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The painter anton räderscheidt, köln

Mounted to gray paper, in the original vellum overmat, signed by the photographer on the overmat, annotated ‘Anton Räderscheidt’ by Gunther Sander, the photographer's son, in pencil and with a 'Sander, "Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts"' letterpress label on the reverse, framed, circa 1926 This striking portrait of the artist Anton Räderscheidt (1892-1970) underscores the connection between August Sander and a younger generation of artists in Cologne.  This vibrant art scene included Max Ernst, Heinrich Hoerle, Franz Wilhelm Seiwert, Räderscheidt’s wife Marta Hegemann, and others who challenged the artistic status quo and criticized bourgeois German society.  Räderscheidt and Hegemann produced the Dada journal Stupidien (1920) and were part of the avant-garde ‘Cologne Progressives’ group.  For a photographer known for his straightforward documentary style, Sander’s friendship with this particularly radical group of artists is surprising.  Räderscheidt, Hoerle, Seiwert, and others were photographed by Sander, who was also an enthusiastic chronicler of the artists’ yearly Mardi Gras revels.  Räderscheidt, alone and with Hegemann, was photographed numerous times by Sander, and this extended portrait parallels Räderscheidt’s paintings, which frequently show a stylized bowler-hatted figure, sometimes attended by a female figure, aloof in a stark urban landscape.  A variant of the portrait offered here accompanied Räderscheidt’s statement in the 1926 catalogue for the Neue Kunst, Alte Kunst exhibition: ‘I am 34 years old and was born in Cologne.  I paint the man with the bowler hat and the hundred percent woman who steers him through the picture.  My fondness for the horizontal and the vertical is a means of guiding the observer through my pictures.’ Both Sander and Räderscheidt served in World War I and were deeply affected by the conflict.  Sander returned determined to create his epic collective portrait of the German people.  Räderscheidt, who survived Verdun but was seriously wounded, made paintings that captured the alienation of modern life.  Both attracted the attention of the German authorities.  In 1934, the Reich Chamber of Arts ordered the destruction of the printing plates for Sander’s book Antlitz der Zeit and the seizure of all copies.  Räderscheidt, whose work had been included in the Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition at Mannheim in 1925, was branded a ‘degenerate artist’ and many of his works were destroyed.  In 1936, he fled Germany for France, where he was imprisoned by occupation forces.  After World War II, he returned to Cologne, where his work evolved into Magic Realism. With its vellum overmat, signed by the photographer beneath the image, and its printed ‘Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts’ label on the reverse, the photograph offered here presents the ideal state for an early August Sander print.  Sander’s home studio in Cologne was destroyed in 1944, and surviving prints from the 1920s or 1930s are scarce. 

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-12
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'mechanic at steam pump in electric power house'

Titled in pencil and with the photographer's 'Interpretive Photography, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York' studio stamp on the reverse, circa 1921 In a 1921 letter to Paul Kellogg, editor of The Survey magazine, Lewis Hine described a new series of photographs he had undertaken, photographs that he felt showed ‘the Human Side’ of power plants, and called them the ‘very best thing I have ever done.’  The image offered here, arguably Hine’s pre-eminent industrial portrait, is from that group of pictures.  Kellogg published it, along with others by Hine, in The Survey Graphic of December 1921, marking the image’s first appearance in print.  The headline read, ‘Power Makers: Work Portraits by Lewis W. Hine, Photographs Taken in the Power Plants of the Pennsylvania System.’  In the aftermath of World War I, Hine turned his camera on the American worker, producing what he called ‘photo interpretations’ of American labor. Portraying the individual in relation to industry occupied the remainder of his working life.  Using his straightforward social documentary style, Hine elevated the mechanic, the track walker, the riveter, the tire makers, not only for the public, but also for the workers themselves.  In his 1932 volume Men at Work: Photographic Studies of Modern Men and Machines, Hine characterized these legions of workers as ‘men of courage, skill, daring and imagination.’  ‘We call this the Machine Age,’ he continued, ‘but the more machines we use, the more do we need real men to make and direct them.’  When The Mentor magazine published another of Hine’s power plant mechanics in 1926, it warned, ‘Unless the bolts are tight, the machinery will not function; unless machinery functions, industry is paralyzed.  And upon what does the functioning of machinery depend in the last analysis? Upon “men with wrenches” . . .' Beaumont Newhall met Hine in 1938, when Hine brought a portfolio of his photographs to The Museum of Modern Art.  Newhall sensed that Hine’s work belonged to a new category.  ‘These photographs were taken primarily as records,’ Newhall wrote later in an article about Hine for the Magazine of Art.  ‘They are direct and simple.  The presence in them of an emotional quality raises them to works of art’ (November 1938, p. 636).

