Demain est Mystère, 1923

Demain est Mystère, 1923
oil print
titled in pencil (on the mount); signed, titled 'Morow is Mistery' [sic], notation '51' in ink and stamped 'DB 69' (on the reverse of the mount)
image/sheet: 9½ x 7½in. (24.1 x 19cm.)
mount: 15¾ x 11¾in. (40 x 29.8cm.)
With Tom Jacobson, San Diego;
with Houk Friedman Gallery, New York
Jacobson, Pierre Dubreuil: Photographies 1896-1935, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1987, pl. 13

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Lot Essay

This image, one of Pierre Dubreuil's most personal, was made in 1923, a crucially important year of his life. Having temporarily abandoned photography in 1914 to drive an ambulance for the French army, he returned home to Lille to find that all his camera equipment had been stolen. His daughter died of influenza in 1918, followed three years later by his wife. Devastated by this course of events, Dubreuil did not resume photography until 1923.
The title of the work Demain est Mystère (also known as Tempus Fugit) suggests Dubreuil's uncertainty about his own future. The world of Pictorial photography, which he was poised to re-enter, had lost its currency. Dubreuil was uncertain which path to take when he took this magnificent photograph, yet supremely aware that he must make a decision before too much time had elapsed.

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