SELECTED IMAGES INCLUDING PORTRAITS OF FRIDA KAHLO, DIEGO RIVERA AND MIGUEL COVARRUBIAS
a group of 78 photographs, each annotated by Mimi Muray, the photographer's daughter, in pencil on the reverse, 1925-46 (78)
Various sizes to 5 by 7 in. (12.7 by 17.8 cm.)
This group of 78 photographs is in generally very good to excellent condition. The tonality ranges from neutral to sepia and several prints are on single-weight paper. The following is present on the photographs: occasional fingerprints; gently curling margin edges; faint soiling; and stray framer's marks. When viewed under ultra-violet light these prints do not appear to fluoresce.
A detailed report for each image is beyond the scope of this condition report; those wishing condition reports on individual images are welcome to contact the Photographs Department for detailed information and additional images.
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.
Acquired from the estate of the photographer, circa 1980
Adriana Williams, Covarrubias (Austin, 1994), pp. 94, 114-5, 118, 125, 134, 140, 163, 174, 184
Salomon Grimberg, I Will Never Forget You (San Francisco, 2004), pp. 37-8, 72, 75, 89, 113-6
Kurt Heinzelman, The Covarrubias Circle: Nickolas Muray's Collection of Twentieth-Century Mexican Art (Austin, 2004), p. 23
The 78 photographs offered here, many of which have never before been published, represent the most significant offering of work by Nickolas Muray to appear at auction. These early prints feature both posed and candid portraits of the socialites, politicians, composers, and writers closely associated with artists Miguel Covarrubias, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera. Notable sitters including Carl van Vechten, composer Carlos Chavez, Alfa Ríos Henestrosa, illustrator John Held, Jr., social realist artist Marian Greenwood, muralist Roberto Montenegro, actress Margo Albert, painter and writer Mai-Mai Sze, and Cristina Kahlo, Frida’s sister, pepper these photographs and provide fascinating insight into the cultural landscape of Mexico in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.
Muray, a prolific photographer for magazines such as Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar, instantly became close with Mexican caricaturist, illustrator, and painter Miguel Covarrubias when they met in 1923. During his trips to Mexico visiting Covarrubias and his wife Rosa, Muray was introduced to their wide circle of friends, and it was through them that Muray first met Frida Kahlo, with whom he would have a decade-long affair beginning in 1931.
Covarrubias began collecting indigenous Pre-Columbian art as a teenager, and both he and Muray shared a keen interest in Mexican painting, sculpture, and dance. Some of the photographs in the group offered here document sculpture (many pieces of which were part of Diego Rivera’s personal collection). Other images depict Muray’s countryside visits with indigenous artists and laborers who sold found artifacts to Rivera and his circle of friends.