SELECTED MARIONETTE STUDIES
a group of 4 photographs, comprising 'Comic End-Man and Lady'; Individual English Marionette; Group of Three Marionette; and Meyer Levin's 'Doll,' each signed and dated and the first titled in pencil, 3 with the photographer's '75, Bould. Montparnasse, Paris 6e' studio and reproduction rights stamps, and the fourth with a Meyer Levin address stamp on the reverse, 1929 (4)
Various sizes to 9 by 6⅝ in. (22.9 by 16.8 cm.)
These early prints, on double-weight paper with a surface sheen, are in generally good condition. When examined closely or in raking light, the following are visible: edge wear; faint scratches and scuffs; and soft and sharp handling creases that do not appear to break the emulsion.
Comic End-Man and Lady - This is titled 'Ligeois' by the photographer in pencil and has extensive annotations in an unidentified hand in ink and reduction notations in pencil. When examined in raking light, there is a horizontal sharp handling crease that does not appear to break the emulsion near the upper edge of the image.
Group of Three - Tiny deposits of indeterminate nature, possibly retouching, are visible in high raking light in the lower right quadrant.
Meyer Levin's 'The Doll' - There is a loss to the upper right corner as well as less significant edge chipping overall. When examined in raking light, there is a faint, transparent deposit of indeterminate nature in the central portion of the image.
According to 'Of Paris and New York,' the photographer's '75, Bould. Montparnasse, Paris 6e' studio stamp (Kertész Paris Stamp #2), was used between 1929 and 1931. These prints were signed and dated later ('3.8.82') by the photographer.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
The photographer to novelist Meyer Levin, New York
By descent to his son, Mikail Levin
Laurence Miller Gallery, New York
Sandra S. Phillips, 'Marionette Photographs by André Kertész,' Performing Arts Journal, 1983, Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 117 (this print of Meyer Levin's 'Doll')
Sarah Greenough, André Kertész (Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 2005), p. 150 (another print of Comic End-Man and Lady)
The photographs offered here come originally from the collection of Meyer Levin, American author, playwright, and founder of the Marionette Studio in Chicago. In 1929, Meyer attended the Marionette Congress in Liège, an international conference of puppeteers, where he performed The Doll, his original marionette play inspired by Hasidic tales and his recent kibbutz stay. The notion of divine intervention is explored in this play, with the puppeteer's hands representing God.
Kertész photographed the Congress for Münchner Illustrierte Presse, and he subsequently included Comic End-Man and Lady and other marionette images in his first American exhibition in 1937 at the PM Gallery. Of Kertész’s puppet series, Sandra Phillips has written, 'These little figures are not only folk art, but artful imitations of human lives. Though they purport to document folk culture, they also reflect the surrealist fascination with the manikin, the shadow, and the mirror as metaphors of human reality' (Performing Arts Journal, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1983, pp. 117-20).