GUSTAVE LE GRAY
LE BRICK AU CLAIR DE LUNE (BRIG ON THE WATER)
albumen print, the photographer's red facsimile signature stamp (Aubenas 353) on the image, mounted, his blindstamp (Aubenas 358) on the mount, 1856
12⅜ by 16 in. (31.4 by 40.6 cm.)
Grading this albumen print on a scale of 1 to 10 – a 10 being a print that has rich, deep dark tones and highlights that retain all of their original detail – this print rates a 9. It has excellent detail, particularly in the beach area and the varied densities of the clouds. The highlights remain bright and crisp.
The print is in generally very good to excellent condition. There is a small rust-colored spot near the right edge in the sky. There is a thin 3-inch line visible near the upper edge, which appears to be a feature of the negative.
The mount is age-darkened. There is a tideline running the length of the left edge and smaller tidelines at the lower right edge and upper right corner. There is a very small loss along the upper edge and a raised area along the lower right edge, which is irregularly trimmed.
The reverse is soiled and has some foxmarks. There are three hinge remnants along the upper edge.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
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 INCLUDED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Geoffroy Auctions, Royan, 2002
Eugenia Parry Janis, The Photographs of Gustave Le Gray (The Art Institute of Chicago, 1987), frontispiece
Ken Jacobson, The Lovely Sea-View: A Study of the Marine Photographs Published by Gustave Le Gray, 1856-1858 (Petches Bridge, 2001), title page and fig. 2
Sylvie Aubenas et al., Gustave Le Gray 1820-1884 (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002), fig. 128 and cat. 109
Gustave Le Gray’s large-format seascape Brig on the Water was shown at a private meeting of the Photographic Society of London on 6 November 1856, more than a month before a print of this marine study made its public debut at the Society’s December exhibition. Le Gray’s photographic innovations, both technical and aesthetic, sparked high praise and great demand for prints of this image. The photographer continued to make additional seascapes in 1857-58 (see also Lot 109). Typical of many of Le Gray’s works, this albumen print was toned with his unique gold-chloride process to imbue it with red highlights.
Prints of this image are in the following collections: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Princeton University Art Museum; the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown; the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.