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Edward Weston (1886 - 1958)

Lot 16: Edward Weston 1886-1958 , 'nude on sand'


April 26, 2007
New York, NY, US

More About this Item


mounted, signed and dated by the photographer in pencil on the mount, titled, numbered '238N,' priced '[$]15.00,' and inscribed 'To Katherine, after a very happy evening from Edward,' by the photographer in pencil on the reverse, matted, framed, 1936


measurements note 7 5/8 by 9 1/2 in. (19.4 by 24.2 cm.)


Other prints of this image:
Conger 929 (reversed)
Edward Weston: Nudes
(Aperture, 1973), p. 86
Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Weston?s Westons: Portraits and Nudes
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, in conjunction with the exhibition), pl. 53
Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Karen Quinn, and Leslie Furth, Edward Weston: Photography and Modernism
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1999, in conjunction with the exhibition), pl. 74
Manfred Heiting, ed., Edward Weston
(Köln, 2004), p. 156
Kurt Markus, Dune: Edward & Brett Weston
(Kalispell, Montana, 2003), p. 59


In 1936, Edward Weston made his now-famous series of nude studies of Charis Wilson on the sands of Oceano, California. The photograph offered here is one of the scarcer images from this group. Weston authority Amy Conger locates only three prints of this image, all later prints made in the 1950s, and all in institutional collections. It is believed that only two early prints of this image have appeared at auction: the print offered here, in 1995, and another in 2001. Weston?s first photographs of the massive sand dunes at Oceano, near Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, were made in 1934 when he visited the area with fellow photographer Willard Van Dyke. In 1936, Weston revisited Oceano with his lover and eventual wife, Charis Wilson. The couple stayed there several days in an abandoned guest cabin, sharing meals with a group of squatters, known as ?Dunites,? who had taken the area over. Weston?s principle object was to photograph the area?s remarkable dunes, and he set out each morning with his unwieldy camera and tripod and a case of loaded film holders. It was on this trip that he produced what are arguably his best-known landscapes. This trip also yielded the photographs of Charis on the dunes that are among Weston?s most important, and best-known, nude studies. In his photographic career up to 1936, Weston had produced a significant number of nude studies, and his work with nudes is remarkable for the fact that it evolved continually. In the 1920s, his soft-focus pictorial studies had given way to sharply focused images that satisfied the requirements of ?straight photography.? Countless models and endless permutations followed; his approach was always novel, and never repetitive. The overwhelming majority of his nudes were made in the studio, and he had not, until reaching Oceano with Charis in 1936, produced an extended series of outdoor nude studies. In these images, the evenly illuminated nude form, delineated by a thin line of shadow, is offset perfectly by the mid-tones and minutely-rendered detail of the sand background. The print offered here was once owned by Louella Parsons (1881-1972), the influential Hollywood gossip writer whose columns appeared in the Los Angeles Examiner from the 1930s to the early 1960s. Parsons?s estate was sold in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. As of this writing, the identity of ?Katherine,? to whom Weston inscribed this print, is unknown.

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April 26, 2007, 12:00 PM EST

New York, NY, US