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Nude [Miriam Lerner: Hands and Torso]
7 1/2 x 9 in (19.1 x 22.9 cm)
Swann Galleries - New York
Courtesy of Swann Galleries (Auction Oct 21, 2008, Lot 65)
With an "L," in pencil, in an unknown hand, on verso.
Gifted by Weston to Miriam Lerner in 1925; to Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers, Los Angeles, as agent; to Eric Read Aitkin, Yonkers in 1969; by descent to previous owner; by agent to A Private West Coast Collection.
Edward Weston Nudes: His Photographs Accompanied by Excerpts from the Daybooks and Letters, 41.
Edward Weston: Photographs (Conger), unpaginated.
This photograph, which is from a series of Lerner taken by Edward Weston during 1925, reveals a photographer fascinated with, and adept at, depicting the human body as well as an artist moving towards the modernist idiom. The series was a departure from Weston''s early soft-focus photography, and a strong precursor to his later, more fully abstracted nudes. Weston himself recognized that both this series and a later one featuring his son Neil (see Lot 64), mark an important transition in his photographic practices. Subsequently he said the Lerner images influenced his nudes of Anita Brenner.
Here, by not depicting Lerner''s face, Weston''s composition reflects modernist concerns. Her torso twists away from the viewer, and her right elbow disappears out of the picture frame, transforming the body into unusual shapes and irregular forms. At the center is Lerner''s hand, pushing into the curve of her waist, and reminding the viewer of the lush presence of the human form. According to Amy Conger, later that year (after Weston had departed for Mexico, and Lerner for Paris) Weston wrote and promised Lerner prints. He soon wrote again telling her that he had sent eight unmounted proofs "from our last sitting--or was it ''lying''?" Adding, "I hope they reach you safe. Someone seeing your lovely body may wish to steal one! . . . They have been well liked by Charlot - Diego -Tina and others -- especially the twisted torso."