Lot 20: PAUL STRAND 1890-1976
Photographs from the Collection of Joseph and Laverne Schieszler
October 10, 2005
New York, NY, USA
'SHADOWS, TWIN LAKES, CONNECTICUT, 1916'
12 5/8 by 10 1/8 in. (32.1 by 25.7 cm.)
on Satista paper, matted, framed, a Weston Gallery label and the Paul Strand, Circa 1916 exhibition label on the reverse, matted, framed, 1916
The Paul Strand Archive
The Weston Gallery, Carmel, California
The 7-Eleven, Inc., Collection, Dallas, Texas
Sotheby's New York, Photographs from the Collection of 7-Eleven, 5 and 6 April 2000, Sale 7448, Lot 16
Paul Strand, Circa 1916, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March - May 1998; and traveling to
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, June - September 1998
Maria Morris Hambourg, Paul Strand, Circa 1916 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998), pl. 30 (this print)
A modern copy photograph made from the print offered here:
John Pultz and Catherine B. Scallen, Cubism and American Photography, 1910-1930 (Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1981), pl. 55
Other images from this series:
Camera Work Number 49/50 (1917)
Maria Morris Hambourg and Christopher Phillips, The New Vision: Photography Between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989), pl. 95
Van Deren Coke and Diana C. Du Pont, Photography: A Facet of Modernism, Photographs from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1986), pp. 26-7
Karen Tsujimoto, Images of America: Precisionist Painting and Modern Photography (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1982) p. 94
Marianne Fulton, Bonnie Yochelson, and Kathleen A. Erwin, Pictorialism Into Modernism: The Clarence H. White School of Photography (George Eastman House and The Detroit Institute of Arts, 1996), p. 68
Barbara Haskell, The American Century: Art & Culture, 1900-1950 (Whitney Museum of American Art, 1999), p. 128
The print offered here is unique. It was one of four different porch shadow studies included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's definitive exhibition, Paul Strand, Circa 1916 (catalogue numbers 27-30). All four images are printed on Satista paper and in the same size format. Two of these four related images are in museum collections: the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago -- it is this latter image that was reproduced in Camera Work No. 49/50 as a photogravure. The third print is in a private collection.
Paul Strand first visited Alfred Stieglitz's pioneering '291' gallery in 1907. Under Stieglitz's tutelage, Strand was exposed to the most advanced photographers of the day and, perhaps more importantly, to the groundbreaking new artwork by Picasso, Braque, Cézanne, and Picabia. Strand absorbed what he saw, and began to apply some of the principles of this new art into his own photographic work. In the summer of 1916, working on the porch of the cottage where his family summered each year, Strand made a series of wholly new photographic studies, Shadows, Twin Lakes, Connecticut, among them.
Strand said of these images that he set out to 'find out what this abstract idea was all about and to discover the principles behind it. I did those photographs as part of that inquiry, the inquiry of a person into the meaning of this new development in painting. I did not have any idea of imitating painting or competing with it but was trying to find out what its value might be to someone who wanted to photograph the real world' (quoted in William I. Homer, Alfred Stieglitz and the American Avant-Garde, p. 246).
With this series of photographs, Strand pushed the medium beyond the limitations of Pictorialism, which sought so frequently to imitate both the themes and appearance of an older generation of painting. Rather than imitating, Strand was instead learning from the new art and incorporating some of its ideas into his work, creating images that were, in their execution and appearance, intrinsically photographic.