Richard Misrach - Photographs Evening & Day New York Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

  • Literature

    Misrach, On the Beach, pl. 35

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I’ve come to believe that beauty can be a very powerful conveyor of difficult ideas.”

    Richard Misrach

    The expansive images from Richard Misrach’s On the Beach can initially be read as beautiful and serene, but, influenced by the events of September 11th, the body of work is embedded with deep introspection on the state of humanity and its vulnerability. The series began in Hawaii in 2002 where, from the omniscient vantage point of his hotel balcony, he photographed the beach and sea below. In Untitled #114-03 (lot 29) and Untitled #451-03 (lot 24), both the sand and sea are void of human life and it is this absence, framed against the vastness of the landscape, that Misrach uses to emphasize the fragility of life. The impact of each photographs physical presence both measuring approximately four by ten feet, with crisp detail in every footprint and wave, resonates with the viewer standing before them, the reminder of the scope in which humanity lies in the midst of everything else. The masterful level of detail in these large scale works was obtained by his dedication to using an 8 x 10 inch view camera, allowing for the exquisite details to be captured in the large format negatives and then scanned digitally before finalizing each work.

    On the Beach, titled after the 1950s Nevil Shute novel and film about a Cold War, post-apocalyptic world also influenced Misrach’s artistic vision with how we confront and see humanity at its darkest moments. As Misrach surmised “Paradise has become an uneasy dwelling place; the sublime sea frames our vulnerability, the precious nature of life itself." Both images from this powerful body of work are sterling examples of Misrach's oeuvre, with his subject matter constantly exploring the interaction with people and nature, and in form, with his progressive techniques in large format color photography.

    The On the Beach series was exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago and The National Gallery of Art in 2007-2008.

    End of the Evening Sale

  • Artist Biography

    Richard Misrach

    American • 1949

    Known for his ethereal depictions of the American Southwest and stunning use of color, Richard Misrach photographs dramatic land and seascapes, and, more recently, produces breathtakingly complex abstractions. Misrach's work engages with traditional ideas of the sublime landscape, as their immense beauty engulfs both the subjects in his photographs as well as the viewer.

    On the Beach, one of Misrach's most famous series, features spectacular aerial images of the sea and beach that convey both the vulnerability and preciousness of life. One of the most pervasive themes present in his work is the relationship between humans and their environment, depicting our impact on the world through feats of engineering as in his Golden Gate Bridge series, and with his Desert Cantos with nuclear testing in the American desert. 

    View More Works

Property of a Corporate Collection, New York


Untitled #114-03

Chromogenic print, flush-mounted.
48 x 119 in. (121.9 x 302.3 cm)
Signed, titled, dated and numbered 2/5 in ink on a label affixed to the reverse of the frame.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $75,000

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Photographs Evening & Day

New York 5 & 6 October 2016