Lot 103: PROFESSOR RUDOLF KOPPITZ 1884-1936
October 11, 2005
New York, NY, USA
PROPERTY FROM THE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, CHICAGO
14 5/8 by 11 in. (37.5 by 28 cm.)
warm-toned carbon print, the photographer's blindstamp in the image, mounted, signed by the photographer in pencil on the mount, the photographer's 'Photo-Werkstätte, Wien V., Zeinlhoferg. 8' studio and reproduction rights stamps and the Museum's collection stamp, label, and accession number in an unidentified hand in blue pencil on the reverse, 1925
The photographer to Dr. Max Thorek
Gift of Dr. Max Thorek, December 1935
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Imagination to Image, April -- September 1999; and traveling thereafter to The Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, September -- December 2000; and The Montclair, New Jersey, Art Museum, January -- April 2001
Other prints of this image:
Jo-Ann Conklin and Monika Faber, Rudolf Koppitz 1884 -- 1936 (Vienna, 1995), cover and pl. 83
Pam Roberts, PhotoHistorica: Landmarks in Photography, Rare Images from the Collection of The Royal Photographic Society (New York, 2000), p. 221
Monika Faber and Klaus Albrecht Schröder, The Eye and the Camera: The Albertina Collection of Photographs (Paris, 2003), p. 191
The print of 'Bewegungsstudie' offered here, the signature image of Dr. Rudolf Koppitz's oeuvre, was originally owned by Dr. Max Thorek, the Chicago surgeon and well-known Pictorialist. One of the most exhibited salon photographers in the 1920s through the 1940s, Thorek was an admirer of Koppitz and absorbed many aspects of the Viennese photographer's style, as well as his thematic choices. In 1930, Thorek helped to organize an influential exhibition of Koppitz's work which traveled to a number of America's most important camera clubs, including the Fort Dearborn Camera Club, of which Thorek was president.
In her insightful essay, 'Rudolf Koppitz and American Pictorialism (1925 -- 1930),' to which this entry is indebted, Jo-Ann Conklin charts the legacy of Koppitz and his work for a whole generation of American Pictorialist photographers. As Conklin points out, Koppitz's photographs were shown in no less than fourteen juried or invitational exhibitions in the United States from 1926 through 1930, most importantly the Pittsburgh Salons of 1926, 1927, and 1928. This highly regarded annual exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art featured not only prominent American photographers, but also the Europeans Koppitz, Josef Sudek, Jaromir Funke, Frantisek Drtikol, and Madame D'Ora. Both Koppitz and Thorek were elected associate members of this prestigious salon, where 'Bewegungsstudie', along with many other Koppitz works, was exhibited. In addition to their exposure in salons, Koppitz's photographs were featured in such American camera magazines as American Photography, Photo-Era, and Camera Craft (for more information, cf. Conklin's essay in Rudolf Koppitz, 1884 -- 1936, pp. 82 -- 105).
Conklin notes that of all of Dr. Koppitz's work, the 'Bewegungsstudie' was the favorite of critics and public alike. Its undeniable sensuality, in the context of its rigorous and artistic composition, made it as unforgettable then as it is today. It became the photographer's signature image, and was also his best-seller. Conklin points out that prints of the image were purchased by, among others, the Toledo Museum of Art; the New York Camera Club notable Joseph Bing, head of that club's print committee; the Englishman Stephen Tyng, who published it in a small portfolio of works from his collection; and Dr. Max Thorek, whose print is offered here.