Edward Steichen, ‘Greta Garbo, Hollywood’, 1928, Staley-Wise Gallery
Edward Steichen, ‘Greta Garbo, Hollywood’, 1928, Staley-Wise Gallery

In his autobiography, A Life in Photography, Steichen gave a vivid recount of this sitting:

'When Garbo came in to pose for the Vanity Fair photograph, I asked her to sit on the chair. She straddled it and used its back for resting her arms. I made five or six exposures, all more or less like her typical movie stills…but what bothered me most was her hair. It was curled and fluffy and hung down over her forehead. I said, "It’s too bad we’re doing this with that movie hairdo." At that, she put her hands up to her forehead and pushed every strand back away from her face saying, “Oh, this terrible hair.” At that moment, the woman came out, like the sun coming out from behind dark clouds. The full beauty of her magnificent face was revealed.'

Signature: Estate signed and stamped.

About Edward Steichen

Though he is immortalized as one of the greatest photographers of his time, it was Edward Steichen's early roots as a painter that allowed him to so drastically influence the photographic medium. “The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each to himself,” he theorized. Steichen’s attempt and ultimate success to gain recognition for photography as an art form, alongside his contemporary and Photo-Secession cofounder Alfred Stieglitz, employed a Pictorialist approach distinguished by dreamlike, soft-focused images that reflected the accepted style and principles of other art forms. A later stint as an aerial photographer during WWI led Steichen to adopt a Modernist vision—he would turn to straightforward, clean lines in his work thereafter, moving on to work in commercial photography and become an acclaimed pioneer of fashion photography.

American, 1879-1973, Bivange, Luxembourg