‘Foursome’ by Carolyn Burke

‘Foursome’ by Carolyn Burke

WHO: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe,
Rebecca Salsbury, and Paul Strand

WHAT: FOURSOME by Carolyn Burke

WHEN: Published by Knopf March 8, 2019

WHERE: The author lives in Santa Cruz CA.

WHY: “Intimate and exhaustively researched.
“The lives of a quartet of some of the most influential painters and photographers of the early 20th century. Burke follows the careers of Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, and Rebecca Salsbury as they made a ‘quiet challenge to those who refused to see photography as art.’
“The book opens in 1921 with Stieglitz’s New York City exhibit that contained his works of an unidentified nude that, Burke writes, captured the ‘creative zest and sexual desire in his portraits.’ From there, Burke follows Stieglitz, O’Keeffe, Strand, and Salsbury all over New York City as they held popular exhibits, and, later, to Taos, N.Mex., where they became part of the town’s art scene. The four inspired each other professionally, through mentorship and as photo subjects (O’Keeffe posed for Stieglitz’s early nudes), and romantic relationships between the two couples. This biography offers detailed insight into one of the most important periods in American art.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Well-researched…a biography of two of the 20th century’s
most famous artist couples.”

. . . . .


Alfred Stieglitz often said that taking photographs was like making love. The crowds that flocked to the Anderson Galleries to see his
work in the winter of 1921 could not fail to note the entwining of creative zest and sexual desire in his portraits of an unidentified “Woman”: This study of his model, dressed and undressed, made up a third of the long-awaited exhibition. Within days, it became the most controversial artistic event of the year. “Never was there such a hub-bub about a one-man show,” a sympathizer recalled.
In the aftermath of the recent Red Scare and Harding’s election to the presidency, Stieglitz’s prints looked like an affront to society. To some critics, they were all but un-American — the artist’s way of flouting Harding’s plan to bring back prewar standards. (The country’s greatest need, Harding had repeated during his campaign, was “not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration.”) In the current political climate, the photographer’s assertion of his right to display life uncensored was an act of defiance. “Stieglitz has not divorced his art from life,” a critic wrote. If one were to find fault with his show, it would be with his “lack of reticence.” Stieglitz, he concluded, “keeps nothing back.”

Author photo

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Author tour | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. With 43 B&W and 24 color illustrations.
432 pages. $30 ISBN 978-0-307-95729-0

To interview the author, contact:
Erinn Hartman | 212-572-2345 | hartman@penguinrandomhouse.com