Lot 10
  • 10

Charles Sheeler

Estimate
100,000 - 150,000 USD
Sold
87,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Charles Sheeler
  • THE LILY, MOUNT KISCO
  • Gelatin silver print
  • 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 inches
flush-mounted, 1918-19; accompanied by a backboard fragment, with annotation 'by Charles Sheeler property of Dorothy Miller' in pencil and with a typed MoMA exhibition label, stamped 'Dorothy C. Miller / 12 East 8 Street / New York, N. Y. 10003'

Provenance

Collection of Dorothy Miller, New York

Doris Bry, New York, 1992

Exhibited

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Charles Sheeler, October - November 1939, cat. no. 116

Literature

The Elite and the Popular Appeal of Charles Sheeler (New York: James Maroney, 1986), pp. 54-55 (a print now in the collection of The J. Paul Getty Museum)

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., and Norman Keyes, Jr., Charles Sheeler: The Photographs (Boston, 1987), pl. 8 (Lane Collection print)

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Gilles Mora, and Karen E. Haas, The Photography of Charles Sheeler: American Modernist (Boston, 2002), p. 47 (Lane Collection print)

William A. Ewing, Flora Photographica: Masterpieces of Flower Photography (London, 1991), pl. 72 (Amon Carter Museum print)

Catalogue Note

Taken on commission for arts patron and personal friend Agnes Meyer, this lily image was included in an album of 29 photographs that documented the architecture, interiors, and gardens of Seven Springs Farm, Meyer’s Westchester county estate.  In 1915, Meyer had been instrumental in founding New York’s short-lived Modern Gallery, later renamed the De Zayas Gallery, where Sheeler both worked and exhibited.  A print of The Lily – Mt. Kisco was among a handful of photographs included in February 1920 in Sheeler’s early one-man show with De Zayas.  

The present print was exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in 1939 in Sheeler’s first major museum retrospective of paintings, watercolors, prints, and photographs.  ‘The photographs,’ New York Times art critic Edward Alden Jewell wrote, ‘are simply magnificent.  I do not think I have ever seen finer ones from any hand.  In them, too, we discern the architectonic and abstract fundament upon which Sheeler bases all that he does’ (The New York Times, 8 October 1939).

This photograph comes originally from the collection of Dorothy Miller, one of the first curators at The Museum of Modern Art, who organized Sheeler’s 1939 retrospective.  It is accompanied by a backboard fragment stamped with Miller’s 12 East 8th Street address, her home with husband and fellow curator Holger Cahill, which served for decades as an incubator for Manhattan’s modern artists.

As with most of Sheeler’s photographs, extant prints of the present image are scarce.  Three prints have been located in institutional collections: in the Lane Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the great repository of Sheeler’s work; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and The Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth.  Only one other print of this image is believed to have been offered at auction, sold in these rooms in November 1981 from the collection of the photographer’s widow.

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