The development of photography is a fascinating subject, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art has zeroed in on three masters whose work contributed heftily to photography as an art form as well as an important medium of communication.

The artists being exhibited are Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Edward Steichen (1879-1973) and Paul Strand (1890-1976). The show, which opened November 10, 2010, continues through April 10, 2011. The Museum has an amazing collection of their work, a collection that yielded 115 photographs for the exhibit.

What is intriguing and instructive is the way in which the art of the three is related. There is a progression, with each artist paving the way for further achievements. For example, Steichen became Stieglitz’s protégé, and Stieglitz also became a fan of Strand’s work.

The subjects range from important portraiture to scenes of New York’s skyscrapers. There are some impressive photographs of artist Georgia O’Keeffe made by Stieglitz, including of her as a nude study. The famous Flatiron building figures in Steichen’s work, including large color photographs. The early use of color is interesting in itself.

Strand, coming along later but still working as a contemporary, albeit younger, concentrated on more realistic portraits of life, yet also experimented in abstractions.

The exhibit is set up so that there is easy access between the three artists. It is one that anyone interested in photography and its history will not want to miss. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue and 82nd Street. Phone: 212-535-7710 or at

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