Hiroshi Sugimoto - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles

  • Literature

    Sugimoto, Joe, cover, back cover and p. 85

  • Catalogue Essay

    Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Joe depicts the majestic torqued spiral sculpture by Richard Serra of the same title. The sculpture is named after Joseph Pulitzer Jr., among the earliest of Serra’s patrons, and in fact, the first patron to commission a large scale outdoors piece, still exhibited at the courtyard of the Pulitzer Foundation of the Arts in St. Louis. Of that commission Serra has noted, “[it] was the first big landscape [piece] I built in my life. It was one of the most significant pieces I’ve ever made, still remains that for me, and it started me. I wouldn’t have made what I made without Joe.” For being the first in what became a series of revolutionary works, all overwhelming in their grandeur, elegance and understated grace, Joe has remained an iconic Post-Modernist portrait, and it is likewise befitting that Sugimoto devoted a whole series to the work in 2003.

    As he had done in other architectural series, Sugimoto chose a soft focus to depict Serra’s Joe. By doing so, he removed the specificity of the work and reduced it to its most essential characteristics—line, scale and movement. Indeed, the view proffered by the current lot—two opposing sweeping curves engulfing the frame in its near entirety— is imperial and commanding, reflecting the experience yielded by directly interacting with the sculpture, and, as some would claim, of being in the presence of the late beloved patron of the arts.

  • Artist Biography

    Hiroshi Sugimoto

    Japanese • 1948

    Hiroshi Sugimoto's work examines the concepts of time, space and the metaphysics of human existence through breathtakingly perfect images of theaters, mathematical forms, wax figures and seascapes. His 8 x 10 inch, large-format camera and long exposures give an almost eerie serenity to his images, treating the photograph as an ethereal time capsule and challenging its associations of the 'instant.' 

    In his famed Seascapes, Sugimoto sublimely captures the nature of water and air, sharpening and blurring the elements together into a seamless, formless entity.  This reflection of the human condition and its relationship with time follows through his exploration of historical topics and timeless beauty as he uniquely replicates the world around us.

    View More Works


Joe #2134

Gelatin silver print.
58 1/2 x 47 in. (148.6 x 119.4 cm)
Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 1/5 on a gallery label affixed to the reverse of the flush-mount.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $170,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
+ 1 212 940 1245


3 April 2013
New York