W. Eugene Smith - Photographs London Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Alan Klotz Gallery, New York

  • Literature

    LIFE, 9 April 1951
    W. Eugene Smith: His Photographs and Notes, New York: Aperture, 1969, n.p.
    W. S. Johnson, W. Eugene Smith: Master of the Photographic Essay, New York: Aperture, 1981, p. 73
    B. Maddow, Let Truth be the Prejudice: W. Eugene Smith, His Life and Photographs, New York: Aperture, 1985, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Originally published in the 9 April 1951 issue of LIFE magazine, W. Eugene Smith’s photo essay, “Spanish Village,” has been lauded for more than six decades as the most moving photographic portrait ever made of daily life in rural Spain during the rule of Dictator Francisco Franco. But, as the years have passed, the most chilling image from the piece — the closed, hard faces of three members of Franco’s feared Guardia Civil — has been exalted to a point where the essays’ other masterful, evocative pictures have been largely forgotten.
    Even as the faces in the essay’s most famous picture evince the cruelty and arrogance ofen assumed by small men granted great power over others, other images in the piece illuminate the timeless rhythms of a small, isolated Spanish town of the last century, about which LIFE wrote: “It lives in ancient poverty and faith.”
    The village that Smith so poignantly depicts is that of Deleitosa, a place with a population of 2,300 peasant people about half way between Madrid and the borders of Portugal.The name means ‘delightful’. It's origins go back thousands of years to Spain’s Moorish times. Eugene Smith left the main road and wandered into a village which had almost stood still in time – the nearest telephone is 12 miles away, there are aqueducts and open wells and the village has a strong aroma of the animals which still are a bastien of everyday life.


Guardia Civil, Spain

Gelatin silver print.
31.8 x 40.4 cm (12 1/2 x 15 7/8 in)
Signed, copyright in stylus on the recto; typed copyright credit and reproduction limitation on labels affixed to the reverse of the flush-mount.

£7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for £11,875

Contact Specialist
Lou Proud
Head of Sale
+ 44 207 318 4018


London 7 November 2013 4pm