La Duchesse de Gramont, 1924

  • Edward J. Steichen, American, 1879-1973

Gelatin silver print

  • Sheet: 9 1/2 × 7 1/2 inches (24.1 × 19.1 cm)

Museum Purchase with funds from the Founders Junior Council


Edward Steichen, one of the most prominent figures in early twentieth-century photography, is recognized for both his artistic and commercial work at a time when photography had only slight recognition as a serious art form. Consequently, aesthetic innovation in photographic circles was often evident in magazine work, and Steichen believed that fashion and other commercial photography could be raised to the level of high art. From 1923 to 1938, he was the chief photographer for publishing firm Condé Nast. He work appeared frequently in Vanity Fair and Vogue where Steichen set a standard for fashion and portrait photography in ways that shaped the genres for many years. He considered this photograph of Elisabeth da Gramont (1875–1954) a “fashion portrait.” The subject was a sophisticated, albeit bohemian, Parisian aristocrat and woman of letters, who helped to exemplify his refined, yet casual approach to fashion as well as portraiture in the mid-1920s. From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)

Inscribed, dated in pencil, on verso: #1 [encircled]; Gramont | June 1924 | #119 | PF36563e In blue pencil, on verso of mount, upper center: 35 In red pencil, on verso of mount, left center: 18.

Joanna Steichen, New York, New York, 2002 2002-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Edward J. Steichen, La Duchesse de Gramont, 1924, gelatin silver print. Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum Purchase with funds from the Founders Junior Council, 2002.116.