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-09-30
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'head of an italian girl' (tina modotti)

Platinum or palladium print, mounted along the top edge to tan stiff paper, signed, titled, and dated in pencil on the mount, 1921 The photograph offered here is among the earliest studies Edward Weston made of Tina Modotti, the woman whose face and figure would inspire some of Weston’s best work throughout the 1920s.  The photographer regarded the image as an important one at the time, including it in two early exhibitions: in Amsterdam in 1922, and at the Aztec Land Gallery in Mexico City in 1923.  The print offered here, originally sold in these rooms in 1993, is one of only three extant examples of this seminal picture of Modotti.    Head of an Italian Girl is from a series of studies and portraits of Modotti that Weston began in Los Angeles in 1921, soon after their love affair began, and would continue in Mexico.  At the time this photograph was taken, each was married to someone else: Weston to the former Flora Chandler, the mother of his four children, and Modotti to the poet and textile designer, Roubaix de l’Abrie Richey.  Born in Italy, Modotti was a recent arrival in Los Angeles, where she worked variously as an actress in silent films and as a seamstress and clothing designer.  In the early 1920s, Weston made his living as a portrait photographer in Glendale, while pursuing his own creative work. The two fell in love shortly after they met, and Weston began photographing Modotti immediately.  In April 1921, Weston wrote of Modotti to his friend, the photographer Johan Hagemeyer: ‘Life has been very full for me—perhaps too full for my good—I not only have done some of the best things yet—but have also had an exquisite affair . . . the pictures I believe to be especially good are of one Tina de Richey—a lovely Italian girl’ (The Archive, January 1986, Number 22, ‘The Letters from Tina Modotti to Edward Weston,’ p. 10) In the present image, the ecstatic expression on Modotti’s face provides some indication of the intensity of their new relationship. Amy Conger locates only two prints of this image, both in institutional collections: a palladium print originally owned by Johan Hagemeyer and now at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; and a platinum print at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-04-02
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'monolith, the face of half dome'

Mural-sized, signed with a stylus on the image, flush-mounted to Crescent illustration board, signed, titled, and dated in ink on the reverse, framed, 1927, probably printed in the 1960s This mural-sized print of Adams’s Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, is believed to be the largest version of the image to appear at auction.  Adams typically made limited numbers of his photographs in the mural format. Yet, while there are several extant mural-sized renderings of such signature images as Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, and Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, mural prints of his iconic Monolith are surprisingly rare on the market.  A large print of the image was notably absent from the two significant groups of Adams murals that have come to auction recently, Photographs from The Polaroid Collection (Sotheby’s New York, June 2010) and Photographs by Ansel Adams from a California Collection (Christie’s New York, April 2008).  In his Autobiography, Ansel Adams recalls in detail the circumstances leading up to making this photograph, and describes that event as a ‘personally historic moment in my career’ (p. 76).  In taking this image, Adams considered not only how best to capture his subject with his camera, but, for the first time, anticipated how he wanted the finished print to look.  This pre-visualization led him to select a red filter, which he knew would render the sky a deep black, and to adjust the exposure accordingly.  Adams wrote that, with Monolith, he ‘had been able to realize a desired image: not the way the subject looked in reality, but how it felt to me’ (ibid.).  In Monolith, Adams crystalized his conception of visualization: the process by which a photographer determines specifically how the different tonal values of a scene in nature will be rendered in black-and-white on photographic paper.  This would become fundamental to his approach to photography for the rest of his career, and was the basis for his teaching of the Zone System. Monolith, The Face of Half Dome, has proved to be one of the most durable images in Adams’s oeuvre.  After its debut in his 1927 Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras portfolio, Adams revisited the image throughout his career, and printed it in a wide array of formats: from the select number of small-format prints made in the 1920s and 30s, to the medium-format print in his 1960 Portfolio III, to the mural-sized print in his 1963 exhibition, The Eloquent Light.  It is perhaps best-known today through the 20-by-16-inch format prints he made in his Carmel studio after 1960.  The rare mural-sized print offered here presents a dramatic interpretation of this important image, and demonstrates the endurance of Adams’s artistic vision and technical virtuosity.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-04-06
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Nuba Portfolio, 2002

