The audience for Steichen’s early photographs—readers of Camera Work, visitors to 291, and members of amateur camera clubs—were important within artistic circles, but their number was small compared to the audience he would address following the war. Indeed, Steichen’s large and painterly early prints, perhaps because of their rarity, are now far less known by the general public than his portraits of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson, and other celebrities that appeared in Condé Nast’s Vogue and Vanity Fair in the 1920s and 1930s, or his fashion and advertising photographs that shared those same pages. Moreover, while the circulation of Camera Work never topped a thousand (and was often much less) and its intended audience was an intellectual elite, the Condé Nast publications catered to a much larger and broader readership, one hungry for just the sort of glamorous celebrity portraiture at which Steichen excelled.
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