lisa Marie Marin
Andrew Norman
Joanna Steichen
Elizabeth Hutton Turner

Director of Conversion Technology: Malcolm Braxton
Director of Post Production: Gary Woodruff
Online Editor: Geno Tulchin
Assistant On-Line Editor: Akwasi Prempeh
Graphic Design: Parlour Design
Assistant Sound Editor: Jonathan Bloom
Assistant Camera: Louise Wynn (NY), Bill Floyd (NY), Brian Hwang (NY), Ulli Bonnekamp (NM), Michael Krebs (Wash. Dc)
Sound recordists: Larry Loewenger (NY), Michael Becker (NM), Peter Thomas- (Wash. DC)
Gaffer: Don Shreck (NY), Gyle McDowell (NY), Murdoch Campbell (Wash. DC)
Grips: David Jacobs (Wash DC), Rodney Smith (NY), Greg Eichmann (NM)
Production Assistants: Faith Strongheart, Elisabeth Robert
Production Interns: Haisi Hu, Lindsay Feldman, Cory Garfin, Amanda Maloney, Christina Vassallo, Sarah Wilson, Christine Ra, Rhea sandstorm, Abigail Samoun

1980 Georgia O’Keefe Footage
Don Lenzer: Camera
Morning Pastorok: Sound
Peter Schnall: Assistant Camera

Our Thanks to:
Gergory Amenoff
Debra Bricker Balken
Jacques and Odile Brunet
Peter Bunnell
Caffe Vivaldi
Michael Cohen
Janice Madhu
Anne W. Marion
Du Art Film + Video
Anthony Montoya
Abelardo Morrel
Adam Marchand
Provincetown Playhouse, NYU
Elsa Smithgall
Hollis Taggart Galleries
Rebecca Zurier
Marriot East Side Hotel

Archival Footage Courtesy of
1925 Home Video Stieglitz and O’Keeffe by
Flora Stieglitz Straus
Sue Davidson Lowe
Estate of Claudia O’Keeffe
Estate of Dorothy S. Norman
Tom Connors
Archive Film and Photo
Creative Arts Television Archives
Hot Shots/Cool Cuts, Inc.
Image Bank
Library of Congress
National Archives
North East Historic Film- Michael Bernard Collection
Pathe Archive France
Henwar Rodakiewicz

Photographs and Paintings Courtesy of:
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
George B. And Jenny R Matthews
Amon Carter Museum
Ansel Adams Publishing Rights trust
All photographs by Paul Strand c. Aperture Foundation Inc.,
Paul Strand Archive
Archive of American Art, Smithsonian Institution:
Photographs of Artists Walt Kuhn Papers
Art Institution of Chicago
Art Resources, NY
Artists Rights Society, (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris;
Estate of Marcel Duchamp, Estate of John Marin,
Estate of Pablo Picasso, Succession H. Matisse
Baltimore Museum of Art, Cone Collection
The Barnes Foundation
Bates College Museum of Art
Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection
Brooklyn Museum of Art
The Burnett Foundation
“Camera Work” Courtesy of Ellen Lowe and Howard Greenberg Gallery, NY
Carousel Research
Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona
Colby College Museum of Art
Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio: Gift of Ferdinand Howard
Culver Picture
Imogen Cunningham trust
Curtis Galleries, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Helen Farr Sloan
Marius de Zayas Estate, Seville
The Dove Estate
Galerie Faber, Vienna
Fisk University Galleries, Nashville, Tennesee: Alfred Stieglitz Collection
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Gilman Paper Company Collection
C. Juan Hamilton, Photography by Malcolm Varon
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Smithsonian Institution, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn
Indianapolis Museum of Art,
Gift of Mr. and Mrs James W. Fesler
Kennedy Galleries, New York
Kraushaar Galleries, New York
Collection of Janie C. Lee
Let There Be Neon- Rudi Stern
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
Maier Museum of Art, Randolph-Macon Women’s College
Josephine B. Marks
Collection of Jan Perry Mayer, Denver, Colorado
Cy Twombly Gallery, The Mcnil Collection, Houston
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Sophia Mumford
Musee Marmottan- Monet, Paris/ Giraudon
Musee Rodin, Paris
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico
Museum of the City of New York
National Archives
New Directions Publishing Corporation
The New York Historical Society
The New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
Newark Museum of Art
Penelope Niven
The Dorothy S. Norman Estate
Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Maine
Otis Elevator Company Archives
Private Collection, Owings-Dewey Fine Art, Sante Fe, NM
Gerald P. Peters Gallery, New York
Walton Rawls
George Rinhart Collection
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University; Gift of Mr. Samuel Lustgarten
The Saint Louis Art Museum
Helga Sandburg Collection
Collection of Michael Scharf
Herbert Seligmann
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen
Gertrude Stein Estate
The Stockeregg Collection, Zurich
The Tamiment Institute Library, New York University
Terra Foundation for the Arts Chicago
George Tice
University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tuscon, Gift of Liver James,
University of Iowa Museum of Art
Mark Ranney Memorial Fund
University of Illinois Library of Urbana- Champaign
University of Pennsylvania, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
c. Estate of Stuart Davis/ VAGA, New York
Carl Van Vechten/ Van Vechten Estate
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gift of Bertha H. Walker
Joy Weber
Weegee/ICP/Liaison Agency
Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota,
Bequest of Hudson Walker
Whitney Museum of American Arts, New York, NY
Richard York Gallery

Arthur Dove, Calendar of Birds and Beasts: Spring
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

John Marin, Hunter in the Adirondacks.
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, anonymous gift
c. 2001 President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Peggy Bacon, Alfred Stieglitz, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery
UNL.FM Hail Collection

Oakland Museum of California, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Willard S. Nett,
Gift of Paul S. Taylor

Photos c. The Art Institute of Chicago
Grant Wood, American Gothic
Georgia O’Keeffe, The Shelton With Sunspots: Blue and Green Music
Alfred Stieglitz, Stones of Venice (Chioggia); Waldo Frank
From the Shelton
Henri Matisse, Nude in Armchair, Half Nude
Auguste Rodin, Standing Nude with Draperies
The Museum of Modern Art
Photographs c. The Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Picasso, Pablo. Woman’s Head (Fernande) Paris (Fall 1909) Purchase
Davis Stuart. Lucky Strike (1921)
Gift of the American Tobacco Company, Inc.
Davis Stuart. OFOl (1921)
Mary Sizler Bequest (by exchange) and Purchase.
Picasso, Pablo. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Paris (June-July 1907)
Kuhn, Heinrich. Alfred Steiglitz, Faith Graflex. E.d.
Bequest of Dorothy Normon
Copyright c. 2000 Museum of Modern Art, New York

American Masters:
Series Office Manager: Naomi Tan
Series Production Administrator: Erin O’Brien-Keefe
Series Theme Music composer: Thomas Wagner
Series Title Design: B.T. Whitehill
Series Production Manager: Peter Wentzel
Business Affairs: Ranfi Rivera
mPRm Public Relation and Thirteen/WNET’s Communication group
Director of Culture and Affairs + Arts Documentaries: Margaret Smilow

Series Producers: Karen Bernstein, Prudence Glass
Senior Producer: Tamar Hacker
Director of Cultural and Arts Programs: Jac Venza
Executive Producer: Susan Lacy

An American Masters Special Produced by Thirteen/WNET
© 2001 Educational Broadcasting Corporation

American Century Investments
Park Foundation
Rosalind P. Walter
The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation
Jack Rudin
The Michael and Helen Schaffer Foundation
The Andre & Elizabeth Kertesz Foundation