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Committed to Paper The Media of American Modernism, 1900-1930
During the early decades of the 20th century the New York avant-garde struggled to define an aesthetic that would be both modern and American. Led by photographer, connoisseur, and entrepreneur Alfred Stieglitz, they sought to reevaluate traditional European theories and attitudes, and adopted an outlook of change, renewal, experiment, and hope. The media they embraced–photography, watercolor, drawing, and avant-garde journals–were prized for their freshness, mobility, and authenticity, becoming vehicles for the expression of a new American tradition and innovation. These works on paper, favored by some of the best-known artists of the Stieglitz circle including Paul Strand, John Marin, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, and Charles Demuth, spoke aggressively of a uniquely American modern art.