The Net Mender

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Alfred Stieglitz
American, 1864–1946

The Net Mender, 1894

Carbon print
41.8 x 54.3 cm (image); 42.0 x 54.5 cm (paper/mount)
Signed recto, lower right, on image, in graphite: "Alfred Stieglitz / 1899[?]"; inscribed verso, on mount, lower left, in graphite: "Alfred Stieglitz / The Net Mender, 1894. / Leica #67B / The Alfred Stieglitz Collection"; verso, on mount, upper right, in graphite: framing diagram; verso, on mount, along right edge, sidways: "Stieglitz / [illegible] / Oak / [illegible] #XXVI / [illegible] 16 1/8 x 21"
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.690

In an 1899 article, Stieglitz singled out The Net Mender as his favorite of his own photographs: “It expresses the life of a young Dutch woman: every stitch in the mending of the fishing net, the very rudiment of her existence, brings forth a torrent of poetic thoughts in those who watch her sit there on the vast and seemingly endless dunes, toiling with that seriousness and peacefulness which is so characteristic of these sturdy people.” He noted that the exhibition prints were printed at the scale seen here because “the subject needs size to fully express it.”

—Exhibition label text

For more on the Alfred Stieglitz collection at the Art Institute, along with in-depth object information, please visit the website: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, "Pictorial Photography in Philadelphia," March 9-April 18, 1984.

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, "Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago," November 7, 2009–January 31, 2010. (Judith Barter)

Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, "Alfred Stieglitz and the 19th Century," October 31, 2015-March 27, 2016.

Publication History

Travis, David. 1982. "Photography in Chicago Collections." Exh. cat. The Art Institute of Chicago. p. 23.

Homer, William Innes. 1984. "Pictorial photography in Philadelphia: the Pennsylvania Academy's salons, 1898-1901" Exh. cat. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. p. 18.

Barter, Judith A. 2009. "Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago." Exh. cat. the Art Institute of Chicago. ch. 4, fig. 16, pl. 147.