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EDWARD WESTON (1886-1958)
EDWARD WESTON (1886-1958)

Palma Cuernavaca, Mexico

EDWARD WESTON (1886-1958)
Palma Cuernavaca, Mexico
Gelatin silver print. 1924. Partially signed and notated Mexico in pencil on the mount; signed and dated in pencil on the detached overmat.
9.5/8 x 7.5/8in. (24.4 x 19.4cm.)
With Weston Gallery, Carmel;
to the present owner.
See: Newhall, Supreme Instants: The Photography of Edward Weston, pl. 13; Conger, Edward Weston: Photographs, fig. 135.

Lot Essay

In August 1924, Weston traveled to Cuernavaca to stay at the home of a friend. It was there that he came upon the palm and was struck by its monumental presence. In his Daybooks he relates the trip and his experiences.

Back home after five days in Cuernavaca, where we had the use of Mrs. Moats' lovely house for the week...There are many things to remember...Impossible to work photographically...quite too picturesque. But in the gardens of Fred Davis I responded to a towering plam which, seen through my short lens with the camera tilted almost straight up, seemed to touch the sky. I have already printed from the negative and those who have seen it respond with exclamations of delight. Its a great cylindrical, almost white trunk, brilliant in the sun, topped by a circle of dark but sungleaming leaves; it cuts the plate diagonally from a base of white clouds.

...The print from the new palm negative is chemically and emotionally beautiful. It is the result of only two attempts, the first one - but for a defect in the paper - would have been as good. Most of the prints from negatives made with direct creative intent are also the result of but little experimenting; usually two or three prints suffice. Or rather I should say that because of the cost I can afford to make but few prints, sometimes but one - and of course I am not always entirely happy.

...Monna said to me last night, seeing my new photograph of the palm. "Ah, Edward, that is one of the finest things you have ever done. Aesthetically it has the same value as your smoke stacks." Just the trunk of the palm towering up into the sky; not even a real one - a palm on a piece of paper, a reproduction of nature; I wonder why it should affect one emotionally - and I wonder what prompted me to record it. Many photographs might have been done of this palm, and they would be just a photograph of a palm - Yet this picture is but a photograph of a palm, plus something - something - and I cannot quite say what that something is - and who is there to tell me? (Daybooks I, Mexico, pp. 90-91, 94.)

For other works by this artist please see lots 30 and 262-266.

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