Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz
Mexican-born artist Marius de Zayas, arriving in New York in 1907, brought a new, cosmopolitan sophistication to the nascent art of modern caricature. His elongated, Parisian-style inked figures of theater personalities helped popularize caricature in the press. At the same time, his subtle charcoal portraits, evoking the effects of the pictorialist photographers and French symbolists, attracted the avant-garde. Viewers recognized in this approach psychological depths akin to fine art.

Photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who exhibited advanced French and American art in his gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue, found a kindred spirit in the witty, urbane de Zayas. He considered de Zayas's experiments with caricature akin to his own struggle to promote photography into the realm of art. Between 1909 and 1913, Stieglitz held three exhibitions of his work, increasing the prestige of a once-ephemeral art form. Although de Zayas drew caricature for less than a decade in America, he helped to establish the artistic, intellectual potential of the art, as well as its broad popular appeal.

Alfred Stieglitz 18641946
Marius de Zayas (18801961)
Charcoal on paper, circa 1909
Private collection

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