It Works on Paper: 291

Among the thousands of works on paper we've digitized with help from our two-year NEA grant is the Carter's complete set of the 291 magazine. Published in 1915-1916, the magazine started as publicity for Alfred Stieglitz's "291" gallery, but has become an important piece of art history itself.

The full run of 291 is pretty amazing, but the August 1915 issue is one of my favorite objects in the entire collection. This particular issue contains several so-called portraits mécaniques of the 291 creators drawn by French artist Francis Picabia (1879-1953) in his pre-Dada and pre-Surrealist days. Hard to believe these "portraits" are nearly 100 years old!