Iconic and Rare Edward Weston Prints from the Cole Weston Trust.
September 19 - October 24, 2009.
Edward Weston was born in 1886 and died in 1958. He has long been regarded as one of the most important American photographers, one whose signature images - crisply focused renderings of peppers, shells, sand dunes and abstract nudes - are among the seminal Modernist works of the 20th century.
For most of his life, Weston meticulously made his own prints, noting on each negative envelope the various idiosyncrasies of each picture. However, as he got older and the effects of Parkinson's disease began to take a toll, he started to have his sons – first Brett and then Cole - print for him under his strict supervision.
Cole, an accomplished photographer himself, soon became the sole printer of Edward's work, printing for ten years under his direct guidance. After Edward's death in 1958, Cole continued to make posthumous prints until 1988, when he announced he would curtail printing Edward's negatives to concentrate on his own work. A provision in Edward Weston's will stipulated that no one else could make prints from those negatives, all now housed at The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson.
Cole Weston's prints – EW/CWs as they came to be known – were readily available to photography collectors in the 1970s and 1980s. But as the market for photography grew more rarefied and connoisseurs began to focus on the vintage print, EW/CWs came to be somewhat taken for granted. Today, however, it is clear that not only are many of the EW/CW prints quite rare, but there is a special validity to prints made by the photographer's own son.
This exhibition posits a reconsideration of these prints. Selected from the Cole Weston Trust, the prints have been in the Weston family since they were made and have never been offered for sale before. The images are a mix of both iconic and unpublished photographs.
Focusing on Weston's obsession with sensuous form, the show gets to the heart of Weston's work and his passion. As Huntington Curator of Photographs Jennifer Watts has written: "Weston never cropped his photographs. He's really about finding the form and honing in on it in a clear, concise, framed way."
The genius of Edward Weston and the loving craft of his son's prints give us the opportunity to appreciate not only the power and beauty of the images, but also the legacy of a special working relationship between father and son.
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