signed, titled, annotated 'Bremen / Dobben 58,' and numbered '2)' in ink on the reverse, 1928
6¾ by 4½ in. (17.1 by 11.4 cm.)
This photograph, on double-weight paper with a semi-glossy surface, is in generally excellent condition. Upon close examination in raking light are the following: a few faint fingerprints in the lower right corner; and 2 pin-point-sized impressions that do not appear to break the emulsion in the area of the mask. The print is trimmed to the image, and the tip of the upper left corner and the upper left edge appear to have some very small deposits of skillfully applied retouching or in-painting.
On the reverse of the print, '5258' is in an unidentified hand in pencil.
When examined under ultraviolet light, this print does not appear to fluoresce.
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.
F. C. Gundlach, Hamburg, mid-1980s
Gustaf Stotz, et al., Internationale Ausstellung des Deutschen Werkbunds Film und Foto (Stuttgart: Deutscher Werkbund, 1929), p. 41, cat no. 613
Werner Rohde: Fotografien, 1925-37 (Berlin, 1992), p. 65 (slight variant cropping)
Karneval was one of seven photographs by Werner Rohde shown in the landmark Film und Foto exhibition in Stuttgart in 1929. It is one of very few photographs illustrated in the prestigious Film und Foto catalogue, in which it received a full right page illustration opposite László Moholy-Nagy’s portrait of Oskar Schlemmer.
The psychological interplay between face and mask was a popular subject for painters and photographers of this period, and it is often explored in Rohde’s images. He relentlessly experimented with texture, make-up, camera angle, and lighting effects to achieve in print the cinematic ‘full tonal scale of blacks and grays and whites’ conceived in his mind (Points of View: Masterpieces of Photography and Their Stories, p. 229).
Rohde’s extant early prints are rare and seldom appear at auction. Although Rohde enjoyed early success, his promising career was cut short by the Second World War and his entire photographic output is limited to a decade.