• Photographs auction at Christies

    Sale 2304


    15 April 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 334

    W. EUGENE SMITH (1918-1978)

    Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Lambarene, 1954

    Price Realised  


    W. EUGENE SMITH (1918-1978)
    Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Lambarene, 1954
    gelatin silver print
    inscribed 'To John, Technical data, oil lamp, and strobe light bounced against a dirty brown floor, exposure or ½ second with a hand steady from good, good scotch and benzedrine. Love, Gene' in ink, credit in pencil, stamped 'Proof Print' and Smith/Magnum copyright credit stamps (on the verso)
    3 1/8 x 4½in. (8 x 12cm.)

    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


    Acquired directly from the artist

    Pre-Lot Text


    These prints are from my personal collection. My career as a picture editor began with Life magazine, where I worked throughout World War II. I was a Life Hollywood correspondent at 24, and at 27 Life's London Picture Editor. I salvaged Robert Capa's famous pictures of the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach from a darkroom accident. It was Capa who introduced me to Henri Cartier-Bresson, shortly after the Liberation of Paris. Capa also persuaded me to join Magnum as Executive Editor in 1953. There I worked closely with Cartier-Bresson and 'youngsters' such as Marc Riboud, finding in their contact sheets such treasures as Henri's photo of a deck hand's moment of relief and Marc's maestro of the Eiffel Tower. When W. Eugene Smith quit Life in a dispute over a story on Albert Schweitzer, I brought him into Magnum. We had worked together since 1939. I became the executor of his estate, and a principal founder of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund. I was delighted when the Fund gave its 1982 grant to Sebastião Salgado, one of the greatest photographers of our times. Regarding these prints, the pictures speak for themselves. The words my friends added to them mean even more to me.

    John G. (for Godfrey) Morris, Paris, March 2010


    Smith, 'Man of Mercy,' Life, vol. 37, no. 20, 15 November 1954, pp. 170-171; Johnson, W. Eugene Smith: Master of the Photographic Essay, Aperture, 1991, cat. no. 22:164, p. 146