Portfolio avec 30 tirages dye-transfer. Chaque tirage signé et titré au crayon dans la marge inférieure. Au verso, chaque tirage avec le tampon de la photographe, tampon copyright de la photographe, tampon de reproduction limitée et tampon 'This print is the number AP 4/4' annoté à l'encre bleue et numéroté en chiffres romains correspondant à la liste des titres. Avec deux suppléments de texte de 8 pages, un en allemand et un en anglais, avec page de titre, avec un texte de Michael Krüger, la liste des titres, l'achevé d'imprimer en date de 2002 et le justificatif du tirage limité à 7, celui-ci numéroté AP 4/4  à l'encre bleue. Dans les deux coffrets d'origine et deux étuis feutrinés. Edité par Fine Art Photography, Berlin 2002. Veuillez noter que ce portfolio est à l’origine conçu en quinze exemplaires. Seulement sept ensembles ont été gardés intacts et vendus complets. Au milieu des années 1950, Leni Riefenstahl est fascinée par The Green Hills of Africa de Hemingway et décide de s’envoler pour l’Afrique de l’Est où elle souhaite entreprendre un projet de film. Après avoir rencontré des difficultés pour trouver la tribu africaine qui satisfait son image de l’Afrique ancienne, elle découvre, par hasard, l’œuvre du photographe George Rodger « A Nuba of Kordofan ». Intriguée par cette image, elle décide de se concentrer sur la tribu des Nubas et part à sa recherche pour produire un recueil pictural et factuel qui rende hommage à la grandeur et la beauté de ce peuple. Au début des années 1960, elle retourne en Afrique chez les Mesakin et Korongo Nuba, où elle retournera à plusieurs reprises tout au long de la décennie. Riefenstahl s'emploie à capturer la beauté physique du peuple Nuba, avec ses rites, ses coutumes, ses fêtes et ses sacrifices. "Somewhere, in a remote corner of the globe, the simple and natural mysteries of birth, work and parting are preserved. (…) Leni Riefenstahl’s photos show people not yet consumed by attitude, because they only know – and are entirely at peace with – themselves.” (Michael Krüger)

  • FRAFrance
  • 2012-11-16
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Study of a nude

