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Alfred Stieglitz

Marius de Zayas (Mexican, Veracruz 1880–1961 Stamford, Connecticut)

ca. 1912–13
Charcoal on paper
24 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. (62.2 x 47.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Accession Number:
  • Description

    From April to May 1913, "291" exhibited eighteen drawings by de Zayas in his third and last show at the gallery, titled "Caricature: Absolute and Relative." The exhibition reflected de Zayas's two very different approaches to portraiture-one based on satirizing a subject's recognizable physical attributes, and the other relying on abstract signs and symbols to allude to more intangible qualities of intelligence, spirituality, and personality. In this exceptional composition, de Zayas conveys the complexity of Stieglitz's mind (note the elaborate mathematical equations) as well as his direct gaze and artistic focus
    (represented by the repetitive circles of his eyes/glasses/camera lens) and the intensity he brought to all of his activities (suggested by the many lines, patterns, and diagonals). Yet even in this abstract composition there are traces of a physical likeness-wild hair, eyeglasses, and bristly mustache. The central motif, a vertical line between five pairs of circles, was inspired by a rope object made in Pukapuka (Cook Islands), called a "soul-catcher." To de Zayas, and to all the members of the Stieglitz circle, the very phrase captured Stieglitz's mesmerizing hold on their artistic souls.

  • Exhibition History

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "History of an American, Alfred Stieglitz: "291" and After," 1944, no. 168.

    The Art Institute of Chicago. "Alfred Stieglitz: His Photographs and His Collection," 1948, no. 51.

    Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Caracas. "The Dada Spirit 1915-1925," November 14, 1980–January 15, 1981, unnumbered cat. (p. 188).

    Lawrence, Kansas. Spencer Museum of Art. "Marius de Zayas: Conjurer of Souls," September 27–November 8, 1981, no. 23.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Marius de Zayas: Conjurer of Souls," December 18, 1981–February 14, 1982, no. 23.

    New York. Center for Inter-American Relations. "Marius de Zayas: Conjurer of Souls," March 2–April 4, 1982, no. 23.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art "Marius de Zayas: A Mexican in New York"; September 13, 1990 - March 1991

    Washington. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Group Portrait: The First American Avant-Garde," May 10–October 27, 1991 unnumbered checklist.

    Katonah Museum of Art. "Friends and Family: Portraiture in the Work of Florine Stettheimer," September 19–November 28, 1993, unnumbered cat. (fig. 3).

    Washington. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Celebrity Caricature in America," April 10–August 23, 1998, unnumbered cat. (fig. 4.27).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Marius de Zayas & The Stieglitz Circle," March 19–June 27, 2004, no catalogue.

    Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Stieglitz et son Cercle," October 18, 2004-January 16, 2005, no. 34.

  • References

    Fitzgerald, Michael, with a chronology by Julia May Boddewyn, Picasso and American Art, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, September 28, 2006 - January 28, 2007; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, February 25 - May 28, 2007; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 17 - September 9, 2007, ill. p. 50, fig. 19. (ill. in black and white)

    Hamilton, George Heard. "The Alfred Stieglitz Collection" in Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol. 3, 1970, mentioned p. 373, 384-5; illus. pl. 2

    Haskell, Barbara. The American Century: Art and Culture 1900 - 1950. exh. cat. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. Pg. 120, fig. 213 illus. in black and white

    Doulgas Hyland. "Conjurer of Souls." Marius de Zayas. Exh. cat., Spencer Museum of Art. Lawrence, Kansas, 1981, p. 34, ill. p. 105.

    Reaves, Wendy Wick. Celebrity Caricature in America. Exh. cat. National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. Pg. 97

    Stieglitz, Alfred. "Camera Work", ed. 1914, no XLVI, illus. p. 37