Edward Steichen, American (born Luxembourg), 1879 – 1973
Eugene O’Neill, 1932
Gelatin silver print
Bequest of Edward Steichen by direction of Joanna T. Steichen and George Eastman House 82.28.52
In 1982, the MIA received one hundred photographs by the great American photographer Edward Steichen (1879-1973), through a bequest from his widow, Joanna T. Steichen. Edward Steichen was a very prolific photographer, working over his long life in many genres, such as pictorial and war photography. The one hundred vintage prints that came to the museum were primarily from the 1920s and 1930s, when Steichen worked for the Condé Nast publications Vogue and Vanity Fair. They include striking studio portraits of such leading entertainers as Charlie Chaplin, Isadora Duncan, W. C. Fields, Greta Garbo, Paul Robeson, and Mae West.
Ms. Steichen initially made a large bequest to the George Eastman House (Rochester, New York), instructing it to distribute batches of her late husband’s work to other museums that were committed to photography. The MIA was among a mere thirteen institutions chosen. Previous to this gift, the only Steichen pictures owned by the MIA were photogravures from Camera Work, a high-quality quarterly published by Alfred Stieglitz from 1903 to 1917. Thus, this bequest greatly increased both the number and type of Steichen’s work in our collection
Christian A. Peterson, associate curator of photographs