RALPH STEINER (American, 1899 – 1986)

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1899, Ralph Steiner studied photography at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and at the Clarence H. White School of Photography from 1921 to 1922. With the assistance of White, Steiner got his first job making photogravure plates at the Manhattan Photogravure Company. After a year at the company, Steiner became a freelance advertising and magazine photographer. 

During the 1920s Steiner began to make films, eventually moving to Hollywood in the 1940s.  Steiner’s move did not last, however, and he returned to New York and to freelance photography and camera work. Steiner preferred strong and soft lines, often focusing on architecture and signage but remaining receptive to the natural world. He earned many awards for both photography and film, including an Elmhurst Foundation Film Grant, a 1974 Guggenheim Fellowship and an Honorary Master of Photography Award from the Milwaukee Center of Photography in 1981. Steiner moved to Vermont in 1971, where he remained until his death in 1986.

Selected Collections:

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Museum of Modern, New York

Princeton Art Museum, New Jersey

Art Institute of Chicago

National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art