František Drtikol - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | Phillips

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  • In the 1920s and 30s Czech photographer František Drtikol created a highly accomplished body of work that included a significant subset of dynamic and evocative nude studies, such as the one offered here. Defying categorization into any of the specific artistic movements of the era, Drtikol’s work stands at the forefront of Czech expressionism in the early-mid 20th century. In this nude study, made during Drtikol’s most productive period in the 1920s, he deploys a female nude against a stage set of abstract geometric forms, creating an entirely distinctive composition.

    The difficult and labor-intensive pigment print process, of which the present lot is an example, was the technique that Drtikol used throughout his career but almost exclusively during this important period in the 1920s. While he had earlier embraced more painterly methods of printing – often combining bromoil and multi-color pigment in a single print – he found the pigment print process alone to be the truest way to represent the female form in space as his vision moved away from Pictorialism towards a more Modernist approach to photography.

    • Provenance

      Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York
      Private Collection
      Phillips, New York, 1 April 2015, lot 9
      Private Collection, Texas
      Collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

    • Literature

      Drtikol, František Drtikol: Pracovní kniha Fotografii, n.p. for variants

    • Catalogue Essay

      The photographs in this sale offered as lots 168 through 186 come from the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and are being sold to benefit acquisition funds. Photography has been a focus of the museum since its founding in 1961 when Dorothea Lange approached the museum about acquiring her portraits of Western painter Charles Russell. Director Mitchell A. Wilder readily made the acquisition, initiating an active engagement with photography and photographers that continues today. In its history, the museum has pursued ambitious exhibition and publication programs, including Marnie Sandweiss’s groundbreaking Photography in Nineteenth Century America (1991) and John Rohrbach’s definitive Color: American Photography Transformed (2013). It was the Amon Carter Museum that commissioned Richard Avedon to produce the series of portraits exhibited and published in 1985 as In the American West.

      Driven by a succession of dynamic photography curators, the Amon Carter early-on established a robust photography acquisition program, collecting singular masterworks as well as entire archives. The collection now encompasses more than 45,000 exhibition-quality photographs ranging from one of the first photographs created in the United States to works made as recently as this year. It also includes eight artist archives – including those of Laura Gilpin, Carlotta Corpron, Eliot Porter, and Karl Struss – that allow scholars opportunities to delve deeply into the working methods of these seminal photographers.

Property of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art sold to Benefit Acquisition Funds



Pigment print, flush-mounted.
11 3/8 x 8 7/8 in. (28.9 x 22.5 cm)
Signed and dated in pencil on the secondary mount.

Full Cataloguing

$65,000 - 70,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs, New York

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 12 October 2022