Weston Gallery, Carmel, 1981
Weston Gallery, Carmel, 1992
Maria Morris Hambourg, Paul Strand Circa 1916 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998), pl. 12
Paul Strand, Photographs 1910-1974 (Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, and The Weston Gallery, Carmel, 1981), cat. no. 6
Weston Gallery, Catalogue II (Carmel: Weston Gallery, 1982), cat. no. 35
Strand's career as a Pictorialist was relatively brief. In 1907, as a young man of 17, he was able to visit '291' and De Zayas's Modern Gallery, where progressive art of the time was on display. In 1913, the year before Hudson River Pier was taken, he saw the paintings of Picasso, Braque, and others at the infamous Armory Show, which, as he recalled it in later years, was transformative. The year 1913 also marks his personal association with Stieglitz, who saw in Strand's work a path toward photography's future.
The present photograph's calculated shapes of light and dark, the subtle rendering of textures, the arrangement of space into rectangles that approach abstraction, but in a real setting—even the fragments of lettering as a compositional device—all suggest the influence of Cubism. This 'abstracting' of a real landscape would reach its apotheosis in Strand's work with his White Fence of 1916, and in Sheeler's photographs with such images as The White Barn of the same year.
According to Strand authority Anthony Montoya, Strand took this photograph with his 3¼-by-4¼-inch English Ensign Reflex camera. The small glass plate negative was contact printed to another sensitized plate to produce a glass plate positive. This plate was then enlarged to produce an 11-by-14-inch glass plate negative from which the present contact print was made. An early collection label that accompanies this photograph indicates that it may have one time belonged to the American art dealer Franklin Riehlman (1953-2014).
The print offered here was included in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Paul Strand, Circa 1916, the definitive exhibition of Strand's work from this pivotal period in his career.
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