Edward Steichen

Edward Steichen

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Edward Steichen was a photographer and painter who was born in Luxembourg and lived in the United States. He’s been interested in painting and photography since he was a child in the United States. At the age of 15, he received his first employment in the art industry at the American Fine Art Company. He would devote his free time to learning to sketch and paint. This went on for nearly a year, until he noticed a great secondhand camera across the street from his employment. He purchased the camera and began his ascension to the top of the photography world. He is most recognized for inventing the autochrome process, which revolutionized color photography. He spent 17 years as a curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He was a military photographer for the United States throughout both World Wars, and his 1944 documentary ‘The Fighting Lady,’ which showed the life of a Navy officer during the conflict, earned an Academy Award. One of his images was sold for $2.9 million, making it the most valuable photograph ever sold.

Childhood and Early Years

On the 27th of March, 1879, Edward Steichen was born. Jean-Pierre Steichen and Marie Steichen raised him in the Luxembourg town of Bivange. Lilian, his younger sister, was his mother’s younger sister. In 1880, the family moved to America. In 1881, they moved to Chicago, Illinois. The family moved to Milwaukee in 1889, when Steichen was ten years old.

Steichen began his lithography apprenticeship in 1894 with Milwaukee’s American Fine Art Company. For four years, this lasted. He learned to paint, sketch, and draw in his spare time. Steichen’s first camera was purchased in 1895. It was a second-hand Kodak that he acquired from a camera shop close to his employment.

Around the year 1900, Edward Steichen’s career exploded. He met American photographer Alfred Stieglitz on a chance stay in New York City about this period. Steichen’s work was a favorite of Stieglitz’s, and he purchased three of his photographic prints. He commissioned Steichen to create a unique logo for a magazine in 1902. Steichen first used the Autochrome Lumiere technique in 1904. He was one of the first American photographers to employ this technique.

“Little Galleries of Photo-Succession” was founded by Stieglitz and Steichen in 1905. It was renamed ‘291’ later on.
Steichen shot the first modern fashion shoot in 1911. Fashion was used as a kind of fine art in this piece. ‘Art Et Decoration’ published the images in its April issue. During World War I, Steichen was a member of the army, and during WWII, he was a member of the navy. During both World Wars, he contributed significantly to military photography.

The 1928 photograph of actress Greta Garbo is one of Steichen’s most famous works. The shot is usually regarded as Garbo’s best. In 1943, he was a judge for the US Camera Annual’s submissions. He was the one who got Ansel Adams’ famous photograph, ‘Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico,’ published. He directed the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit in 1944. ‘The Fighting Lad’y,’ a documentary, was created during his stay at the role.

Steichen worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as Director of Photography from 1945 to 1962. ‘The Family of Man,’ a photography show that depicted everyday life in dozens of countries, was developed while he was there. Near 1962, he moved back to his Connecticut farm in West Redding. He remained in this house until 1973, when he passed away.

Work on the Big Picture

‘The Pond–Moonlight’ is one of Steichen’s best-known works. In 2006, one of the three surviving prints sold for $2.9 million. This 1904 shot is famed for its watercolor-like appearance. This was before color photography’s autochrome technique, which makes it so valuable. None of the prints are exactly comparable due to the hand-layering approach used to create the watercolor impression.

The ‘Family of Man’ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art is another notable work by Steichen. This exhibition depicts life in 68 countries, inspiring viewers to feel a sense of unity. The project’s sheer size is well-known.

Achievements and Awards

For ‘The Fighting Lady,’ he won an Academy Award in 1945 for Best Documentary. It was praised for portraying life on a cruise ship during World War II in an accurate manner. On December 6, 1963, Lyndon Johnson presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Life and Legacy of an Individual

Edward Steichen had three wives during his lifetime. In 1903, he married Clara Smith, who was his first wife. Mary and Katherine were their two daughters together. After Steichen was accused of having an affair, he and Smith divorced in 1922. Dana Desboro Glover, whom he married in 1923, was his second wife. She died in 1957, and they remained married. Joanna Taub was his last wife, whom he married in 1960. At the age of 93, he passed away on March 25, 1973 in West Redding, Connecticut.

Estimated Net Worth

Edward is one of the wealthiest photographers and one of the most well-known. Edward Steichen’s net worth is estimated to be $68 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


In 2006, his photograph ‘The Pond–Moonlight’ fetched $2.9 million at auction. At the time, it was the most valuable photograph ever sold.