Between 1909 and 1913, Alfred Stieglitz mounted three separate exhibitions of work by Marius de Zayas at his gallery, 291. At the third, the cosmopolitan émigré exhibited eighteen charcoal caricatures, including this is one, in two styles: “relative” (representational) and “absolute” (non-representational). The abstractions on view combined algebraic equations, geometric forms, and dramatic chiaroscuro to impart the artist’s clear vision of otherwise imperceptible realities. A virtual who’s who of contemporary luminaries in American art and politics, subjects ranged from Alfred Stieglitz and Theodore Roosevelt to Paul Burty Haviland and Francis Picabia. Agnes Meyer, exemplary of the early twentieth-century “New Woman,” independently financed her education at Barnard College and became one of The New York Sun’s first female reporters. This handsome and rare drawing suggests the energy, drive, and élan of the “sitter.” Picabia’s own representation of Meyer as a catalyst, on view nearby, confirms her dynamic character.
Image rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Publisher: Published in Camera Work, no. 46, April 1914 (issued October)
"This Is a Portrait If I Say So: Identity in American Art, 1912 to Today"
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
About Marius de Zayas
Mexican, 1880-1961, Veracruz, Mexico