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'shadows, twin lakes, connecticut, 1916'

On Satista paper, matted, framed, a Weston Gallery label and the Paul Strand, Circa 1916 exhibition label on the reverse, matted, framed, 1916 The print offered here is unique.  It was one of four different porch shadow studies included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s definitive exhibition, Paul Strand, Circa 1916 (catalogue numbers 27-30).  All four images are printed on Satista paper and in the same size format.  Two of these four related images are in museum collections: the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago – it is this latter image that was reproduced in Camera Work No. 49/50 as a photogravure.  The third print is in a private collection. Paul Strand first visited Alfred Stieglitz’s pioneering ‘291’ gallery in 1907.  Under Stieglitz’s tutelage, Strand was exposed to the most advanced photographers of the day and, perhaps more importantly, to the groundbreaking new artwork by Picasso, Braque, Cézanne, and Picabia.  Strand absorbed what he saw, and began to apply some of the principles of this new art into his own photographic work.  In the summer of 1916, working on the porch of the cottage where his family summered each year, Strand made a series of wholly new photographic studies, Shadows, Twin Lakes, Connecticut, among them. Strand said of these images that he set out to ‘find out what this abstract idea was all about and to discover the principles behind it.  I did those photographs as part of that inquiry, the inquiry of a person into the meaning of this new development in painting.  I did not have any idea of imitating painting or competing with it but was trying to find out what its value might be to someone who wanted to photograph the real world’ (quoted in William I. Homer, Alfred Stieglitz and the American Avant-Garde, p. 246). With this series of photographs, Strand pushed the medium beyond the limitations of Pictorialism, which sought so frequently to imitate both the themes and appearance of an older generation of painting.  Rather than imitating, Strand was instead learning from the new art and incorporating some of its ideas into his work, creating images that were, in their execution and appearance, intrinsically photographic.

  • USAUSA
  • 2005-10-10
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'New Orleans' (Trolley)

Oversized, titled and dated '1956' and signed and dated '1977' in ink in the margin, annotation in pencil on the reverse, framed, a Bloom Collection label on the reverse, 1955, printed in the late 1960s or early 1970s New Orleans (Trolley) is perhaps the most indelible photograph from The Americans.  It was chosen as the cover image for the first American edition of the book, and has thus become the representative icon for the whole series.  As a commentary on race relations in 1950s America, it stands as one of the most culturally resonant photographs in Frank’s oeuvre.  In terms of Frank’s masterful composition, it is perhaps his most aesthetically accomplished work.  The large-format print offered here is a dramatic and nuanced rendering which allows for a more complete engagement with the photograph than smaller prints of the image.   Like The Americans itself, New Orleans (Trolley) is comprised of a sequence of individual pictures.  The separation between the white and African-American passengers, who are framed within the trolley’s windows, is a clear representation of segregation.  In one window, a white woman seems to cast a disapproving eye upon the photographer.  In the next are two well-dressed children, both wary and fretful.  But it is the figure in the fourth window – an African-American man who looks out beseechingly from his frame – that gives the image its dramatic charge.  All are caught by Frank’s camera in an enigmatic narrative of separation and alienation. The photograph is a sophisticated combination of elements.  Above the passengers are the trolley’s upper windows, whose reflections appear as semi-abstract shapes and forms.  Below are the riveted metal sections of the trolley’s side.  The overall effect of the repeating rectilinear shapes is like a contact sheet or a strip of motion picture film.  Not long after The Americans was published, Frank would redirect his creative energies toward filmmaking, occasionally making compositions of enlarged filmstrips and contact sheets.  In the 1970s he once again began to make photographs in earnest. His work since then has consisted almost exclusively of combinations of separate photographs which function much like the vignettes in the windows of New Orleans (Trolley). “It was the vision that emanated from the book that lead not only me, but my whole generation of photographers out into the American landscape" Joel Meyerowitz

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-12-17
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'Hoboken' (Parade)

