Edward J. Steichen (American, born Luxembourg, 1879–1973)
Platinum print; 5 13/16 x 5 13/16 in. (14.7 x 14.7 cm)
Gift of Grace M. Mayer, 1990 (1990.1042)
Softly rendered, misty woods were already a favorite subject of Steichen before he left Milwaukee in 1900. During his first visit to France (1900–1902), he produced this softly nuanced treatment of the theme in Voulangis, a small town just east of Paris, where he would later buy a house and settle his family. A master printer in many photographic media, Steichen was capable of wresting bold contrasts and surprising colors from his materials. In Voulangis, he pushed the platinum print in the opposite direction, forsaking the medium's characteristic deep, velvety blacks in favor of a lilac gray, a palpable mist through which the forms of trees and a pony barely emerge from a dream world into visibility.