Platinum print, signed by the photographer in pencil on the image, tipped to a buff-colored mount, initialed and dated by the photographer in pencil on the mount, with notations in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse, 1922 This startling nude by Edward Weston is unique within the photographer’s oeuvre.   Immediate, unsentimental, and radically posed, it would appear to have no direct correlation to the nude studies Weston made in the years before or after.  While other Weston nudes from this period hint at the modernist direction he would soon wholeheartedly pursue, none break so completely as this from his earlier Pictorial work.    In its frank physicality, the study offered here represents something wholly new in the photographer’s approach to the female form. This photograph is not reproduced in the Weston literature, nor has another print of the image been located as of this writing.  Aside from this print’s initial appearance at auction in 1984, no print of the image has been offered at auction until the present time.   The photograph offered here may well be one of the few prints, or possibly the only print, of this image extant. This photograph is dated 1922, an important year for Weston and the evolution of his photographic vision.  It was in this year that Weston made the two nude studies of an unknown sitter, ‘Refracted Sunlight on Torso’ and ‘Breast (with window)’ (Conger 81 and 82), that are regarded as a departure from his earlier Pictorialist mode.  Although it is not known if the image offered here was made prior to, or after, these two studies in 1922, the photograph shows an even more advanced Modernist aesthetic.  The image’s sharply delineated detail, with its almost solarized outlines, is a decisive step away from the softer focus characteristic of Weston’s other photographs at this time.  Weston’s decision, in the present image, to concentrate solely on the hands and breasts of his subject – to the exclusion of all other contextual information – is unprecedented in his work up to this point.  Further, Weston has cropped the print dramatically from its contact-printed 8-by-10-inch format, to strengthen the composition.  The resulting image, lushly printed in warm-toned platinum, is one of undeniable impact. This photograph was originally in the collection of photographer, educator, curator, and author Van Deren Coke (1921 – 2004).  It is unknown when or where Coke acquired it, although it is possible that he purchased it from Los Angeles bookseller Jacob Zeitlin.  Zeitlin was a friend of Weston, and had exhibited Weston’s photographs during the photographer’s lifetime; he continued to sell photographs by Weston after the photographer’s death. According to the notations on the reverse of the present print, Van Deren Coke believed that the subject was Miriam Lerner, who met Weston in Los Angeles in the early 1920s and became one of his many lovers.  If Coke’s source for the photograph was Zeitlin, then it should be noted that Zeitlin also sold a small group of Lerner’s personal papers and photographs to the Bancroft Library at Berkeley.  It is impossible to identify the model conclusively, however.  Miriam Lerner was, indeed, an important model for Weston, and he produced a series of nudes of her in 1925 (cf. Conger 168 and 169).  Although Weston met Lerner in 1921, there is no record of his having photographed her before 1925.  In the photographer’s negative log, now in the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, he does not identify her as a sitter before 1925.   Further, in January 1925, just after the two had begun their affair, Weston wrote Lerner a letter which suggests that he had not, up to that point, photographed her: ‘So hail to you lovely Miriam!  For you have given me a new beauty to dream upon – I eagerly await the hour when I shall attempt to catch concretely this very loveliness of face and form and attitude long felt by me in you’ (Letter, 16 January 1925, from Edward Weston to Miriam Lerner, BANC MSS 67/143 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley). There is also a strong possibility that the model of the present photograph is Tina Modotti, given her importance in Weston’s life, as a model and a lover, in the early 1920s.  Two of Weston’s studies of Modotti, both made in 1924 – two years after the image offered here – present some interesting similarities: the well-known Hands Against Kimono (Conger 117) and another image, made during the ‘kimono’ session, in which Modotti holds her hands just below her breasts (Edward Weston: La Mirada de la Ruptura, cover and catálogo 23).  Another candidate for the subject of this photograph is the unknown woman who appears in the aforementioned nude studies in 1922 (Conger 81 and 82).  It is believed, however, that Weston made only two negatives of this sitter.

  • USAUSA
  • 2006-10-17
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'a jewish giant at home with his parents in the bronx, n. y.'

Signed, dated, and numbered by the photographer's daughter, Doon Arbus, in ink, and with the 'A Diane Arbus print, Doon Arbus administrator,' and Arbus Estate copyright and reproduction rights stamps on the reverse, matted, framed, 1970; accompanied by a typed letter of authentication signed by Doon Arbus, 1983 By the time Arbus made A Jewish Giant at Home with his Parents in the Bronx, N. Y., she had known its subject, Eddie Carmel, for a number of years.  Carmel (1935 – 1972) was somewhat of a celebrity, having appeared in B-movies, such as The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (1962) and 50,000 B.C. (Before Clothes) (1963), and having recorded two 45rpm singles: The Happy Giant and The Good Monster.  He worked for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1961 to 1968, where he was billed as The Tallest Man on Earth and The World’s Greatest Giant.  Carmel’s abnormal height was caused by a glandular disorder which began affecting his growth in his teens.  By 1970, the condition had caused the curvature in his spine that is visible in Arbus’s photograph.  While Arbus was initially drawn to Carmel by his abnormality, her photograph moves past this fact to focus on his humanity, and the difficult reality of his situation.  The image embodies two of Arbus’s most potent themes: aberrance, and the family. When selecting images for her only portfolio, A Box of Ten Photographs, Arbus chose Jewish Giant to be included with nine other photographs which she felt served as a statement of her achievement in photography.  Also during Arbus’s lifetime, the image was chosen by Philip Leider, editor of Artforum, as one of five Arbus photographs reproduced in that magazine’s May 1971 issue.  With its insertion of an extraordinary person – Eddie Carmel, the jewish giant – into the drab interior of a Bronx living room, this image illustrates Arbus’s unique talent for creating meaningful photographs with unlikely elements.

