291, also known as Gallery 291, also known as “Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession”, was a famous art and photography gallery located on the fifth floor of a walk-up townhouse at the address 291 Fifth Avenue. It was created and managed by photographer Alfred Stieglitz in the early 20th Century. In addition to being a pioneer in demonstrating that photography could be art, Stieglitz also was the first to introduce the works of artists Rodin, Cezanne, and Matisse to the United States. The gallery closed in 1917, shortly after Stieglitz met Georgia O’Keefe and at least some references indicate he devoted more time to his relationship with her than to the gallery. Which seems reasonable, because love can be demanding. There are lots of online sources about the gallery, snd numerous books. The Wikipedia entry is a reasonable place to start for more information.
I was pretty certain that the building that housed the gallery no longer exists, but was charged with finding out for sure once someone identified as HDR Dave asked me to check and take a photo of the 291 location on my request page. Today, 295 Fifth Avenue, shown above, takes up the entire block between 30th and 31st streets where 291 once stood. I did read one source, which I cannot locate this morning, indicating that the building was demolished at the same time the gallery closed, and that perhaps the loss of the space also contributed to the demise of the gallery. When I shot the above image I walked the length of the building, including along its sides on both 30th and 31st Streets, to see if I could find a cornerstone with a date, but there did not seem to be one. The building today bills itself as the #1 building for the home textiles industry, and only rents space to tenants in that field.
The photo, she is not my most beautiful work, but the image serves the point of the post. The flags dominate the building front here as they also grab your eye when you take in the building from the street.
Note: The original copy for this post identified the artist as “Art Stiglitz,” for reasons that are beyond obscure to me now. Thanks to a kind reader for pointing out my error.