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Equivalents -historical perspective

The Equivalents are generally recognized as the first intentionally abstract photographs. It is difficult to look at them today and understand the impact that they had at the time. When they first appeared photography had been generally recognized as a distinct art form for no more than fifteen years, and until [Alfred] Stieglitz introduced his cloud photos there was no tradition of photographing something that was not recognizable in both form and content. Art critic Hilton Kramer said that Equivalents "undoubtedly owe something to the American modernist painting (Dove's and O'Keeffe's especially) that Stieglitz felt particularly close to at the time. Yet they go distinctly beyond the pictorial conventions that governed avant-garde painting in this period by reaching for the kind of lyric abstraction that was not to enter American painting until the 40's and 50's.-Wikipedia

ALFRED STIEGLITZ (18641946) 
Equivalent (Series), 1925-1931 
Stieglitz photographed clouds from 1922 into the thirties. A symbolist aesthetic underlies these images, which became increasingly abstract equivalents of his own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. The theory of equivalence had been the subject of much discussion at Gallery 291 during the teens, and it was infused by Kandinsky's ideas, especially the belief that colors, shapes, and lines reflect the inner, often emotive "vibrations of the soul." In his cloud photographs, which he termed Equivalents, Stieglitz emphasized pure abstraction, adhering to the modern ideas of equivalence, holding that abstract forms, lines, and colors could represent corresponding inner states, emotions and ideas.[my emphasis-ams]   -  Adapted from Eye, LBW from American Art @ The Phillips Collection


To view Stieglitz' abstract photographs, go to this web site
http://stage.phillipscollection.org/research/american_art/index.htm, click on "explore collection", and then click on the letter S of the artist listing.This is a really nice art web site including a variety of media and a large number of artists and their works; easy to navigate and view art work


 

          
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

      
    

     
 
     
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