Lot 19
  • 19

Josef Sudek

Estimate
8,000 - 12,000 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Josef Sudek
  • Window of my Studio I, Prague, 1950
  • Vintage silver print. Stamped and inscribed on the reverse.
  • Silver print
  • 16,5 x 12,1 cm (6 ½ x 5 in.)
Vintage silver print. With the photographer's stamp and annotations in pencil in an unknown hand on the reverse.

Provenance

Sale: Swann, New York, 21 October 2008, lot 191
Stephen Cohen Gallery, California

Catalogue Note

As for most photographers, Sudek’s photography was a reflection of his inner eye, his personal taste and his relationship with the surrounding world. His enduring fascination with light, and its absence, is at the root of some of the most haunting photographs of the twentieth century. He was willing to wait for hours, sometimes days to capture light at a particular angle.

As a photographer, he was also particularly concerned with the quality of the photographic print, which is an essential component in terms of the expressive potential of an image. He pushed photography beyond its preoccupations with painterly and modernist styles to explore his own particular form of romanticism. Sudek’s mastery of the pigment printing process enabled him to produce highly atmospheric and evocative images, thereby reaping all of the reflective and descriptive power of the gelatin silver print.

Prague during the first half of the twentieth century was a veritable hub of artistic activity, and Sudek had been drawn to photography from his early teens. The loss of his right arm during the First World War and the difficulties he now encountered in transporting photographic equipment did not deter him. In the decades during which Sudek took photographs he returned to the same subjects, forming extensive series that came to be among his most famous works. His own studio was one such inspiration. “Sudek’s studio window became an object of abiding fascination—rather like the surface of a canvas—reflecting moments of exquisite tenderness and hope when a flowering branch brushed against its pane, or of poignant melancholy when he observed the world beyond his window transformed by the playful infinity of mist.’’  (Ann Thomas & Vladimir Birgus, The Intimate World of Josef Sudek, Paris, 2016). Sudek had his first solo exhibition in Prague in 1933, and in 1936 his work was shown alongside that of László Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray, and Alexander Rodchenko at the city's International Photography Exhibition.

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