ELLI SERAIDARI (NELLY'S)
1899 - 1998
ATHÈNES - "NICOLSCA" DANSANT DANS LE PARTHENON, 1929
tirage au bromure d'argent, monté sur carte avec intercalaire de carte
titré et crédité 'Nelly's Athènes' au crayon sur la monture sous l'image, avec tampon de copyright au verso
silver bromide print, mounted on card with card intermount
titled and credited 'Nelly's Athènes' in pencil on the mount below image, with copyright stamp on the reverse
image: 8 ⅜ x 11 in.; 21,3 x 28 cm
montage / mount: 9 ⅝ x 11 ⅜ in.; 24,4 x 28,9 cm
carte / card: 13 ⅛ x 17 ¾ in.; 33,5 x 45 cm
The print is in generally excellent condition. The image is tipped to the dark brown card, and the dark brown card is tipped again to the mount.
The mount has various pencil annotation just below the image, and is stamped on the reverse of the print, as well as the reverse of the mount. The mount has some numerical annotations in pencil on the reverse, and the no '81' is stamped on the reverse of the print.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Voilà, no. 168, 9th June 1934, cover ill.
Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the Twentieth Century Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (St Louis Art Museum, 1997), ill. p. 103
M. Harder, Nelly: Dresden, Athens, New York (Munich, London & New York, 2001), ill. pl. 32 and cover
Born in Anatolia in 1899, in 1920 Nelly (née Elli Souyoultzoglou) moved to Germany, escaping from the destruction of her homeland in the wake of the First World War. In Dresden she originally studied art but then switched to photography, first studying under the leading portrait photographer Hugo Erfurth and then under Franz Fiedler, a former student of Erfurth's. It was through working in Fiedler's studio that she came to specialise in dance photography.
In 1923 Nelly assisted Fiedler with studies taken en plein-air of dancers from the Mary Wigman school of expressive dance. This avant-garde dance movement, originally known as 'artistic dance', equated freedom of movement with freedom of spirit. Dancers performed barefoot and with loose-flowing clothing. When Nelly returned to Greece and, in 1925, opened her own studio in Athens, she continued with her dance photography to controversial effect.
The exultant pose of the Hungarian dancer and musicologist Nikolska in this image taken in 1929 is both a tribute to expressive dance and an exuberant response to Nelly's first series of dance photographs, taken on the Acropolis in 1927 and published two years later in the French journal L'Illustration, were identified by some as a desacration of this historic site.
Nelly's 'atelier artistique' (from which this print was issued) was at 18 Rue d'Hermès in Athens. French was the language used by the upper classes in Athens at this time. The distinctive mounting of the photograph was done according to Nelly's instructions.