The Terminal is one of the earliest and most important of Stieglitz’s New York City images. Made some five years before Eugene Atget began documenting the streets of old Paris, The Terminal speaks to the dawning realization in Stieglitz of the potential for artistic expression in his hometown. ‘From 1893 to 1895 I often walked the streets of New York downtown, near the East River, taking my hand camera with me. I wandered around the Tombs [jailhouse], the old Post Office, Five Points. I loathed the dirty streets, yet I was fascinated. I wanted to photograph everything I saw,’ he recounted to a friend. ‘[One day] I found myself in front of the old Post Office. The Third Avenue street railway and the Madison Avenue car systems had their terminals there, opposite the old Astor House. It was extremely cold. Snow lay on the ground. A driver in a rubber coat was watering his steaming car horses. How fortunate the horses seemed, having a human being to tend them … The steaming horses being watered on a cold winter day, the snow-covered streets … [expressed] my own sense of loneliness in my own country.’ 
Having returned from almost a decade in Europe, lower Manhattan, with its throngs of workers and construction projects, docks, subways and dirty streets, was an utter contrast to picturesque Europe. The grandeur and forces of modernity coursing through the city, however, inspired a body of work that blazed a trail for the fledgling art of photography. Like The Hand of Man and The Steerage, The Terminal was reproduced as a small-format photogravure in Camera Work XXXVI (1911).
It’s as beautiful an image as exists, with its variety of textures, interplay of angle and curve, marriage of the lyrical (the steam rising from the horses’ flanks) and prosaic (the slush beneath their hooves). The photograph epitomizes both Pictorialism, with its aim to elevate photography through aping the appearance of painting and etching, and looks ahead to classic 20th-century photography, with its stunning specificity and forthright contemporaneity. 
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Other Collections: MMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Musee d’Orsay, GEH, MOMA, Getty Museum
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 By Mark Feeney https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/art/2017/07/26/small-but-choice-stieglitz-and-sheeler-shows-mfa/N0rFikfxAf6tJ499UMqzeL/story.html
Marianne Fulton Margolis (ed.), Camera Work: A Pictorial Guide, Dover, New York, 1978, p. 101.
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Malcolm Daniel, Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand: Masterworks From The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York, 2010, pl. 5.