Oversized, signed, titled, and dated '1955' in ink in the margin, numerical notations in pencil on the reverse, framed, Bloom Collection and Pace Wildenstein MacGill labels on the reverse, 1955, printed later Hoboken (Parade), like Political Rally – Chicago (Lot 11), portrays human figures obscured by the American flag in a way that is simultaneously abstract, documentary, and conceptual.  When Frank’s photographs were first included in standard histories of art, beginning in the late 1980s, it is not surprising that these two images, which might be described as proto-Pop, were the ones selected for illustration. They have a bold, graphic quality that has been described as ‘cartoon-like.’ Yet, the grit and grain of a dingy brick building in the present image anchors it in the reality of the day it was made—the celebration of the city of Hoboken’s centennial in March 1955.  Frank structured The Americans in four parts, each beginning with the symbolically-charged American flag.  Hoboken (Parade) is the first photograph in the book and, as such, becomes emblematic of the whole.  The flag, constrained within the rectangle of Frank’s frame, becomes part of the tapestry of a dark urban landscape, and conveys a wholly different meaning from such images as Joe Rosenthal’s triumphant Flag Raising at Iwo Jima made ten years earlier.  With each repetition of the flag in the book—semi-transparent, hanging vertically, and torn and patched, in Jay, NY (Fourth of July) (Lot 4), or rendered as an illuminated plastic sign on a barroom wall in Detroit (Bar) (Lot 37)—Frank adds new shades of meaning that reflect the America of the 1950s. "This is a picture of two people who were standing behind one of the flags… They’re sort of hiding. . . [it is] a threatening picture" Robert Frank

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-12-17
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'foreign water' (motorcyclist, budapest)

Ferrotyped, mounted, title in ink on the mount, inscribed 'Martin Munkacsi Photograph' by the photographer's wife in ink and with Metropolitan Museum of Art collection and 'de-accessioned' stamps on the reverse, circa 1923, printed in the 1940s An avid contributor to the European illustrated press of his day, Munkácsi’s personal style incorporated a radical approach that was at odds with conventional notions of photojournalism.  This image—which is here called Foreign Water, but was also reproduced with the titles 'Motorcyclist, Budapest,' and 'Getting Into Spring'—captures a motorcyclist as he plunges through a puddle.  In its embrace of chance, and evocation of the wet and rutted roads of springtime, this photograph balances the documentary with the experimental.  A motorcyclist and an all-around sportsman, the young Munkácsi was an enthusiastic sports photographer.  By the early 1920s, his work appeared regularly in the Hungarian newspapers Az Est and Pesti Napló, and later in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung.   Munkácsi traveled widely for BIZ and filed his action-packed photographs from four continents. Fellow Hungarian photographer, Gábor Dezso Hackett, described Munkácsi’s immersive approach to his craft: ‘I saw him kneeling in the water of a moat at a steeplechase, “shooting” horses as they jumped the obstacles, saw him tie himself outside the rear seat of a racing car and shoot alongside using a 5 x 7 inch “miniature” camera. “Crazy Angle” Munkácsi, that’s what they called him; at other times he was “Dripping” Munkácsi, because he was always running into the editor's office waving the hardly washed, still dripping wet first print’ (‘Martin Munkácsi,’ Infinity, September 1963, Vol. 12).

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-12
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Fotogramm

