A rare and early print of Edward Weston's famed Two Shells is to lead bids at Sotheby's New York on April 5, as part of its The Modern Image: Photographs from an Important American Collection auction.
The print (1927) is expected to sell for $600,000-900,000. It will face stiff competition from another Weston print selling at Christie's on April 4, valued at $400,000-600,000.
Edward Weston's shell photographs are perhaps the most important in his oeuvre and, as Sotheby's states, their significance to the history of art cannot be overestimated. They represent years of evolution in the artist's career, presenting deceptively simple arrangements to powerful effect.
The example of Two Shells in the sale is printed on matte-surface paper and affixed to a large buff mount, and precedes the numbered edition prints that would follow. It carries only Weston's early signature and date on the mount.
Weston would change to glossy paper later in the 1920s, giving his photographs a very different feel. He recorded 18 prints of this study in his negative log, though few of the early matte examples have been located.
Weston's print leads the sale by a considerable margin, with the second highest estimate held by Robert Frank's Hoboken at $150,000-250,000. Another early example, printed no later than 1966, it was originally acquired by photographer Sol Mednick, who then donated it to the Philadelphia College of Art.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a signed copy of Yousef Karsh's Fifty-Year Retrospective, a collection of the finest works from Britain's former leading portrait artist. See more of the art and photography for sale in our online store.
Recent and related articles
· Irving Penn's Picasso portrait to be snapped up at $80,000? | 14 March 2013
· Christie's First Open sale achieves record $12.5m in New York | 11 March 2013
· Ansel Adams' Grand Tetons and the Snake River to auction | 29 January 2013
Guides and analysis