Ray K. Metzker - Photographs New York Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Phillips

Create your first list.

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

  • The unique work offered here is an early example from Ray K. Metzker’s Composites series begun in 1964. Meticulously composed of fifteen identical photographs, each separately flush-mounted and all arrayed in a grid on a secondary mount, In Situ possesses the technical and conceptual rigor that distinguished Composites. Here, Metzker has taken one of photography’s core attributes – its infinite reproducibility – and used it to create something that is, by definition, unique. The visually rhythmic quality of the composition represents a kind of photographic minimalism, a minimalism that, like the work of Philip Glass or Steve Reich, is built from a multiplicity of elements. Metzker himself addressed the rhythmic quality of the series: ‘At the time I was reaching into music and flux . . . Percussion, the playing of one beat against the next, began to translate into the photographs’ (Unknown Territory, p. 123).


    In his application for a Guggenheim Fellowship, which he was awarded in 1966, Metzker wrote: ‘For some time, I have found myself discontented with the single, fixed-frame image, the isolated moment that seemingly is the dominant concern of still photography today. Instead, my work has moved into something of the composite, of collected and related moments, employing methods of combination, repetition, and superimposition as I find the opportunity in the camera, the darkroom, and the final presentation. Where photography has been primarily a process of selection and extraction, I wish to investigate the possibilities of synthesis.’ The importance of Metzker’s multi-image works was recognized early on, and in 1967 John Szarkowski mounted a one-man exhibition of the Composites at The Museum of Modern Art.

    • Provenance

      Estate of Ray K. Metzker

    • Exhibited

      Ray K. Metzker: Light Lines, A Retrospective at Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2007-2008


In Situ

Unique composite of fifteen gelatin silver prints, assembled 2006, each flush-mounted and mounted together to board.
8 1/4 x 8 7/8 in. (21 x 22.5 cm)
Signed in pencil on the mount.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1225


Vanessa Hallett
Deputy Chairwoman, Americas and Worldwide Head of Photographs
+1 212 940 1243


New York Auction 7 October 2021