Joel Smith is a former Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alfred Stieglitz controlled the world of art photography at the beginning of the century and, not surprisingly, Steichen became its first full-blown star. But, as 56 plates in this exquisitely produced book make clear, there is a redeeming aspect to Steichen's ambition: his pictures are incredibly good... Joel Smith, in an essay as remarkable for its readability as for its erudition, manages to breathe life into the pictures. -- Andy Grundberg The New York Times Book Review These soft-focus, moody studies of light, landscape, and form by this 20th-century master have a painterly, almost impressionist feel to them. The nudes are lushly erotic; the portraits daunting examinations of heroes and barons at the turn of the last century. -- Cate McQuaid Boston Globe Steichen's misty, moody, subtle, multi-layered photographs made from experimental, painterly printing methods of the period are reproduced here in amazing fidelity... Smith provides a carefully researched and highly readable biographical and interpretive essay that illuminates the diverse influences on Steichen. Highly recommended... Library Journal A beautifully written addition to the literature on Edward Steichen and recommended for readers both unfamiliar with and knowledgeable about his work. -- Lucy Bowditch Afterimage The catalog's 56 plates, and the images in the accompanying essay, give a seeming tangibility to the contained spaces of the photographs... [The book] features reproductions of the finest quality. In Steichen's case, this is crucial because of the variety of photographic processes he used... -- G.S. Taylor The Boston Book Review Beautifully illustrated... The author's tightly written text is presented with thorough and pertinent notes and will contribute to readers' enjoyment and appreciation of Steichen's brilliant images and career. A welcome and important addition to the field and highly recommended for all levels of readers. Choice This definitive edition includes all of Steichen's New York photographs... -- Laura Cumming The Evening Standard Steichen's famous images of New York's Flatiron buildings are illustrated with four examples to reveal the unique quality of each of his prints. In a lesser book, four images of the same subject might be gratuitous, but in this case each work complements the next... [There is] only one image printed per spread, a luxury that is justified by the quality of the artwork and the fine printing. -- Stephan F. F. Jost The Art Book The near-facsimile quality reproductions of early photographs by Steichen in duotone and full colour, printed on acid-free paper and enlivened by a fascinating, meticulously researched and readable biographical account of his activities, concerns and achievements from 1899 to 1924, demonstrate a benchmark standard of excellence in academic publishing. The Art Newspaper A definitive collection... -- Geoff Dyer The Independent