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 (Edward Weston: Forms of Passion, fronstispiece) (4)
9½ by 7⅛ in. (24.1 by 18.1 cm.)
This bravura print from Edward Weston's iconic shells series is rendered with extraordinary clarity and nuance. The present print is a definitive example of his printing style in the late 1920s: it is on matte-surface paper and carries Weston's early, robust signature and date in pencil, both on the reverse of the print and on the accompanying fragment from the original mount. This early print features a wide range of tones including creamy-white highlights and rich dark areas. This is particularly apparent in the lower portion of the shell with its alternating pattern and in the smooth, glowing surface of the upper part of the shell.
Upon close inspection in raking light, very faint age-appropriate silvering is visible in the dark areas of the image near the lower edge. There is a very small linear deposit of retouching along the lower edge.
Near the edges on the reverse is a faint white linear area, likely from when the print was affixed to its original mount. '6' is written in an unidentified hand in pencil at the center on the reverse.
This photograph has undergone conservation, primarily to address surface soiling and adhesive remnants from the original mount. A treatment report is available upon request from the department.
The fragment of the original mount is appropriately age-darkened. There are several small rust-colored deposits, possibly foxing. Weston's signature on the mount is very slightly trimmed.
The Los Angeles Museum exhibition brochure is worn, with a few small rips at the edges. The full inscription reads: '-For Euliel - who likes my work - Edward Weston.'
The manuscript letter from Weston has been expertly reinforced. The full inscription reads: '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 - Edward -'
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.
Gift of the photographer to Euliel Ballenger White, circa 1927
By descent to the present owners
This photograph was acquired the year that it was made by Euliel Ballenger White, a teacher at Columbus Elementary School in Glendale, California. It was through Flora Weston, the photographer's first wife and a fellow teacher, that White acquired this print. A note from Weston to Flora that accompanies this print reads, ‘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.’
Prints of this early shell study, on velvety matte-surface paper, are rare and the negative (3S) is not recorded in Conger. 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.