  • USAUSA
  • 2005-10-11
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'yosemite falls, view from the bottom yosemite'

Mammoth-plate albumen print, mounted, the photographer’s letterpress label, with the title, series number 838, series title, and the photographer’s ‘San Francisco’ studio address, affixed to the mount, the collector’s stamp on the reverse, matted, framed, the Monterey Museum of Art exhibition label on the reverse, 1878-81 The Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, when measured together with the cascades between them, form one of the highest waterfalls in the world: the drop is nearly 2,500 feet from the Yosemite Creek above to the Merced River below.  In the present view, taken from near the bottom of Lower Yosemite Fall, the waterfall appears to form an almost continuous line from the high cliffs to the Valley.  In reality, the Upper Fall is far taller and far more distant than the photograph indicates: the Falls’ relative proportion to one another, as well as the vast diagonal distance between the top of the Upper Fall and the top of the Lower Fall, can be seen in Lot 49. On his first trip to Yosemite in 1861, Watkins made picturesque, mammoth-plate views of the Falls from a distant viewpoint, sometimes looking across the Merced River, at other times from the wooded Valley floor.  In the mid-1860s, however, Watkins’s mammoth-plates of waterfalls began to change.  In his 1867 view of the Multnomah Falls, from the Columbia River series, Watkins attempts to capture the full expanse of the drop, filling the frame with a ribbon of water from top to bottom.  In the ‘New Series’ view of the Yosemite Falls offered here, his viewpoint has become even more dramatic: with only a thin wedge of sky at the top to locate the viewer in space, the water rushes forward with cinematic effect. For 1861 Watkins views of the Yosemite Falls, see Nickel, op. cit., pl. 27, and Fraenkel, op. cit., pl. 45.  For the Watkins photograph of Multnomah Falls, see Friends of Photography, Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon (Carmel, 1979), pl. 50.

  • USAUSA
  • 2004-04-28
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'291 -- braque--picasso exhibition'

