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Lovers through the lens - auction's photo archive recalls enduring modern love story
Dorothy Norman, one of Three variant images of the Statue of King Mycerinus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, circa 1931. Part of the Stieglitz/Norman consignment, together estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Images courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.


NEW YORK, NY.- This simple study of a young woman, left, is testament to one of the great artistic love stories of modern times – the perfect Valentine’s gift: a c.1931 portrait of the photographer and writer Dorothy Norman by her mentor and long-time lover Alfred Stieglitz four years after they first met.

Despite both being married to other people, they maintained their affair right up until Stieglitz died in 1946.

The couple’s ardent devotion to each other is evident in other studies lotted with this portrait. Assessed by Stieglitz as ‘Perfect’, he wrote ILY (I love You) innumerable times around them and to the reverse, as can be seen.

Stieglitz (1865-1946), married to the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, was 44 years older than Norman, and became her mentor in his role as a leading light of photography as an art form in the United States. He was also a pioneer of landscape and travel photography, capturing numerous European scenes whilst exploring Germany, Italy and the Netherlands as a young man in the 1880s and ’90s.

This portrait, originally from the estate of Norman (1905-97), comes from a time when the couple supported and encouraged each other in developing their work, she as the young devotee exploring her talent, he as the charismatic mentor, revitalised by her attentions and faith in his ability.

Titled Dorothy Norman, the silver print carries Norman’s notation “DN by AS” to the verso, Swann Auction Galleries will offer it in their Icons & Images: Photographs & Photobooks sale on February 15 in New York.

Lotted with a series of other studies by Norman herself, the estimate is $10,000 to $15,000.

Live online bidding from anywhere in the world is available by registering at least 24 hours in advance of the sale via the Swann Galleries’ website.





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