Edward Weston - Photographs New York Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    Aperture, Edward Weston: Nudes, p. 51; High Museum of Art, Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection, p. 121; Mora, Edward Weston: Forms of Passion, p. 149; Stebbins, Edward Weston: Photography and Modernism, pl. 31

  • Catalogue Essay

    Upon Weston’s return to California from Mexico in November of 1926, he met a different artistic milieu than the one he had left behind—and strongly rejected—a few years before. The new zeitgeist comprised of different artists, sculptors, photographers, collectors, critics and curators lent way to a forum that embraced the foundations of Modernism and encouraged abstraction. The setting could not have been more apt for Weston, who had begun experimenting with abstraction earlier in Mexico, as seen in his still-life compositions and the pear-shaped nudes of Anita Brenner.
    “Nude, 1927,” a close-up of dancer Bertha Wardell’s knees, is arguably Weston’s first successful study in corporeal abstraction. The echoing of the soft curves, the folding of the legs, the bulging of the knees and the deep crevices formed by the pressing of the leg’s upper and lower portions create a nautical composition that is unmistakably reminiscent of Shore’s shell paintings: Of the image, Weston has said: “I saw the repeated curve of thigh and calf,—the shin bone, knee and thigh lines forming shapes not unlike great sea shells,—the calf curved across the upper leg, the shell’s opening.” Unlike his previous nudes, which focused on abstracting the specifically feminine features of his sitters' bodies, the resulting image, is remarkably devoid of sexual connotations, despite its indication of the physical proximity between Weston and his nude model. The fragmentation turns the detail of the human body into a still-life and a meditative study in form. The Modernist purity of the line trumps subjectivity, producing an image that is magnificent in its simplicity and pivotal in Weston’s oeuvre.
    Other examples of this print are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Lane Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Sir Elton John Collection.  



Gelatin silver print.
6 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (16.5 x 23.5 cm).
Signed, dated and annotated 'Glendale' in pencil on the verso.

$30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for $40,000


14 Nov 2009
New York