The Artist

seeley.jpgGeorge Henry Seeley (1880-1955) studied painting at the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston, where he met F. Holland Day, a leading artist-photographer who inspired him to take up photography. In 1904, Seeley became an art instructor for the Stockbridge public school system. That year his photographic work won widespread critical acclaim at the First American Photographic Salon in New York and came to the attention of Alfred Stieglitz, the influential photographer, art dealer, and editor of Camera Work, who invited Seeley to join the Photo-Secession, an association of contemporary photographers based in New York City.

Stieglitz encouraged Seeley to move to New York, but he was determined to remain in Stockbridge. He worked alone in the modest house that he shared with his family, developing his prints in the kitchen or the basement. Nevertheless, Seeley's photographic work was of great importance to the Photo-Secessionists, who sought widespread recognition for photography as fine art. Seeley won prizes in a number of international exhibitions and occasionally penned articles for photographic journals. His contribution to the International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography held in Buffalo, New York, in 1910 and the subsequent purchase of his work by the Albright Art Gallery (now the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) in Buffalo represented the apex of his career. Shortly after this triumph, Seeley's ties with Stieglitz began to erode and he withdrew from the Photo-Secession.

Around 1917, as tastes shifted away from soft-focus photographic images and platinum became nearly impossible to obtain because of World War I shortages, interest in Seeley's work waned. He continued to exhibit his photographs sporadically until 1933, when he seems to have devoted himself primarily to painting.


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