10 April 2008,
New York, Rockefeller Center
Price realised USD 13,750
Estimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000
ALVIN LANGDON COBURN
London. London: Duckworth & Co. and New York: Brentano's, 1909.
Folio (407 x 307 mm). 20 hand-pulled gravures mounted on heavy grey paper. (Light scattered spotting in text.) Expertly re-backed and re-cornered to style, preserving the original drab paper-covered boards, front cover lettered in gilt (small repairs to board extremities, light soiling); green half-morocco folding box. 1 page octavo autograph letter signed ("Alvin Langdon Coburn") to Douglas Glass, dated Godalming, Surrey, 3 June 1956. Provenance: Kenneth C. Goodyear (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF COBURN'S FIRST BOOK. With an autograph letter signed ("yours ever in photography") from Coburn to the photographer Douglas Glass, making arrangements for a visit. Coburn made all of the gravures for this book, setting-up two copperplate presses in his house, etching and steel facing all the plates, pulling proofs and supervising the entire print run. He stated that "in my hands photogravure produced results which can be considered as 'original prints', and which I would not hesitate to sign" (Alvin Langdon Coburn, An Autobiography, pp. 74-75). London and New York exemplify "a shift in attitude that triggered the final push towards photographic modernism" (The Photobook). George Bernard Shaw who had been photographed by Coburn posing nude in the manner of Rodin's "The Thinker", called Coburn "the greatest photographer in the world". 101 Books, pp.38-9; The Open Book, pp.50-1; Regards à travers le livre 6. Cf. The Photobook, vol. I, p.74. (2)
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A guide to the pioneering photographer and environmentalist forever identified with the majesty of the American West
Philippe Garner, Deputy Chairman of Photographs, discusses a maquette of Cowboy Kate & Other Stories by Sam Haskins