These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more William Eggleston’s radical approach to colour photography has positioned him as one of the most influential photographers of the past century. His 1976 show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was initially derided as ‘the most hated show of the year’; colour photography was associated with photojournalism, advertising, and declared ‘vulgar’ by elder statesmen such as Walker Evans. Ultimately the exhibition was to have a colossal impact and Eggleston’s images of everyday life in America challenged preconceptions of what a fine-art photograph could be. His photographs have come to be celebrated for their democratic, honest and inspired qualities. In this present lot, we see his beautifully poised shot of a boarded-up record store has an elegiac splendour. The building’s cladding – painted in broad panels of black, white, yellow and green – is fading and peeling in bright sunlight. A candy-striped parasol stands theatrically in the forecourt, a blue flag at its pinnacle following the yellow arrow in the shop’s defunct electric sign: both point round the corner to a zone of shadow. The flag also echoes the sharp triangles of searing blue sky that slice the composition’s upper left and right extremes. Such rich sensitivity to colour, form and detail allowed Eggleston to monumentalise everyday scenes, often with a critical eye upon the shifting social and physical landscapes of his native South. Suburban life and car culture were in ascendance as he came of age, the Old South in transition to the new. The subject in Untitled appears to be the home of Target Records, a country music label founded in early 1971 in New Bern, North Carolina. Late in 1971, the label signed a distribution deal with Nashville-based Mega Records, and moved its headquarters to Nashville; by the end of 1972, the label was out of business.

Untitled, 1971-2012

Untitled, 1971-2012
archival pigment print
signed in ink, titled, dated and numbered '1/2' in pencil on photographers credit label (verso)
image: 31 ¼ x 47 ½ in. (79.4 x 120.7 cm.)
sheet: 41 ¼ x 58 ¾ in. (105 X 149 cm.)
This work is number one from the edition of two.
Gagosian Gallery, California.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
California, Gagosian Gallery, William Eggleston: Los Alamos, 27 September – 10 November 2012.
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Olivia Taylor
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