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    Sale 7584


    15 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 30

    WALTER PETERHANS (1897-1960)

    Weekend, before May 1929

    Price Realised  


    WALTER PETERHANS (1897-1960)
    Weekend, before May 1929
    gelatin silver print
    credit stamp, credited, titled and numbered '34' in unknown hand in pencil on verso
    10 1/8 x 13in. (25.5 x 33cm.)

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    Peterhans is best known for his complex still-life compositions. These work at one level as skilful demonstrations of the camera's detached and impersonal technical ability to describe tone and detail. Yet they also anticipate the Surrealists' systematic subversion of photography through the medium's uncanny power to transform and imbue with mystery even the most banal objects, caught as found or wilfully juxtaposed before the lens.

    Peterhans, a native of Frankfurt whose father was Director of Zeiss Ikon, studied mathematics, philosophy and art history -- an ideal curriculum for a proponent of the new vision -- before graduating in photography at Weimar. He became Head of Photography at the Bauhaus from 1928 to 1932, where he placed primary importance on the mastery of photography's inherent strength: the precise and detailed capture of tonal gradations.

    This still-life was among eight that were presented in the Film und Foto exhibition and it is recorded as checklist number 579. The image is illustrated in the present catalogue in landscape format, consistent with the credit stamp and manuscript instruction on the verso, though it appears in several published instances, including what is likely its first publication, in foto-auge in 1929, rotated to portrait format (fig.1).

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    As lot 27.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Roh, Foto-Auge, Akademischer Verlag Dr. Fritz Wedekind & Co., 1929, pl.47; Auer, Photographers Encyclopedia International: 1839 to the present, Editions Camera Obscura, 1985, n.p., vertical; Walter Peterhans: Fotografien 1927-38, Fotografische Sammlung Im Museum Folkwang, 1993, pp.8, 59 & 103, vertical.