Photographs, Including Works from the Collection of Ernesto Esposito

Photographs, Including Works from the Collection of Ernesto Esposito

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 135. Portfolio '63 (from 'The Human Condition' a Guggenheim Fellowship Project).

Dave Heath

Portfolio '63 (from 'The Human Condition' a Guggenheim Fellowship Project)

Lot Closed

November 16, 12:11 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 EUR

Lot Details


Dave Heath

1931 - 2016

Portfolio '63 (from 'The Human Condition' a Guggenheim Fellowship Project)

(Self-Published, 1964), a portfolio of 22 gelatin silver prints, each mounted, the edges inked, signed, dated '1964' and editioned '2' from a set of '6' in ink on the reverse, 1963, printed in 1964; accompanied by two panels, the title page (plate 1) with a thrice-mounted print of Erin Freed, and a mounted printed quote by James Agee (plate 2). Folio, gray case with paper flaps, the inside cover inscribed in ink 'To Lee and Joyce, May there be in their marriage an amplitude of happiness With love, Dave'

images: various sizes to 18.5 by 21.6 cm (7⅜ by 8½ in.)

portfolio case: 35.8 by 30.4 cm (14 by 12 in.)

Gitterman Gallery, New York, 2005

In June 1963, Dave Heath won the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for Photography.  The $4,000 grant allowed Heath to spend 1963-64 photographing in New York City, Rochester, Hastings-on-Hudson, and Culpepper, Virginia. During this period, Heath continued to explore loneliness and alienation, themes that permeate his previous body of work, A Dialogue with Solitude (see lots 110 and 133). 

The resulting portfolio was issued as twenty-one photographs in an edition of six. Extant copies are exceptionally rare and at the time of this writing, no other complete, finished copy of Portfolio '63 is believed to have appeared at auction.

The present lot is accompanied by a letter from Dave Heath to the current owners of the portfolio:

'. . . The edition of six was made for particular friends. It is fitting that one of these is continuing its life in loving hands beyond its original recipient.


There is little I can say about the individual photographs. I do not categorize my work as documentary or photojournalism, but think of it as a matter of poetry, or even drawing (in the Rembrandtarian sense). What I want of my work is a sense of suspension, of, not to be pretentious, mystery, where the viewer can enter and expand his or her emotional being. Not in the character of catharsis perhaps, but maybe in the sense of assuagement, the touching of the compassionate core of one’s being, the infusion of another’s moment of being into our own.


Thank you for the “kinship” my work has created between us.


Regards, and salut,


Dave Heath, New York City, 16 Feb 2005'