Edward Weston - ULTIMATE Evening & Photographs Day Sales London Thursday, May 17, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Christie's, New York, 4 October 2001, lot 124
    Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2002
    Andrew Smith Gallery, Sante Fe, 2010

  • Exhibited

    Edward Weston, Delphic Studios, New York, 29 February – 13 March 1932, another
    Supreme Instants: The Photography of Edward Weston, SFMOMA, San Francisco, 7 November 1986 - 4 January 1987, and other locations, another

  • Literature

    M. Armitage, The Art of Edward Weston, New York: E. Weyhe, 1932, pl. 22
    B. Maddow, Edward Weston: Fifty Years, New York: Aperture, 1973, p. 152
    K. Foley, Edward Weston’s Gifts to His Sister, Dayton: Dayton Art Institute, 1978, pp. 18, 45
    B. Maddow, Edward Weston: His Life and Photographs, New York: Aperture, 1979, p. 152
    B. Newhall, Supreme Instants: The Photography of Edward Weston, Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, 1986, pl. 32, p. 147
    A. Conger, Edward Weston: Photographs, Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, 1992, fig. 622/1930

  • Catalogue Essay

    Edward Weston made Kale–Halved in December 1930 and recognised its importance immediately. Weston, always alert to the power of natural forms, wrote that he had 'found the most extraordinary curly-leaved cabbage... kale I think the variety is called,' which he then halved and photographed. He made his first print of the image in a marathon printing session on December 17th, along with other vegetable and nature studies; he wrote, ‘without question, any one of them could go into a one man show of my best’ (Daybooks, pp. 198-9). Kale–Halved was illustrated in Merle Armitage’s 1932 The Art of Edward Weston, the first monograph of the photographer’s work, and was shown in February and March of that year in Weston’s solo exhibition at Delphic Studios gallery in New York City.

    The print offered here bears notations by Delphic Studios owner Alma Reed on its verso and is almost certainly connected to the 1932 exhibition there. This exhibition was an important one for Weston in terms of publicity and print sales. The New York Times praised the show, calling Weston ‘one of the best known of the younger Americans’ and ‘an avowed exponent of "die neue sachlichkeit."' The review stated that Weston’s ‘technique is perfectly clear cut and unaffected,’ and applauded the ‘halved head of kale enormously magnified’ (New York Times, 3 March 1932).

    In the 1930s, Delphic Studios was one of a very select group of forward-thinking galleries in New York City that showed photographs in addition to more traditional media. Delphic was an important venue for Mexican art, in addition to showing work by photographers such as Weston (in 1930 and 1932) and Moholy-Nagy (in 1931). Founder Alma Reed’s correspondence with Weston, now in the collection of the Center for Creative Photography, demonstrates her active promotion of Weston’s work in the early 1930s and her desire to make Delphic Studios a venue for photography. In the months leading up to the 1932 exhibition, Reed wrote to Weston, 'I feel with the interest now aroused in your work that the Delphic Studios can hold its place as a photography center.'

    Prints of Kale–Halved are rare. According to Weston’s negative log at the Center for Creative Photography, Weston made only eight numbered prints from the projected edition of 50. In Edward Weston: Photographs Amy Conger locates prints in the collections of the Center, the Art Institute of Chicago; the Special Collections of the University of Santa Cruz, and the St. Louis Museum of Art. Of these institutions, the print held at the St. Louis Museum of Art is the only one confirmed as an early edition print.

    Phillips Photographs extends our sincere thanks to the Center for Creative Photography for their assistance with our research.



Gelatin silver print, likely printed no later than 1932.
18.9 x 24 cm (7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.)
Signed, titled, dated, numbered '35V' by the artist and annotated by Alma Reed, owner of Delphic Studios, all in pencil on the verso.

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £47,500

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Genevieve Janvrin
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+33 1 53 71 77 87

Yuka Yamaji
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+44 20 7318 4098

ULTIMATE Evening & Photographs Day Sales

London Auction 18 May 2018