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Scurrying Home Stieglitz, Alfred  (American, 1864-1946)

The art critic Sadakichi Hartmann best described the importance of this image… Scurrying Home could teach many an artist what composition means . . . . Two Dutch women crossing an open waste of sand, with the Katwyk Church, made famous by modern painters, in the distance. How interesting the texture of the foreground! How well its oblique lines cut those of the middle distance! How well the distance is managed! And how marvelously the figures are placed, considering that if they had been photographed one second sooner or later the picture would have been spoiled. Their movement is as natural as it can be; it suggests the breeziness of the weather; only the feet of the larger one are somewhat indistinct, and the skirts of both are too opaque. It seems almost impossible in photography to attain Whistleresque subtleties of tone in a dark object. Scurrying Home is a landmark in the domain of camera art and worth alone a trip to Europe. Many an artist after a three years’ sojourn abroad returns without being able to show half as much." Hartmann concluded, " Scurrying Home shows better than any other American photograph I know the possibilities of artistic photography.

The location is Katwijk aan Zee a seaside resort located on the North Sea at the mouth of the Oude Rijn in the municipality of Katwijk and the province of South Holland. Stieglitz published the same image earlier in 1895 in The Photographic Times, July-Dec, Vol XXVII under the title "Going To Prayers".

Reproduced / Exhibited

Hartmann, Sadakichi. Landscape and Figure Composition. New York: The Baker and Taylor Company, 1910. fig. 114

Homer, William I, Catherine Johnson, and Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession, 1902. London: Penguin Putnam, 2002

Jussim, Estelle. Slave to Beauty: The Eccentric Life and Controversial Career of F. Holland Day, Photographer, Publisher, Aesthete. Boston: Godine, 1981. p. 95

Homer, William I. Alfred Stieglitz and the American Avant-Guarde. Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1979. no. 6.

Photography: the first eighty years, Colnaghi, London, 1976, pg 212 New York Graphic Society, New York, 1977, pg 18