Alice Boughton (14 May 1866 or 1867 – 21 June 1943) was an early 20th-century American photographer known for her photographs of many literary and theatrical figures of her time. She was a Fellow of Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession, a circle of highly creative and influential photographers whose artistic efforts succeeded in raising photography to a fine art form.
In the 1880s, Boughton began studying art and photography at the Pratt School of Art and Design. It was there that she met fellow student Gertrude Käsebier, with whom she later studied in Paris. Käsebier also employed her an assistant in her studio.
In 1890, she opened her own portrait studio in New York, which she maintained for the next forty years.
Around 1901, Boughton studied art in Rome and photography in Paris, where she worked in Käsebier’s summer studio. She won an honorable mention for her work at the Turn International Decorative and Fine Arts Exhibition in 1902.
It is not known when she met Alfred Stieglitz, but it is clear he knew of and admired her work by 1902 when he included two of her works in the inaugural exhibition at his Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in New York City. Four years later, in 1906, Boughton was appointed by Stieglitz as a Fellow of the Photo-Secession.
In 1909 she had six of her photographs and an essay called “Photography, A Medium of Expression” published in Stieglitz’s journal Camera Work (No 26, April, 1909). During this same period, her photographs were included in major exhibitions around the world, including shows in London, Paris, Vienna, The Hague and New York
Boughton became one of the most distinguished portrait photographers of New York, although she did many landscapes. She also produced female nudes in allegorical or natural settings.
From at least 1920 until her death, Boughton shared her residences with artist and art teacher Ida Haskell. The exact nature of their relationship is unknown.
In 1931, Boughton closed her studio and discarded thousands of prints. She moved permanently to the home in Brookhaven, Long Island, that she shared with Haskell.
Boughton died of pneumonia on 21 June 1943.
Her works are in the permanent collections of the British National Portrait Gallery, the U.S. National Portrait Gallery and several more major museums.