Pears and Apple, France

Edward Steichen (American (born in Luxembourg), 1879–1973)


Image/Sheet: 24.3 x 19.2 cm (9 9/16 x 7 9/16 in.) Mount: 25.5 x 20.3 cm (10 1/16 x 8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View


Americas, Photography



In his early career, Edward Steichen was a major figure in Pictorialism, an international movement that conceived of photography as a fine art and emphasized broad tonal effects that minimized detail. But by 1920 he fell under the spell of European modernism and moved toward straight photography, which was characterized by strong design and simple compositions. In Pears and Apple, France, Steichen concentrates on the physical reality of the fruit, reflecting his new belief that photography’s real strength lay in its ability to reveal essential truths through an analysis of external form. He approached this still life as an abstract problem of how to represent volume, scale, and weight. With no manipulation of the negative or print, the fruit, photographed close-up and cropped tightly in the frame, seems voluptuous, heavy, and monumental.


G. W. Einstein, New York; purchased November 1984.

Credit Line

Sophie M. Friedman Fund


© 2014 The Estate of Edward Steichen / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York