Classic Photographs

Classic Photographs

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 21. John Coltrane, Half Note.

Roy DeCarava

John Coltrane, Half Note

Lot Closed

October 5, 02:21 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Roy DeCarava

1919 - 2009

John Coltrane, Half Note

gelatin silver print, signed in pencil in the margin, mounted, credit and title in pencil on the reverse, framed, 1960, probably printed later

image: 13 by 9 ¼ in. (33 by 23.6 cm.)

frame: 20 by 16 ¼ in. (50.8 by 41.3 cm.)

Collection of Shirley Carter Burden

By descent through family to the present owners

Peter Galassi, Roy DeCarava, A Retrospective (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1996), p. 221

Roy DeCarava, The Sound I Saw: Improvisation on a Jazz Theme (New York, 2001), unpaginated

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Shirley C. Burden Photographic Collection, February - April 1978

‘Jazz to me is a musical expression of subjective individual emotions by particular individuals in their own unique way. Everything a jazzman feels, sees, hears, everything he was and is becomes the source and object of his music. It is a music purchased with dues of hardship, suffering and pain, optimism and love.'

-Roy DeCarava, The Sound I Saw: Improvisation on a Jazz Theme

In the 1950s, the street photography aesthetic, so called for its emphasis on candid shots of activities in urban settings, ascended to popularity, particularly in New York. Born and raised in Harlem, Roy DeCarava photographed his neighborhood’s residents, New York’s jazz scene, and the musical personalities so closely associated with both. Described in The New Yorker as ‘a photographer who seems to see best in the dark,’ DeCarava uniquely mastered the technical demands of using a small, hand-held camera to read the gratifying dusk of the nightclubs and taverns where musicians performed. (Goings on About Town, The New Yorker, 13 March 2006, p. 18)