18
18
Edward Steichen
'TIME, SPACE CONTINUUM'
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT
18
Edward Steichen
'TIME, SPACE CONTINUUM'
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Inventive Eye: Photographs from a Private Collection

|
New York

Edward Steichen
1879-1973
'TIME, SPACE CONTINUUM'
palladium print, with title, date, 'France,' and reduction and other notations in pencil and '39.' in ink on the reverse, framed, 1920
7 5/8  by 9 5/8  in. (19.4 by 24.4 cm.)
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Provenance

Collection of Joanna Steichen

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Collection of Claude Berri, Paris

Christie's Paris, Photographies - Collection of Claude Berri, 19 November 2005, Sale 5320, Lot 32

Private collection, San Francisco

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2008

Literature

Icônes: Photographies de la collection Claude Berri (Paris, 2003), p. 106 (this print)

Steichen the Photographer (The Museum of Modern Art, 1961), p. 39

Edward Steichen, A Life in Photography (New York, 1963), pl. 68

Joanna Steichen, Steichen's Legacy: Photographs, 1895-1973 (New York, 2000), pl. 225

Todd Brandow and William A. Ewing, Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography (Minneapolis: Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography and Musée de L'Elysée, Lausanne, 2007), pl. 73

A Book of Photographs from the Collection of Sam Wagstaff (New York, 1978), pl. 93

Maria Morris Hambourg and Christopher Phillips, The New Vision: Photography Between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1988), pl. 85

Catalogue Note

The years after the First World War were a time of creative transition for Edward Steichen, and the photograph offered here represents one of his first steps away from Pictorialism and toward Modernism.  The harsh reality of the war and his experiences as an aerial photographer prompted a change in his view of the medium: no longer content with the painterly landscapes and portraits of his earlier years, he turned to the photography of ideas, producing a series of abstract compositions with metaphysical titles.  Time, Space Continuum, the image offered here, was inspired by Einstein's theory of relativity; the Diagram of Doom images, 1921-25, reflected vulnerability; fertility was symbolized in such pictures as Triumph of the Egg and Harmonica Riddle, both from 1921.  In his Life in Photography, Steichen recounts these attempts to use objects as symbols, in the hope that it would be possible ‘to give abstract meanings to very literal photographs.’ 

These arrangements demonstrate Steichen’s cleverness as a photographer.  Taking simple and often quotidian objects, Steichen artfully positioned them to create inventive, and sometimes baffling, perspectives.  The deftness with which Steichen composed his images, whether couture gowns or the varied items offered here, is always present.  These still-life studies stand alone as objects themselves; each, technically perfect in its execution, renders the assemblages in rich, beautiful detail.  These pictures look forward to Steichen’s future work.  With its emphasis on formal structure and unwavering attention to every detail within the frame, Time, Space Continuum laid the groundwork for the masterful advertising still-lifes that he would produce later in the 1920s and 1930s.

The Inventive Eye: Photographs from a Private Collection

|
New York