• Photographs: The Evening Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 12203

    Photographs: The Evening Sale

    4 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1

    Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946)

    Rebecca's Ear, 1922

    Estimate

    Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946)
    Rebecca's Ear, 1922
    gelatin silver print, mounted on tissue
    inscribed, 'are you there? Beck ?!' in ink (mount, recto)
    image/sheet: 3 5/8 x 2 3/8 in. (9.3 x 6.1 cm.)
    mount: 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (21.7 x 14 cm.)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Rebecca 'Beck' Salsbury became close friends with Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe soon after she married Paul Strand in 1922. During the summer of that year, when Paul Strand was away on assignment, Stieglitz took experimental portraits and snapshots of Rebecca at Lake George, where both couples would go on to jointly spend many of their summers. This enigmatic image with Stieglitz's playful inscription appears to be a detail from a portrait of Rebecca entitled Rebecca Salsbury Strand, taken the same year (fig. 1, Sarah Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs, Volume One 1886-1922, Abrams/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002, no. 743).

    Stieglitz wrote the following in a note to Rebecca Strand on November 1, 1922:

    I have some beautiful prints of you & waxed spotted ready to be mounted. But they really need no mounting no presentation. They just are. How you'll like them as 'Portraits' I don't know. As prints, as photographs, everyone will have to like them. They exist. So your work & kind willingness have not all been in vain. And I'm glad. And Paul will be glad too when he sees the results. They are entirely different from his things of you. Perhaps they will clarify some things.

    (The above letter, as published in: Sarah Greenough, Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs, Volume One 1886-1922, Abrams/National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2002, p. 447.)

    Provenance

    The artist;
    gifted to Rebecca Salsbury James (1891–1968), the sitter;
    gifted to the late owner, nephew of the above, 1968.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of Nate Salsbury