Pierre Dubreuil - Photographs New York Monday, July 13, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of the Association Belge de Photographie, Brussels
    Collection of Tom Jacobson, San Diego
    Collection of John Waddell, New York
    Collection of Barry Friedman, New York
    Christie's, New York, 4 October 2001, lot 182

  • Catalogue Essay

    Few European photographers operated as successfully as Pierre Dubreuil in the two dominant, frequently opposed styles of the early 20th century, Pictorialism and Modernism. His best photographs synthesize elements of these two photographic modes and combine a Pictorialist emphasis on the craft of photographic printing with a dynamic Modernist sensibility. The Driver shows Dubreuil working at the peak of his abilities and is one of his most adventurous compositions. The straight and curved lines of the steering wheel break the image into three separate regions, one of which frames the driver’s face. The photograph’s rigorous geometry is humanized by the direct gaze of its subject. Dubreuil printed this image in the notoriously challenging Rawlins Oil process, of which he was a master, carefully maintaining detail in the highlights and shadows and rendering them in rich charcoal-like tones. As of this writing, this is the only known print of this image extant.

    While Dubreuil’s photographs were widely published and exhibited in his day, including in the seminal International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography in Buffalo in 1910, surviving prints are scarce. Fearing for the safety of his work at the outset of World War II, Dubreuil sold his negatives and many of his photographs to the Agfa Gevaert factory in Belgium. When the factory was bombed, nearly all of Dubreuil’s oeuvre was destroyed.


The Driver

Oil print.
9 3/8 x 7 3/4 in. (23.8 x 19.7 cm)
Artist’s monogram on the recto; signed, titled and annotated in pencil on the verso; signed, titled, annotated in pencil and notations in crayon on the reverse of the mount.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas

+212 940 1245


New York Auction 13 July 2020