The photographer's 'berlin-chbg. 9, fredericiastr. 27 atelier' studio and 'foto moholy-nagy' credit stamps, the latter annotated 'gramm' by the photographer in pencil, and with 'photogram 1' in pencil and the number '470' [circled] in red crayon on the reverse, 1925-28, printed circa 1929 Moholy made the present large-format print after an original photogram around 1929, as part of a project to create a portfolio of his photograms.  This set, now known as the Giedion portfolio, consisted of 10 enlargements of Moholy photograms and was to be published in an edition of 20.  It is doubtful that the entire edition was completed, as only a small number of the individual prints are extant.  The only full set of the 10 images from this portfolio is at the Kupferstichkabinett of the Kunstmuseum Basel.   In Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms: Catalogue Raisonné, Renate Heyne locates six other prints of the present image.  The location of the original unique photogram, upon which the image is based, is unknown.  Moholy included this enlarged photogram image in his 1935 one-man exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Brno, in which he showed a number of other enlarged photographic works.  An installation view of the exhibition shows this image, in this format, hanging just to the right of an enlargement of his fotoplastik, Jealousy (Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms: Catalogue Raisonné, pp. 220-21).  The Brno retrospective was essentially identical to the selection of works Moholy showed in the seminal Film und Foto exhibition in Stuttgart in 1927, and it can be assumed that this image was included there, as well. This principal shape in this photogram is the kinderrassel, or child’s rattle, with its circular head and flanged handle.  The rattle appears in at least two other Moholy photograms, including FGM 422, a photogram on printing-out paper sold in these rooms on 13 April 2010 (Sale 8624, Lot 143), and FGM 246.  The triangular shape in the photogram is possibly a drafter’s triangle or a designer’s tool.  One of its edges must have been resting directly upon the surface of the original photographic paper, for it has blocked the light nearly completely and has left its impression as a bright straight line.  The diagonality of its placement within the composition relates to work Moholy himself was producing at the time in painting and other media, as well as to that of the Constructivists. Moholy understood photography not only as a tool for making art, but for extending its reach.  Whether he was working with collage, as in the fotoplastiks, with camera images, or photograms, he intended them to function not only as artworks in themselves, but also in reproduction.  He designed his images to retain all of their dynamic power whether one was viewing the original object, a reproduction of it in a book or magazine, or as an enlargement on the wall of an exhibition.  The strength of his aesthetic persists across the range of formats and media.

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-10-02
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'a family on their lawn one sunday in westchester, n. y.'

Signed, titled, and dated by the photographer in pencil and inscribed 'Dear Dr. Klein, Thanks for that good and generous phone conversation,' initialed, and the title annotated 'one Sunday' by her in ink on the reverse, matted, 1968 The present photograph was a gift from Arbus to a psychotherapist, the ‘Dr. Klein’ of Arbus’s inscription, who had spoken with her by telephone in the later 1960s.  Dr. Klein has described his encounter with Arbus as follows: ‘Among my patients there was a young man who was not a professional photographer, but someone who had a strong interest in photography.  He told me about Diane Arbus, who was a friend of his.  He described her photography and would talk about evenings spent at her place, with Arbus and her then-young daughter.  He repeatedly expressed concern about the severity of her depression and talked to her about having a consultation with me.  She was interested in what he told her about his own work with me, but very resistant to actually arranging to see me. ‘One evening—I believe it was in 1968 or 1969--I received a call from her in the evening, at my home.  We spent about an hour talking.  We discussed her recurring depression, and about my conviction that getting at the historical roots of such moods can make for real change.  I suggested that she could come for a consultation and see how she felt about the work.  I also told her that I could refer her to a colleague if she preferred. She was quite engaged in the conversation, but clearly reluctant to make a move.  About two weeks after our phone call, I received the photograph in the mail. ‘I never spoke with her again.  I learned of her suicide about a year, or a year and a half, later.’ Dr. Klein’s approximation of the year of his telephone conversation with Arbus coincides with her initial visits to another psychotherapist, Dr. Helen Boigon, who, like Dr. Klein, had been recommended to Arbus by a friend (cf. Revelations, p. 207 and p. 341, n. 445).  Arbus began seeing Dr. Boigon in September 1969 and continued with Boigon until her (Arbus’s) death in 1971.  As with Dr. Klein, Arbus presented Boigon with one of her photographs, in Boigon’s case a print of Identical Twins, Roselle, N. J.   That print was sold in these rooms in April 1998 (Sale 7112, Lot 437A). The image offered here was first published in November 1968, in a special issue of the London Sunday Times Magazine devoted to the subject of the family. The photograph appeared on a double-page spread in the magazine, under the heading ‘Two American Families’; the facing image was Arbus’s ‘A Young Brooklyn Family Going for a Sunday Outing, N. Y. C.’  The caption in the magazine, as follows, was taken from Arbus’s own description of the picture: ‘Nat and June Tarnapol . . . with Paul, aged four, one of their three children, in the garden of their home at Westchester, Connecticut.  They are an upper middle class family, Mr. Tarnapol being a successful agent and publisher in the pop music business.  I think it’s such an odd photograph, nearly like Pinter, but not quite. . . the parents seem to be dreaming the child and the child seems to be inventing them’ (quoted in Magazine Work, p. 106).

