Gable and Apples by Alfred Stieglitz
10"x8" ($35) | 14"x11" ($75) | 20"x16" ($260) | 30"x24" ($1350)
September often prompts us to reflect and dial it down just as the temperatures do, and this new Vintage Edition shot by Alfred Stieglitz is a gentle reminder to do just that. Captured in 1922, Gable and Apples embodies a buoyant optimism in a moment of stillness.
Autumn brings with it an assortment of exciting things: sweater weather, juicy produce, lower AC bills. And many of us still have the standard start of the school year engraved in our heads as a fresh start; a reason to buy new pencils, dust off that planner that still hasn’t been opened from January, you know, get our lives together and all that good stuff. This mindset has always tied in perfectly with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. As we enter the second day of this uplifting holiday, we’re toasting to hope, but also, to apples and honey.
The dewy apples delicately dancing in front of Stieglitz’s pitched roof celebrate the possibilities this new year can bring. Jewish traditions often revolve around food—which our bellies welcome—and this special holiday is no different. In Jewish culture, apples have been known to have healing properties and are typically dipped in honey, not just for the divine taste (shoutout to bees!), but to bespeak an upcoming sweet year.
The tranquility of Gable and Apples is an ode to the artist’s softening approach to America. Born to German Jewish immigrants in Hoboken, NJ, Stieglitz was just eight-year-old when his family began spending summers in Lake George. The Hill, as Stieglitz affectionately called the family’s farmhouse estate, became a driving force of his development as an artist. Often unsettled by the rise of American power and the harshness of cities and architecture, he sought to ease the severity of his surroundings with a veil of nature. He employed textures, natural elements, and atmospherics to produce almost impressionist photographs.
Alfred Stieglitz changed the game for photography, advocating for it as more than a tool for documenting history, and instead as an artistic medium alongside painting and sculpture. He did so quite successfully, eventually becoming one of the first photographers collected by American art museums. While a leader of the Pictorialists—a movement to promote photography to a higher art form and often characterized by dramatic editing and elaborate retouching—Stieglitz forged his own individual path of stylistic manipulation through natural effects such as snow, steam, rain, and light rather than manual darkroom editing. His objective was to blur the lines between imagination and realism, to translate a complete life experience effectively into a photograph: the scent of fresh rain, the sound of a light breeze rustling through the branches. He brings emotion into his artwork, and we feed off of that.
This year, we all could use a little sweetness. Shana Tova!