Platinum print, matted, in a modern white metal frame, 1915 This quintessential image of Stieglitz’s pioneering 291 gallery documents the photographer’s dedication to exhibiting challenging new art, as well as his commitment to the straightforward, wholly photographic, approach that characterized his mature work.  As with the photographs he made of city views outside his gallery’s windows, this rigorously-composed photograph transcends its role as a document.  With its unadorned depiction of the gallery, and the creative presentation of art and other objects, the photograph illustrates Stieglitz’s dual talents as a gallerist and photographer. Sarah Greenough identifies the two Picasso works on view in this photograph as Still Life: Bottle and Glass on Table (1912), and Violin (circa 1912).  The African piece is a Kota reliquary figure, and the large brass bowl was a constant fixture at the gallery and was frequently filled with floral displays (cf. Greenough 393).   Edward Steichen, the conduit for a good deal of the European art exhibited at 291, writes in his autobiography, A Life in Photography, that he was responsible for the design of the installation pictured here:             ‘We had a few drawings by Braque and Picasso, and I determined that they would be fine material for the next exhibition.  I bought some bolts of cheesecloth, the cheapest I could find, and we covered the dust-darkened walls with it.  A lad by the name of [Emil] Zoler, who had become a sort of shadow to Stieglitz, helped me pin up the cheesecloth.  I took down the denim curtains hiding our storage shelves and sent them out to be dyed black.  Then I hung the few Braques and Picassos on the walls and several of the more or less related African sculptures with them.  The place looked clean, fresh, and alive again, but I felt something was missing. The exhibition needed a real object, a stone or a piece of wood or something.  When I mentioned this, Zoler said he had a big wasp’s nest in fine condition.  A wasp’s nest was perfect, especially in relationship to the Cubism we had on the wall, and it was brought in’ (A Life in Photography, Chapter 5, unpaginated). The photograph offered here came originally from the collection of Paul Burty Haviland.  Born in France to a wealthy family of porcelain manufacturers, Haviland was educated in Paris and at Harvard.  In January 1908, he visited the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, later known simply as 291, to see the landmark exhibition of Rodin drawings.  Haviland purchased a number of these, and soon became both a regular visitor and an important supporter of Stieglitz and his gallery.  Haviland’s financial support was crucial to sustaining 291 and Camera Work (of which he was an editor, as well as a contributing photographer), and later the avant-garde publication 291.  Stieglitz counted upon him as a close friend and advisor.  As such, it is fitting that Haviland should own a print of this definitive image of 291.  Stieglitz authority Doris Bry points out that, given Haviland’s importance to Stieglitz, the photographer would have made sure that Haviland got the best possible print of this image.  The photograph offered here is one of a group of Photo-Secessionist and Haviland photographs handled by Harry H. Lunn, Jr., in 1977, that came directly from the Haviland family (cf. Lunn Gallery, Graphics International, Photo-Secession, Catalogue 6, Washington, D. C., 1977). In Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs, Greenough locates 5 other prints of this image: at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Philadelphia Museum of Art; and in a private collection.  While Greenough refers to the Gilman Paper Company's print, offered here, as a gelatin silver print, recent examination has determined that this is a platinum print. It is believed that only three other Stieglitz photographs of this installation have appeared at auction.  All, like the print presented to Haviland, were given by Stieglitz to people who had a special involvement in his endeavors at this time.  One, a variant of the image offered here, came from the collection of Emil Zoler, Stieglitz’s assistant, who provided the wasp nest for the installation (Sotheby’s New York, 18 April 1997, Sale 6973, Lot 86).  Another was sold at Christie’s New York (8 October 1993, Sale 7734, Lot 81), from the collection of Stieglitz patron Aline Meyer Liebman.  The third print was offered, unillustrated in the catalogue, at Swann Galleries on 6 November 1980 (Sale 1199, Lot 395), and was inscribed by Stieglitz to ‘Marie,’ presumably Marie Rapp, his secretary at 291.

  • USAUSA
  • 2006-02-15
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Hands against kimono (tina modotti)

Platinum or palladium print, signed, dated, and inscribed 'Mexico, D. 7.' by the photographer and with 'Hands, Manos con Kimono, Col., Carlos Vidali, Mexico, D. F.' in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse, matted, Weston Gallery and Southland Corporation labels on the reverse, 1923 This study of Tina Modotti’s hands against a Japanese kimono was taken by Weston in Mexico, one of several photographs in which the bold pattern of the kimono becomes a lively part of the composition.   Conger notes that the kimono had been part of Modotti’s wardrobe since her Hollywood years; W. F. Seely made a studio portrait of her, wrapped in the kimono and posed in front of an Oriental screen, in 1921.   In the Weston photograph offered here, the designs that swirl across the fabric form a striking counterpoint to Modotti’s folded hands.  Weston would go on to photograph Modotti in and out of the kimono during their time in Mexico, the bright, patterned fabric always recognizable. The present image was chosen by Weston for three of his most important exhibitions: the Aztec Land Gallery show in Mexico City, 1924; his Los Angeles County Museum of Art show, 1927; and his retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, 1946.   The print offered here comes originally from the collection of Vittorio Vidali, Modotti’s lover in Mexico in the last years of her life.   Believed to be one of only two platinum prints extant, the present print is signed, dated, and inscribed ‘Mexico, D. F.,’ by Weston on the reverse.  Conger locates two prints of the image in institutions: a silver print in the collection of the George Eastman House and a Project Print at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  The second platinum print is in a private collection. In his ‘Dating Edward Weston’s Tina on the Azotea,’ Thomas Knight proposes that the Modotti kimono studies, if taken together, show Weston’s evolution from Pictorialism to modernism. The series begins with the present image, a rich, matte-surface print with hints of Japonisme; then moves to photographs of Modotti only partially robed in the kimono; then to a study of her from the back, nude on the azotea in the brilliant Mexican sun, the kimono tossed to one side; and finally, to Modotti fully and frontally nude, stretched out on a blanket, the kimono gone (History of Photography, Vol. 20, No. 4, Winter 1996).

