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Aaron Siskind (1903 - 1991)

Lot 53: Aaron Siskind 1903-1991 , 'kentucky 15' ( paint on blistered paint)


October 16, 2007
New York, NY, US

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flush-mounted to Masonite, numbered '18' and annotated with a directional arrow by the photographer in pencil, a Museum of Modern Art exhibition label, with typed title and photographer's credit, and a Museum of Modern Art loan label on the reverse, 1951


measurements note 13 1/4 by 9 5/8 in. (33.5 by 24.5 cm.)


New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Diogenes with a Camera II, November 1952 -- March 1953


The photographer to a studentAcquired from the above by Ehlers/Caudill Gallery, Chicago, circa 1996To Andrew Roth at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, East Hampton, New YorkAcquired by Nancy Richardson from the above, 1997


This photograph was shown in The Museum of Modern Art exhibition Diogenes with a Camera II in late 1952 and early 1953. The Diogenes exhibition series, curated by Edward Steichen, was named for the Greek philosopher dedicated to the search for truth, and each Diogenes exhibition was devoted to exploring the work of a small group of photographers in depth. Aside from Siskind, Diogenes II showcased the work of Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Todd Webb, and Tosh Matsumoto. The press release for the exhibition states that each of these photographers was 'seeking a variety of truths; each is seeking in a highly selective manner, differently through each pair of eyes; none is using tricks or subterfuges.' Paint on Blistered Paint was one of 19 photographs by Siskind included in the exhibition. His artist statement, printed on a panel hung adjacent to his pictures in the exhibition, is as follows: 'When I make a photograph I want it to be an altogether new object, complete and self-contained, whose basic condition is order. 'What is the subject matter of this very personal world? It has been suggested that these shapes and images are underworld characters, the inhabitants of the vast common realm of memories that have gone down below the level of conscious control. It may be they are. 'However, I must stress that my own interest is immediate and in the picture. What I am conscious of and what I feel, above all, is the picture I am making, the relation of that picture to others I have made and, more generally, its relation to others I have experienced.'

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