L’Hiver, cinquième avenue

L’Hiver, cinquième avenue

This very early hand-pulled, photogravure printing of the seminal Stieglitz photograph known as Winter, Fifth Avenue was exhibited at the 1896 Paris salon as an enlarged carbon photograph. (no. 571) 1.

A revealing and interpretive analysis of this photograph appears in Jay Bochner’s book:  An American Lens: Scenes from Alfred Stieglitz’s New York Secession and is critical for our understanding of the period in which Stieglitz took it. The title of chapter 1: The Coming Storm of Modernism (1893), includes an illustration of the photograph, using it as a metaphor for the chapter title itself.  An excerpt:

“That vitality, for both the driver and the image, feeds on the storm, which is, after all, a natural phenomenon, like the horse; storm and team together show their muscle against the city, or at least against that sense of the city which we imagine represents the successes of industry and of money.  The storm can all but immobilize this city, with this horse-driven exception which Stieglitz has awaited for some three hours at the corner of 35th Street and Fifth Avenue.” 2.

“Then he, too, immobilizes the city, the storm, and the team, asserting his power to give direction to “this New York of boundless misdirected energy and to capture a portion of that wasteful flow,” as Lewis Mumford put it.” 3.

1. Alfred Stieglitz | The Key Set: Volume One 1886-1922 p. 49
2. An American Lens: Scenes from Alfred Stieglitz’s New York Secession  p. 11
3. Lewis Mumford, “The Metropolitan Milieu,” in Waldo Frank et al., eds., America and Alfred Stieglitz: A Collective Portrait (New York: Literary Guild, 1934), p. 45.

L’Hiver, cinquième avenue

Image Dimensions16.0 x 12.3 cm Planche XXXVIII