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-12
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'the grand tetons and snake river, grand tetons national park, wyoming'

Mural-sized, mounted, signed by the photographer in pencil on the mount, his Carmel studio stamp (BMFA 11), titled and dated in an unidentified hand in ink, on the reverse, matted, framed, a Weston Gallery label on the reverse, 1942, printed circa 1955 The mural-sized print of The Grand Tetons and Snake River offered here is believed to be the largest print of the image ever to appear at auction.  According to the Weston Gallery, who acquired the photograph directly from Ansel Adams, the print is an early one, made by Adams in the 1950s. It was mounted and signed by Adams in 1983, when the photograph was sold to The Southland Corporation. Margaret Weston of the Weston Gallery, Carmel, California, was a close friend of Ansel Adams and a key representative of his work, both during the photographer’s lifetime and after.   Their warm friendship and collaboration over the years provided the fine art photographs market with some of its most memorable moments.  In 1975, it was with Adams’s encouragement that Maggi Weston opened her Carmel gallery, one of the first photographs galleries on the West Coast.  It was around this time that Adams decided to stop taking print orders, but, convinced of the potential for fine art photography, Weston mortgaged her house to place one last, large print order with him, a move that helped to expand and insure the already-growing market for Adams’s work.   In 1979, it was Margaret Weston and fellow dealer Harry Lunn who persuaded Adams to undertake the legendary Museum Set project, whereby sets of Adams’s photographs would be assured a place in museum collections.  As Weston wrote of Adams in the catalogue for a museum exhibition of her own early Adams prints, ‘To simply say he was a dear, close friend, a man whom I admired and whose wisdom I loved and trusted does not begin to do justice to Ansel Adams’s meaning in my life’ (From the Private Collection of Margaret Weston: Ansel Adams, Carmel, Center for Photographic Art, 1995).  For his part, Adams wrote in his Autobiography, ‘The sincere and successful dealer can be a boon to the creative artist in any medium. . . I have been very fortunate; over the past few years my primary dealer has been Maggi Weston’ (p. 362).

  • USAUSA
  • 2006-04-22
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Georgia O'Keeffe

