110
110
Edward Weston
SHELLS (3S)
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT
110
Edward Weston
SHELLS (3S)
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Photographs

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New York

Edward Weston
1886-1958
SHELLS (3S)
signed and dated in pencil on the reverse, framed, 1927; accompanied by a fragment of the original mount, signed and dated in pencil, and a manuscript letter and a Los Angeles Museum exhibition brochure, signed and inscribed by Weston in pencil and ink (4)
9 1/2  by 7 1/8  in. (24.1 by 18.1 cm.)
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Provenance

Gift of the photographer to Euliel Ballenger White, circa 1927

By descent to the present owners

Literature

Gilles Mora, ed., Edward Weston: Forms of Passion (Paris, 1995), fronstispiece

Catalogue Note

This elegant double-shell composition, a study in shades of gray and printed on lush matte-surface paper, is easily distinguished from Weston’s more well-known shell images pictured before plain, dark backgrounds.  Prints of it are exceedingly rare and it is not recorded in Conger.  According to Leslie Squyres of the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, this shell is number ‘3S,’ only the third negative in Weston’s celebrated series of shell studies.  The photographer’s negative log, now in the collection of the Center, suggests that Weston made only 3 prints of this image, one of which he destroyed.  At the time of this writing, it is believed that only one other print of this image has appeared at auction.

The photograph offered here has a remarkable unbroken family provenance from the time it was made in 1927 until now.  It was acquired directly from the photographer by Euliel Ballenger White, an early admirer of Weston’s work.  White taught at Columbus Elementary School in Glendale, California, alongside Flora, the photographer’s first wife.  Of this photograph, Weston wrote to Flora, ‘Here is print for Euliel – It is not one of the imperfect “extras” – Sorry I could not give her a choice.  I have few of the shells printed.’  This photograph and the accompanying manuscript note and exhibition brochure were treasured by White and her family for nearly a century. 

This photograph is accompanied not only by the manuscript note described above, but also an inscribed brochure from Brett and Edward Weston’s joint exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum (October - November 1927).  Of this show, Weston wrote in his diary: ‘Brett is showing with me, and a fine showing it is.  He has hung 18 prints, I have 102,—all on one line, well-spaced, and in rooms well-suited to photographs.  It is the finest exhibit I have ever given, both in general appearance and in individual prints’ (Daybooks II, p. 39).  According to the listing in the brochure, Weston included nine of his shell studies in that exhibition (cats. 38 – 46).  A photograph by Brett Weston, 'Bay Window' (Victorian House, San Francisco) (see Lot 24) was also in White’s collection.   

Photographs

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New York