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Auction Description for Sotheby's: Photographs
Auction Description:
Photographs

Photographs

by Sotheby's


143 lots with images

May 16, 2006

34-35 New Bond Street

London, W1A 2AA United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)207 293 5000

Fax: +44 (0)207 293 5989

Email: info@sothebys.com

ALFRED STIEGLITZ, EDITOR, 1864-1946

Lot 1: ALFRED STIEGLITZ, EDITOR, 1864-1946

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Description: 'CAMERA WORK. A PHOTOGRAPHIC QUARTERLY EDITED AND PUBLISHED BY ALFRED STIEGLITZ, NEW YORK', NUMBER 34/35, 1911an incomplete copy with three photogravures by Edward Steichen: 'I. M. Auguste Rodin', 'II. Balzac - The Open Sky' [illustrated] and 'III. Balzac - Towards the Light, Midnight', small folio PROVENANCEThe Collection of Norman Hall (see note to lot 11).Thence by descent.

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PETER HENRY EMERSON, 1856-1936

Lot 2: PETER HENRY EMERSON, 1856-1936

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Description: QUANTING THE GLADDON. PLATE XXXIV FROM LIFE AND LANDSCAPE ON THE NORFOLK BROADS , 1886216 by 288mm (8½ by 11 3/8 in.)Platinum Print, mounted as published in 'Life and Landscape', with original tissue guard bearing letterpress title and plate number,LITERATUREMcWilliam, N., & Sekules, V. (eds), 1986, illustrated p. 109.

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R.L. SLEETH, ACTIVE EARLY 20TH CENTURY

Lot 3: R.L. SLEETH, ACTIVE EARLY 20TH CENTURY

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Description: THE LANDING STAGE, CIRCA 1907278 by 251mm (11 by 9¾ in.)Platinum Print, with photographer's 1120 Wood Street, Wilkinsburg Pa. label on the reverse, the label inscribed 'No. 5./The Landing Stage' in ink and with an additional label printed with the number '95', the wetstamp of the Pen, Pencil and Camera Club of Pittsburg [sic] also on the reverse, NOTEThis photographer is known for his wonderful pictorialist images taken in the early years of the twentieth-century. Despite the evident quality of his work, and his links to a leading camera club, little is known about R.L. Sleeth himself.

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ALVIN LANGDON COBURN, 1882-1966

Lot 4: ALVIN LANGDON COBURN, 1882-1966

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Description: 'LONDON', 1909illustrated with twenty photogravures by Coburn, each approx. 220 by 180mm (8 5/8 by 7 in.), introduction by Hilaire Belloc, London: Duckworth & Co., & New York: Brentano's, green morocco backed boards, upper cover lettered in gilt, folio

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FREDERICK H. EVANS, 1853-1943

Lot 5: FREDERICK H. EVANS, 1853-1943

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Description: WELLS CATHEDRAL. A SEA OF STEPS (STAIRS TO THE CHAPTER HOUSE AND BRIDGE TO VICAR'S CLOSE), 1903230 by 185mm (9 by 7¼ in.)Platinum Print, inscribed 'Stairs' by the photographer in pencil on the reverse,LITERATUREFor platinum prints of this image in major collections, see:V. Deren Coke (ed.), 1975, pl. 30 (Collection of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.)P. Roberts 2001, p. 295 (The Royal Photographic Society Collection/National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, Bradford).M. Warner Marien 2002, pl. 4.19 (Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York).NOTEONE OF THE GREATEST IMAGES EVER CREATED BY MEANS OF PHOTOGRAPHY'The beautiful curve of the steps on the right is for all the world like the surge of great wave that will presently break and subside into smaller ones like those at the top of the picture. It is one of my most imaginative lines it has been my good fortune to try and depict, this superb mounting of the steps...'(Frederick H. Evans, 1903, quoted in M. Harker 1979, p. 97)The 'Sea of Steps' is a true icon of photography. Reproduced again and again in the half-century since the history of photography began to be written, the composition has lost none of its power to delight the eye. It is a classic work of 'pure photography'.The meaning of pure photography (images that are not manipulated in the darkroom) has been distorted over time. The term was co-opted by those who sought to identify modernism as the most significant aesthetic movement of the early twentieth century. However, the radical compositional design (produced using a tele-photo lens) was not meant to be privileged at the expense of meaning. Instead, it was the means by which 'the spiritual harmonies of architecture' were to be evoked; (see A.K. Hammond's article in M. Weaver [ed.] 1989, pp. 243-259.) The photographer's commitment to unmanipulated imagery did not prevent him from doing minor retouching on his negatives and prints. The negative for this image (NMPFT, Bradford) was at some point retouched in the two areas above the first archway; this print is one of those made after the retouching was done. Each of the extant prints is also cropped slightly differently.

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