Erwin Blumenfeld - Photographs Day Sale New York Thursday, April 2, 2015 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Acquired from the estate of Ms. Theodora 'Tedi' Thurman; to the present private collection

  • Literature

    Blumenfeld, Erwin Blumenfeld: Studio Blumenfeld, p. 152

  • Catalogue Essay

    At the age of 16, a young Erwin Blumenfeld left school and began an apprenticeship at a women’s apparel store, a move that would come to shape his love for beautiful women, understanding of fashion, and experimentation with the art. Among the patrons at the store were many of Berlin’s avant garde artists, including a number of Dadaists whose influence on Blumenfeld would manifest itself in a variety of ways, including photomontage, double exposure, juxtaposing of positive and negative images, and a variety of unorthodox printing methods. Indeed, Blumenfeld’s interest did not lay in capturing reality but rather in interpreting and transcending it. The current lot of famed model Tedi Thurman encapsulates Blumenfeld’s early erudition and visionary, innovative flair for creating hauntingly beautiful portraits.

    In 1936 Blumenfeld moved to Paris and soon signed with French Vogue with the help of photographer Cecil Beaton. Working largely in the studio, Blumenfeld crafted his skills in fashion photography and figural studies that defied that era’s conventions, often experimenting with double-exposures, solarization and the splicing of images. Upon moving to America in 1940, Blumenfeld continued developing his distinct style, which became more graphic and abstract, as evidenced by the over 100 Vogue covers that Blumenfeld shot throughout his career. His style was remarkable for its clean and unexpectedly fresh simplicity. On November 1st 1944, Blumenfeld photographed one of his most renowned covers (i), serving as a strong basis for the current lot, which was featured in Vogue in 1948 as a lipstick advertisement (ii). In both images, Blumenfeld layered a tight headshot of the model with the profile of a man. However, in the advertisement Blumenfeld added a veil that partially cascades over the model’s face, giving it an undeniably striking and Surrealist aura.

    The print offered in the current lot is a rare early print by Blumenfeld, and the only early print known to be in existence of this image. Originally it belonged to Thurman, who had collaborated with Blumenfeld on a few occasions during her modeling career in New York, which lasted between 1948 and 1951. After leaving the world of fashion, Thurman would go on to become one of the most beloved radio figures in the 1950s as Miss Monitor on NBC’s Monitor Show, where she gained recognition for a seductive voice that matched her famously sultry looks.


Untitled (Profile silhouette)

circa 1947
Gelatin silver print.
12 3/4 x 9 7/8 in. (32.4 x 25.1 cm)

$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $17,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs

Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245

Photographs Day Sale

New York 2 April 2015 10am & 2pm