Pool, Milwaukee

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Edward Steichen (American, b. Luxemburg, 1879–1973)
Pool, Milwaukee, ca. 1899
Platinum print
7 3/4 × 6 1/8 in. (19.71 × 15.55 cm)
Purchase, Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund M1993.85
Photo credit: Efraim Lev-er
Permission Joanna T. Steichen
Not Currently on View

Kodak's introduction in 1888 of amateur handheld cameras, as well as industrially manufactured photographic materials and mail-order processing services, made what was once a gentleman's hobby into a common practice. The number of casual snapshooters exploded, causing considerable consternation among photographers devoted to the advancement of photography as a fine art. Known as Pictorialists, the latter group often employed labor intensive processes, such as gum bichromate and platinum printing, and borrowed subjects from contemporary painting and drawing in order to emphasize the craftsmanship and aesthetic refinement possible with their medium. Edward Jean Steichen was one of America's most prominent advocates of Pictorialism early in his career, when this picture was made. With its velvety blacks and Whistlerian rendering of a misty wooded pond, it is a masterful demonstration of Pictorialist ideas and the artist's facility with its tenets.

Publication History
Milwaukee Art Museum Insider, Summer 2013, p. 18, color illus.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 206, color illus.
Exhibition History
Light Borne in Darkness: Photography Highlights from the Permanent Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, November 24, 2015–April 10, 2016.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.