The Steichen room focuses on his turn of the century Pictorialist work, leaving out virtually all of his later career. Clustered at one end of the room are some of the gems of this era: moonlit landscapes, ethereal nudes, and haunting images of Rodin's Balzac. But shockingly, even these masterpieces fade into the background when hung near the set of three large exhibition prints of the Flatiron Building. Seen alternately in soft green, rich blue, and dark brown, the building's personality changes, looming out of the twilight. Together, they are a staggering example of tour-de-force printing.
In the end though, these quibbles are drowned out by the power of some of the iconic prints on view. While the scholarship ball may not have been moved forward much with this show, what I'll remember about this exhibit five or ten years from now is getting the rare opportunity to stand up close to those three Steichen Flatirons, and to see for myself just how spectacular they truly are.