| || |
Maud Allan and Century Plant
6 1/4 x 4 1/4 in (15.8 x 10.8 cm)
Swann Galleries - New York
Courtesy of Swann Galleries (Auction, May 22, 2007, #2115, Lot 242)
With Dody Weston Thompson's penciled signature on verso.
Formerly in the collection of Dody Weston Thompson (protégée of Edward and wife of his son Brett).
Edward Weston's early photograph of the beautiful Maud Allan, a dancer who was compared to Isadora Duncan, reflects his interest in Pictorialism. The soft focus, light-infused study of a mysterious female figure in a natural setting prefigures Weston's later exploration of the nude in the landscape and abstract organic forms.
Allan's colorful history is worth mentioning. She fled Canada for Austria after her brother was found guilty of a grisly Jack-the-Ripper-style murder. Soon after, she published an illustrated sex manual for women, and started dancing. Allan made a career out of performing as Salome in the Dance of the Seven Veils. Her notoriety grew in 'The Cult of the Clitoris' libel case in England. Allan's risque performances and gossamer costumes led to her being defamed by the press, who accused her of practicing many of the sexually-charged acts described in Oscar Wilde's text.