‘To photograph a rock,’ wrote America’s foremost modernist photographer, Edward Weston, ‘have it look like a rock, but be more than a rock.’ Weston’s portraits, nudes, still lifes and landscapes have come to define a certain elegiac moment of the American West. Through everyday objects, the faces of his sitters or the American landscape, Weston evoked a profound beauty, strangeness, and eroticism that became the defining photographic aesthetic of the first half of the 20th century in the United States. His images are among the most iconic and valuable ever made.
Born just outside Chicago, Weston studied at the Illinois College of Photography before opening a portrait studio in Tropico, California in 1911 where he developed a unique approach to portraiture, producing extraordinary modernist works such as Epilogue, 1919. Weston’s body of work was to become a profound meditation on the nature of form and, in 1922, his photographs of the Armco steel mill in Middletown, Ohio, announced an important transition as he turned towards architectural and industrial imagery, discovering an inherent abstraction his photography could elicit from the world about him. A year later he was in Mexico where he spent three years mixing in the artistic circles that surrounded Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. There, through his candid portraits and nudes such as Mexico (Tina on the Azotea), 1924 he began exploring the starkness and beauty that black-and-white photography could capture from the human form. By 1926 he had returned to California. In his still lifes of 1927-1930, such as Pepper No. 30, 1930, he used photography to reveal the innate eroticism of objects as simple as fruit or kitchen utensils.
In 1932, Weston and seven other photographers, including Ansel Adams, co-founded the influential modernist Group f/64. By the late 1930s, Weston was being lauded as one of the great masters of contemporary photography. He was the first photographer ever to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship and, in 1946, two years before being forced to give up his art because of Parkinson’s disease, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a first major retrospective of his work.
When you save this search to your interests, Christie's will notify you by email when an upcoming sale includes items that match this interest.
You can save as many interests as you like, and you can edit, delete, or change your notification settings at any time.