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Edward Steichen, "Mary Steichen with Russian Nesting Dolls", ca. 1908,  Autochrome, George Eastman House

Experiments in Color Photography by Edward Steichen

bloom! Experiments in Color Photography by Edward Steichen gives a fresh look at the themes of the portrait, still life and landscape in the work of the renowned American photographer born in Luxembourg. The exhibition shows not only an understanding of Edward Steichen’s taste in colour and his experiments with photographic images, but also his fascination for flower hybrids. In the figure of Edward Steichen, a 19th century romantic working passionately with 20th century methods and technology, complete artistic freedom and scientific methodology come to meet.

Steichen was a pioneer in many fields, and most notably in colour photography. It was he who, in 1907, introduced the autochrome process in the United States. The autochrome was invented in France in 1903 by the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière as the first industrial and commercially successful process for colour photography.

Encompassing works from between 1904 and 1973, the exhibition regales the story of photography throughout the 20th century, which has attempted to assure a place in the artistic world as a form of art in itself, with its own particularities and interest, distinct to those of other artistic forms. It emphasises the richness of the photographic tool, its evolution and what it has contributed to the artistic domain.

Sixteen reproductions of autochromes from the famous George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, which also agreed to a loan of around fifty photographs, have been gathered at Mudam. This contribution is completed by a significant selection of Luxembourg collections from the Musée national d’histoire et d’art and the Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat.

Finally, bloom! Experiments in Color Photography by Edward Steichen underlines the importance of the themes of nature and the artificial in his work. Throughout his life, Steichen was a fervent horticulturist, driven by his desire to create a perfect species through experimenting with the genetic characteristics of flowers from his garden, and particularly delphiniums. That is how, significantly, his first exhibition at MoMA, in 1936, wasn’t an exhibition of photos, but an installation, for ten days, of larkspurs that he had cultivated himself on his Connecticut property.


  • Françoise Poos
    Christian Mosar

A project within the framework of Luxembourg and Greater Region, European Capital of Culture 2007, under the High Patronage of Their Royal Highnesses The Grand Duke and The Grand Duchess. In collaboration with Mudam Luxembourg, George Eastman House –Rochester New York, Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat, Musée national d’histoire et d’art, Photothèque de la Ville de Luxembourg.