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Benton's acquisition: "Hand of Man"

By Michael McGuigan
On February 14, 2013

The William Benton Museum of Art has acquired a new photogravure by Alfred Stieglitz known as the "Hand of Man."
The title of the work refers to the impact of man upon nature during the Industrial Revolution, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
According to the Metropolitan Museum, the "Hand of Man" was originally published in the inaugural issue of "Camera Works" in 1903. The image depicts a lone locomotive traveling through the train yards of Long Island City. In the picture, Stieglitz depicts an urban landscape with beauty and symbolism as powerful as landscapes found in nature.
A photogravure is a picture printed using an intaglio plate prepared by using photographic methods. Intaglio is a form of printing, in which the image is sunk below the surface. The intaglio plates are created from a negative image, and are used to print photographs. The "Hand of Man" of man is an image created using this process.
Born in 1864, Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer, art dealer and publisher. Stieglitz was a major force in developing the credibility of photography as a fine art form due to his role as the proprietor of the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, and as the editor of the photographic journals, "Camera Notes" and "Camera Works", according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Stieglitz was also a revolutionary figure in the field of photography due to the impact of his own work. Museum of Art. Stieglitz brought modern photo forms to America from Europe, according to Ally Walton an assistant curator at the Benton. Walton said that a photogravure is almost as valuable as the original print.
In 1902 Stieglitz worked with other American photographers to form the Photo-Secession organization dedicated to raising photography to the status of a fine art in America, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. In order to accomplish this goal Stieglitz created the quarterly publication, "Camera Works." Camera Works" was initially published in January of 1903, and went on to publish 50 issues until production ceased in 1917. Stieglitz went on to open the Photo-Secession gallery in 1905. Stieglitz passed away in 1946.
The "Hand of Man" is currently on display at the William Benton Museum of Art. The museum's galleries are open from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the Benton is free, though donations are appreciated.

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