In 1934, Arthur Dove paid tribute to Alfred Stieglitz, writing, “I couldn’t have existed as a painter without that super-encouragement.” Indeed, it is doubtful that many other early modernists in America would have survived and flourished without Stieglitz; their history is inconceivable without him. His profound impact as artist and catalyst for modern art both here and abroad was made abundantly clear in a landmark exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, “Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries,” organized by the museum’s curator of photographs, Sarah Greenough.[1]

We already know a great deal about Stieglitz, of course. He has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, as well as many specialized studies by William Innes Homer, Elizabeth Hutton Turner, and Ms. Greenough herself, among others. Of the many efforts devoted...

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