But Phyllis Rose’s book Alfred Stieglitz: Taking Pictures, Making Painters (part of Yale’s Jewish Lives series) brings her subject out of the shadows and into his deserved place in history as the person who made “taking pictures” a respected art form. Rose, a literary critic and a retired professor of English literature at Wesleyan University, has combined her knowledge of photography and modern art with an excellent grasp of the historical trends and events that shaped the artistic world from the Victorian and Gilded Ages to the end of World War II.
Alfred Stieglitz was born in Hoboken, New Jersey into a wealthy, highly cultured German-Jewish family. His parents had immigrated to the United States from Germany following the failed political revolution in 1848. Alfred’s father, Edward, was a kunstmensch, an art man who “read Schiller, Goethe, and Shakespeare…studied works by Rubens, Rembrandt, and Leonardo…”