  • USAUSA
  • 2004-10-16
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'shells'

Mounted to buff-colored card, signed, dated, initialed, and numbered '18/50' by the photographer in pencil on the mount, titled and dated by him in pencil on the reverse, 1927, no. 18 in a projected edition of 50 This print of Shells (7S) was originally acquired from the photographer by William Holgers, a building contractor and amateur photographer who met Weston through their mutual friend, the photographer Willard Van Dyke.  Bruce Holgers, William’s son, recounts, ‘William Holgers was an amateur photographer in the San Francisco Bay area, involved in the thriving Camera Club scene of the 1940s and the pre-f.64 salon exhibitions at the de Young Museum.  He participated in the 1940 U.S. Camera Yosemite workshops conducted by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, and he remained a friend of Adams, Weston, and other photographers such as Imogen Cunningham throughout his life. ‘Holgers’s collection of photographs, including home movie footage and memorabilia, all documenting the work and social lives of these photographers, began with gifts from Edward Weston, in appreciation for work on Weston’s house and garage on Wildcat Hill.  The collection grew with the gift of a photograph to celebrate Bill’s marriage to Zelda in 1942, and purchases at the modest prices of the day.  Other acquisitions, such as photographs and books by Brett Weston, came as the Holgers and Weston families stayed in touch through the years.’ Sotheby’s New York offered a selection of photographs by Edward and Brett Weston, as well as books by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, from the collection of Zelda and the late William Holgers on 17 April 2002 (Sale 7777, Lots 121 – 125).  William Holgers is the photographer of the dual portrait of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson that is reproduced on the cover of Wilson's memoir, Through Another Lens: My Years with Edward Weston.  A variant of this photograph by Holgers is illustrated in Conger (p. 30).

  • USAUSA
  • 2004-04-28
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‘lusetti family, luzzara, italy’

Flush-mounted, signed, titled, dated, and inscribed ‘To Franca and Paolo Gasparini, with every wish for their happiness, Orgeval, 1957’ in ink on the reverse, framed, 1953, printed no later than 1957 'Lusetti Family, Luzzara, Italy’ is the signature image from Strand's photographic portrait of the village of Luzzara, in the Po region of Italy.  Disillusioned by McCarthyism, Strand moved to Europe in the early 1950s, in search of new subjects for his work.  In Italy, he settled on one village, Luzzara, suggested by the cinematographer Cesare Zavattini, who had been born there.   Accompanied by Zavattini's text, Strand's photographs were published in 1955 in the volume Un Paese (Turin: Giulio Einaudi), with the ‘Lusetti Family’ on the volume’s dust jacket. Strand's cultural portrait of Luzzara is imbued with the aftermath of war. Anna, the matriarch of the present image, married at age 18 and gave birth to 15 children.  She had seen her husband beaten for political reasons, and after his premature death in 1933, she was left to raise the family on her own.  All but the youngest of her sons had fought in World War II, on two continents; all endured deprivation and hardship.  When the present image was made, the family was eking out a living as sharecroppers on someone else's land. The themes of human suffering and resilience, so much a part of Strand's cultural studies, is exemplified by the words of Anna Lusetti that formed part of Un Paese’s text for the present image: 'Remo was watching when they beat his father in Via Catania in Campagnola.  A car stopped and there were five or six people, it was around five in the evening.  Nino says he has never understood why they fought the war.  Nino was a prisoner in Africa, where he ended up with his brother Valentino, who was also a prisoner.  The first time Afro was on a train was when he went into the service in '43; then he ran away home.  Guerrino's health was affected by the blows he received in Germany.  Nando was also there, and in order to survive he even ate a rabbit skin.  He lives eight kilometers away because there isn't room for everyone in the farmhouse.  And it's a house where the rain comes in.’ 'In 1945 they asked me if I wanted revenge, but I didn't.' This rare, early print was given by Strand to the young Italian-born photographer, Paolo Gasparini, in 1957.  Gasparini (b. 1934) relocated to Venezuela as a young man and went on to create a body of work that, like Strand’s, incorporates photographic objectivity with unsentimental humanism.  He is celebrated for his immersive coverage of post-revolution Cuba, and his work in Panama, Peru, Mexico, and Venezuela.  He is widely published, and his work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The George Eastman House, the Bibliothèque Nationale, among other institutions. 

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-10-03
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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.

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