FAMILY OF MAN, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY EDWARD STEICHEN
STEICHEN, Edward and SANDBURG, Carl. The Family of Man. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1955. Quarto, original half black cloth, original dust jacket. $3800.
Early edition catalogue of this landmark show, inscribed on the title page, “To Frank Abrams, from my good neighbor [pollster] Elmo Roper and many best wishes, Edward Steichen,” featuring 503 rich photogravures.
“In 1955, Steichen opened the exhibition The Family of Man, the most universally popular photography exhibition ever organized” (Icons of Photography, 16) and still considered the medium’s “landmark show” (Roth, 146). Structured as “a journey through the seven stages of man, from birth to death, [it was] compiled from pictures taken all around the world… It tends to depoliticize the human condition by emphasizing universals rather than specifics” (Parr & Badger I:210). Steichen’s inscription fondly refers to his longtime neighbor in West Redding, Connecticut, Elmo Roper, who “acquired national fame… [as one of] the first to develop the modern political polls” (New York Times). First published earlier the same year by the Museum of Modern Art, this later printing includes all 503 photographs and an additional section on the installation itself. Prologue written by Steichen’s brother-in-law, Carl Sandburg. With “Deluxe Edition” dust jacket. See Parr & Badger II:218.
Lightest edge-wear to original boards; mild chipping to spine head, light spotting to bright dust jacket. A near-fine copy, scarce inscribed.