White was a founding member of the Photo-Secession, a friend of Alfred Stieglitz, and a highly praised contributor to photographic exhibitions at home and abroad at the turn of the century. Much of his best work was produced before he moved to New York in 1906, when he still lived far from the medium's hub, in the small Ohio town of Newark, supporting his family as a grocery store bookkeeper. His photographs from this time reveal a vision nurtured by and dependent on the customs and values of small-town life.
Highly reminiscent of William Merritt Chase's painting of the same subject made three years earlier, "Ring Toss" is an ingratiating vision of youthful feminine grace in a domestic setting. It signals a remove from the modern urban world and demonstrates White's ability to find sentiment even in the commonplace. The light orange gum bichromate of this print resembles pastel or red chalk, making the photographer's emulation of the traditions of art all the more salient.
Alfred Stieglitz, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painterly Photograph," Tuesday, January 09, 1973 - Wednesday, February 28, 1973.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," May 18, 1978–July 16, 1978.
Les Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "1900," March 14, 2000–June 26, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography: Processes, Preservation, and Conservation," January 30, 2001–May 6, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 49," August 26, 2008–January 4, 2009.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographic Treasures from the Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," October 13, 2011–February 26, 2012.
Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 3 (July 1903).
Naef, Weston J. The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography. Studio Book. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1978. no. 551.
Orvell, Miles. American Photography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. p. 96.