Palladium or platinum-palladium print, tipped at the upper edge to the original paper mat, annotated 'Mrs. R. R. Young' by the photographer in pencil on the reverse, 1918; accompanied by the original black wood frame and backing with 'Geo. F. Of., Inc.' label (3) Stieglitz’s earliest photographs of O’Keeffe from 1917 and 1918 demonstrate his fascination with her work, body, and soul.  The penetrating portrait offered here is one of several in which O’Keeffe poses in front of her drawing No. 15 Special (cf. Greenough 471-82, 494-98), a charcoal inspired by her visits to Palo Duro Canyon, Texas.  Now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, No. 15 Special is currently on loan to the O’Keeffe retrospective at the Tate Modern, London.  Stieglitz included this portrait in his 1921 retrospective at the Anderson Galleries, an historic show that was seen by thousands of visitors in New York and featured some 40 photographs of O’Keeffe.   While Stieglitz and O’Keeffe first met in 1915, it was not until the following year that Stieglitz became acquainted with her work and the two began an intensive and intimate correspondence.  Stieglitz’s increasing desire for O’Keeffe did not blind him to the importance of her art.  In April 1917, Stieglitz gave O’Keeffe her first solo exhibition and No. 15 Special was among the 23 works shown.  At the time of the opening, Stieglitz wrote to O’Keeffe, ‘I’m glad that your work is at 291 – when I’m with it it seems to prop me up – makes me forget so much that is hideous – and a deep reverence for something very wonderful invariably over comes me –‘ (10 April 1917, quoted in Greenough’s My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, pp. 133-4). The photograph offered here was originally in the collection of Anita O’Keeffe Young, O'Keeffe's sister and the well-known socialite and wife of railroad magnate Robert R. Young.  An enthusiastic collector of her sister’s art, Anita also acquired a few of Stieglitz's most poignant portraits of O'Keeffe and likely received the present photograph in the late 1920s.  Notations in Stieglitz’s hand on the reverse of the mat list the address of ‘Mrs. R. R. Young’ as ‘601 W 113 St,’ where the Young family resided at the time of the 1930 United States Federal Census.  The New York Social Register locates Anita and Robert shortly thereafter at 720 Park Avenue. The present photograph is further distinguished by its accompanying original frame, created by Stieglitz’s favored framemaker, George F. Of, whose label (inscribed ‘Young’ in pencil) is affixed to the frame’s paper-backing.  George Of worked with Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, and other artists in the Stieglitz circle from the 1910s through the 1940s. In Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set, Sarah Greenough locates at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., a palladium print and a gelatin silver print made from this negative (Greenough 472 and 473).  Greenough locates only two other prints of this image, both gelatin silver prints, in institutional collections: one at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the other at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  The present photograph is the only known print of the image in private hands.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2016-10-07
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Rayograph

Photogram, a unique object, signed and dated in pencil on the image, annotated 'Original Rayograph' and numbered '32' in pencil and with the photographer's '31 bis, Rue Campagne Première' studio and copyright stamps (Manford M6 and M14) on the reverse, 1924 This early Rayograph was made in 1924, just two years after Man Ray first began creating photograms.  Composed in his darkroom, without the use of a camera, Man Ray’s deliberate placement of a ball bearing, match, and feather element—which would have been placed on, or held just above, the photographic paper during exposure—has resulted here in a supremely graphic composition.  The most prominent element in this Rayograph is the glowing circular form of a metal ball bearing.  The sturdiness of this industrial object – with its uniform repetition and clean curves of the inner and outer bearing race – is juxtaposed with the ethereal quality of the wispy feather placed just below.  While seemingly an unconventional prop selected at random, the ball bearing is an object that appears in several of Man Ray’s photographs.  At least two other Rayographs display its distinctive circular outline.  The first, a Rayograph dated ‘1923,’ featuring a feather, ball bearing, egg, spring, and matches and matchbox, is now in the collection of the Yale University Art Gallery (L’Ecotais 90).  The second, a similar composition from 1924, with ball bearing, matches, and another unidentified object, is in the collection of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (L’Ecotais 105). From the beginning, Man Ray’s photograms were celebrated by many of his fellow artists.  His Rayographs appealed to Dadaists, who loved the quality of chance involved in their production, and to Surrealists, who found them equally compelling for their enigmatic dreamlike quality. The allure and ingenuity of Man Ray’s photograms, however, was appreciated well beyond the art world.  In an article entitled Some Photographs Made Without a Camera: Man Ray’s Masterpieces in Velvet Black and Grey in the Early March 1925 issue of Vogue, several Rayographs were illustrated, including the example now in the Glyptotek collection. The Rayograph offered here remained in Man Ray’s collection until at least 1962, when it was included in his highly important photographs retrospective at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.  This exhibition featured a significant survey of Man Ray’s Rayographs (exhibition catalogue, checklist 5-9), which were drawn from the artist’s own collection. Sotheby’s thanks Man Ray research scholar Steven Manford for his assistance in researching this photograph.  The present photograph will be included in his forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of Man Ray Rayographs.

  • USAUSA
  • 2016-04-03
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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Photography

This category includes all manner of photographs and prints, from early photographs and historical images to iconic shoots, portraits, and contemporary photographic art. The lots here span the development of both photographic technology, and of photography as an art form, from their invention to the present day.