Steichen added color to the platinum print that forms the foundation of this photograph by using layers of pigment suspended in a light-sensitive solution of gum arabic and potassium bichromate. Together with two variant prints in other colors, also in the Museum's collection, "The Flatiron" is the quintessential chromatic study of twilight. Clearly indebted in its composition to the Japanese woodcuts that were in vogue at the turn of the century and in its coloristic effect to the "Nocturnes" of Whistler, this picture is a prime example of the conscious effort of photographers in the circle of Alfred Stieglitz to assert the artistic potential of their medium.
Steichen and Stieglitz selected this photograph for inclusion in the "International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography" held at the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) in Buffalo, New York, in 1910. The exhibition of six hundred photographs represented the capstone of Stieglitz's efforts to promote Pictorialist photography as a fine art.
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.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography," May 7, 1989–July 30, 1989.
Art Institute of Chicago. "On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography," September 16, 1989–November 26, 1989.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography," December 21, 1989–February 25, 1990.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 1," December 4, 1992–May 4, 1993.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pictorialism in New York, 1900-1915," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.
Les Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "1900," March 14, 2000–June 26, 2000.
Musée d'Orsay. "Alfred Stieglitz et son cercle. La modernité à New York, 1905-1930," October 18, 2004–January 16, 2005.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. "Alfred Stieglitz et son cercle. La modernité à New York, 1905-1930," February 10, 2005–May 16, 2005.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," November 8, 2010–April 10, 2011.
Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 14 (April 1906).
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. 479.
Greenough, Sarah. On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photography. 1st ed. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1989. no. 42, pl. 184.
New York et l'Art Moderne: Alfred Stieglitz et Son Cercle (1905–1930). Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004. pl. 7.
Brandow, Todd, and William A. Ewing. Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography. Minneapolis: Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, 2007. fig. 103, frontispiece (detail).