2 of 24 portraits of Gordon Craig
by Edward Steichen
7 7/8 in. x 6 3/8 in. (200 mm x 162 mm)
Sitterback to top
- (Edward Henry) Gordon Craig (1872-1966), Theatre director, designer and wood-engraver, son of Ellen Terry. Sitter in 24 portraits.
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- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 171 Read entry
Edward Gordon Craig was the son of the architect E. W. Godwin and the great actress Ellen Terry, and his life was lived in or around the theatre. He had abundant natural talent as an actor, but turned early on to stage design. From the first his productions broke with popular pictorial realism, and were distinguished by brilliance, originality and economy of effect. A man of many love affairs and seemingly even more children, in 1905 he left England for good, and took up with the experimental dancer Isadora Duncan; this was the beginning of a rich period in his work, which saw him working with Eleonora Duse in Florence and Stanislavsky in Moscow. In 1911 he published On the Art of the Theatre, in which he put forward his concept of a unified theatrical experience controlled by one mastermind, the designer-director.
Edward Steichen was one of the greatest photographers of all time, who after the Second World War was appointed Director of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He had a superb sense of design and, as is seen in his portrait of Craig, he delighted in capturing almost imperceptible forms as they emerged from shadow. For this theatrical subject, he creates an especially theatrical effect: Craig is caught, turning in a moment of unexplained drama, in a shaft of light - a device he used in his own productions. This gravure was published in Alfred Stieglitz's quarterly Camera Work in July 1913.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 150