William Eggleston - Important Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Anthony Terrana New York Monday, April 1, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired from the William Eggleston Artistic Trust
    Miller Block Gallery, Boston

  • Exhibited

    William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 7 November 2008 – 25 January 2009; Haus der Kunst, Munich, 20 February – 17 May 2009, for another print exhibited

  • Literature

    Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, William Eggleston, p. 87
    Hasselblad Center, The Hasselblad Award 1998: William Eggleston, cover and n.p.
    Sussman and Weski, William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008, pl. 81

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I want to make a picture that could stand on its own,” William Eggleston once noted, “regardless of what it was a picture of.” In that regard, Eggleston references the ideas of Henri Cartier- Bresson, who has been cited as one of his major influences. In fact, John Szarkowski, a friend of Eggleston, once said “The decisive moment was a decisive influence on him.” Eggleston seeks to make a complete picture not by the subject matter but rather by capturing the balance of elements that resides in life. For Cartier-Bresson this balance was captured in an instant of movement; for Eggleston the pictorial elements are poised in the mundane.

    Eggleston turned his lens on his environment, noting: “The way I have always looked at it is the world is in color. And there’s nothing we can do about that.” Thereby, Eggleston contemporized the modernist view, by introducing color into the cannon of photographic composition and thus expanding upon Henri Cartier-Bresson’s idea that “In a photograph, composition is the result of a simultaneous coalition, the organic coordination of elements seen by the eye.” Indeed, it is no surprise that Eggleston was the first photographer to work in color to be selected for a solo show under the venerable eye of John Szarkowski at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1976.

    In the present lot, Untitled (Biloxi, Mississippi), 1972, Eggleston’s lens is not preoccupied with the facial features of his subject, an unexpected decision in the realm of portrait photography, but rather with the cascading of her lush, bright red hair. The resulting image becomes akin to the powerful brush stroke by such American Color Field School pioneers as Morris Louis or Helen Frankenthaler, who lent dominance to color over form and subject. Likewise, in Untitled (Near Minter City and Glendora, Mississippi), 1970 (lot 2), Eggleston presents viewers with a disarming scene that calls for nothing but a quiet, objective meditation on the vernacular. The absence of drama and the insistence on employing a non-judgmental lens gives way to a democratic approach in viewing the work, where the different compositional elements, including color, are granted equal weight in their aesthetic contributions.

  • Artist Biography

    William Eggleston

    American • 1939

    William Eggleston's highly saturated, vivid images, predominantly capturing the American South, highlight the beauty and lush diversity in the unassuming everyday. Although influenced by legends of street photography Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eggleston broke away from traditional black and white photography and started experimenting with color in the late 1960s.

    At the time, color photography was widely associated with the commercial rather than fine art — something that Eggleston sought to change. His 1976 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Color Photographs, fundamentally shifted how color photography was viewed within an art context, ushering in institutional acceptance and helping to ensure Eggleston's significant legacy in the history of photography.

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Untitled (Biloxi, Mississippi)

Dye transfer print, printed 1996.
12 3/8 x 17 3/4 in. (31.4 x 45.1 cm)
Signed in ink in the margin; signed by William J. Eggleston III, Managing Trustee in ink, titled, dated and numbered 4/15 in an unidentified hand in pencil within the Eggleston Artistic Trust copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp on the verso.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $86,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
[email protected]
+ 1 212 940 1245

Important Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Anthony Terrana

2 & 3 April 2013
New York