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Photo of the Week #2

Edward Steichen

Edward Steichen, J.P. Morgan, 1903

Edward Steichen, J.P. Morgan, 1903


This rare gum platinum print of financier J.P. Morgan was taken by Edward Steichen in 1903, and believed to have been printed in 1903 or 1904.  The painter Fedor Encke commissioned the portrait so as to minimize the sitting time required of this very busy subject.  Steichen took this picture first, and then asked Morgan to adjust his pose, which led to the more famous image of Morgan glaring at the camera.  Morgan was very pleased with the first exposure but furious about the second and ripped up the print.  He later changed his mind and offered to buy the original, but Steichen refused.  Only twelve prints are thought to have been made from this first negative. It is signed and dated in the lower right corner.

This print was recently exhibited in Morgan: Mind of the Collector, at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.