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 example, 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 vision of otherwise imperceptible realities. 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 rare drawing suggests her energy, drive, and élan. Francis Picabia’s representation of Meyer as a mechanical catalyst, reproduced nearby, also testifies to her dynamic character.
Image rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
"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