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Margin Notes

Block Museum Receives Steichen Gift

Followers of Carl Sandburg and his family will be happy to know that Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art has just received a major gift of Edward Steichen’s photographs. These 44 photographs are a gift from Richard and Jackie Hollander.

These silver gelatin and platinum prints by the the iconic photographer are the second gift to the Block from the Hollanders. In 2013, they gifted the Block with 49 other Steichen photographs. The photographs were printed by the artist himself, bringing value as well as the artist’s true vision to the images.

Steichen is credited with elevating fashion photography to an art; as well as being a painter and a curator. His command of units dedicated to military photography in both World Wars helped win those wars. From Vogue to Victory, he was a “photographer’s photographer.”

Lillian Steichen, Carl Sandburg’s wife was Edward Steichen’s brother. Edward and Carl were lifelong friends. Edward went to bat for the couple when his parents objected to their University of Chicago-educated, Phi Betta Kappa daughter marrying a poet-drifter with a community organizer job. 

Sandburg wrote the text for Steichen: The Photographer and collaborated on Road to Victory, Steichen’s World War II photographic exhibit at the MOMA. Sandburg’s contribution also included writing the book that accompanied the exhibit.  Carl also wrote the text for the exhibition catalog for Steichen’s acclaimed Family of Man exhibit. Opening in 1955, this vast collection includes over 500 photos depicting life, love and death in 68 countries. The exhibit has a permanent home in northern Luxembourg, Steichen’s country of origin.

Learn more about the photographs and the Block Museum of Art.