Posts Tagged ‘Harry Callahan’

Home | Contemporary Complementary

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Harry Callahan
Chicago (Trees In Snow), 1950
Gelatin silver print, printed later
Est $10,000 > 15,000



Gaetano Pesce
Up4 sofa, c 1969
Polyurethane foam and stretch fabric upholstery
Est $3,000 > 5,000





Sotheby’s
Contemporary Living
– Photographs, Prints & Design

New York City | USA
Exhibition 18 > 25 July 2015
Sale 22 July 2015





George Nakashima
Mira chair, c 1956
Property of a New Jersey family
American black walnut
Est $700 > 900



If you bought everything in this sale you could probably only furnish one Soho House. But what about your own house, your own apartment? Unless you approach sales like this one with a plan, you’re likely to end up taking home a disparate group of expensive items that are neither use, nor ornament. The combinations might seem endless, but if you’re clever you’ll select individual pieces and assemble groupings that dovetail so easily together that they simply belong that way and couldn’t be better arranged.

You could go for the set of four Captain chairs by George Nakashima and use them with the Trestle table by the same designer. If necessary, Nakashima’s wonderfully sculptural, stand-alone Mira, three-legged chair could be pulled up to the table for an unexpected guest. For a more eclectic mix, there’s a set of six Brazilian dining chairs that would complement the same table. There again, especially for a small dining space that needs to fulfil other uses, Ludwig Walser’s industrial-looking, stackable fibre cement garden seats for Eternit would work on a wood floor indoors, paired with Paul Kjaerholm’s Academy desk, designed for the School of Architecture, Royal Academy, Copenhagen. Another option might be to invite your guests to squat down, Japanese-style, on the floor and to serve dinner on Sergio Rodrigues’s Mucki long bench, in which case you’d need to source a nice, complementary rug from elsewhere.

Ludwig Walser
Four garden seats, c 1960s
Fibre cement
Est $5,000 > 7,000



Alfred Hendrickx
Cabinet, c 1960
Rosewood and chromium-plated metal
Est $ 3,000 > 5,000



Robert Motherwell
Red Sea II (Walker Art Center 242), 1979
Etching and aquatint printed in colours,
on German etching paper, framed plate
Est $5 > 7,000



Poul Kjaerholm
Academy desk for The School of Architecture,
Royal Academy, Copenhagen, c 1955

Oregon pine and chromium-plated steel
Est $3,000 > 5,000



For cosiness Gaetano Pesce’s UP4 sofa, designed in 1969, that reference’s Salvador Dalí’s famous Mae West Lips sofa (1937) will add warmth to your seating area and sit well with Sergio Rodrigues’s Coffee table. The light and airy feel of Fernando and Humberto Campana’s Poltrona Cone chair made from clear polycarbonate and chromium-plated metal would contrast well with the sofa. You’d have to put a graphic print, or strongly coloured cushion on it to prevent it from looking too cold. If you went down this route, perhaps exchanging the glass-topped coffee table for Greta Magnusson Grossman’s wooden Low Bench that could be used for the same purpose would be a good idea. Having done this, it could be worth bidding for Magnusson Grossman’s matching Flip-Top dining table as well, bearing in mind that there’s only a single dining chair of hers in this sale, so you’d have to either shop around, or opt for the six Brazilian dining chairs, which would need to be re-upholstered in a colour that doesn’t clash with the red sofa. But, there again you could select an alternative sofa, like Joaquim Tenreiro’s Sofa, which would require an injection of nearby colour – say, Homage to the Square: ten framed screenprinted works by Joseph Albers, that could be used en masse as a backdrop. If that’s all a bit too colourful, or you need an energy injection, there’s always Robert Motherwell’s Red Sea II (Walker Art Center) print.

André Kertész
Chez Mondrian, Paris, 1926
Gelatin silver print, printed later
Est $5,000 > 7,000



Joe Colombo’s Spider ceiling light would be nice for mood lighting with any of the above, and there are a couple of 1940s Italian table lamps, either one of which would sit happily on top of Alfred Hendrickx rosewood cabinet, with Harry Callahan’s minimal, starkly monochromatic Chicago (Trees in Snow) hung on the wall above it, the linear organic shapes softening the geometry of the Albers, should you decide to go for them. Then again, there’s photographer André Kertész’s atmospheric Chez Mondrian, Paris black and white photograph that you could design an entire house around…

… But this is just us thinking out loud while scrolling through the 249 lots in Sotheby’s Contemporary Living – Photographs, Prints & Design sale. If you happen to be in New York on the viewing days, go along and see the free exhibition, where you’ll get a far better idea of the relative sizes of the various pieces, how they might work together, and whether they’ll fit your home or suit your lifestyle.

Photographs courtesy Sotheby’s


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Photography | Harry Callahan in the City

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Chicago, 1961
Gelatin silver print


Harry Callahan: City
Pace/MacGill Gallery
32 East 57th Street, New York City, USA
9th January – 8th March, 2014

Every bit the committed educationalist he was for much of his working life: ‘Wanting to see more makes you grow as a person and growing makes you want to show more of life around you…’ Callahan (1912-1999) wrote in the monograph, Harry Callahan: Photographs, published by El Mochuelo Gallery, Santa Barbara in 1964.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, as a young man he worked at Chrysler, before leaving to study engineering, but, in 1938, began to teach himself photography. Attending an inspirational talk by Ansel Adams in 1941, and meeting Alfred Stieglitz the following year, he made up his mind to be a full-time photography. By 1946, Callahan, at 34, his talent having been noticed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was invited to put on his first solo exhibition there – seen by László Moholy-Nagy, who asked him to teach at the Institute of Design in Chicago (formerly known as the New Bauhaus). Staying until 1961 he moved on to establish a photography programme at the Rhode Island School of Design, teaching there until his retirement in 1977.

Moholy-Nagy had spotted that Callahan, like himself, was a modernist unafraid of using individual and intuitive methods to create his photographic images. Experimentalist, Callahan used both large and small format cameras and film, exploring double and triple exposure, as well as blurring. The exceptional creative breadth and investigative depth of his artistic process, paired with his rigorous devotion to craftsmanship, distinguish his works as masterpieces of modern photography.

Callahan’s photography was a deeply personal response to his own life. From 1948 to 1953 his wife Eleanor, and sometimes his daughter, Barbara – both of whom figured as the prime subject matter for a large number of his portraits and studies – appeared in his city and landscape photography, populating it and providing apparently incidental counterpoints to large expanses of parkland, skyline or water. The photographer’s other great theme was nature, which he shot without sentimentality, typically capturing the essence of the seasons and of plant forms in clean, stripped down, almost zen-like compositions.

Untitled, c 1954
Vintage gelatin silver print


Chicago, 1950
Vintage gelatin silver print


New York, 1974
Vintage gelatin silver print


His photographic method, woven in around his teaching commitments, was to leave home almost in the mornings, walk the streets of whichever city he was living in, and take numerous pictures. He would spend his afternoons editing and making proof prints of the day’s best shots. Other than his 100,000 negatives and over 10,000 proof prints (reported elsewhere as 40,000 negatives and 800 ‘pictures’) Callahan, in his own estimation, he is said to have claimed that he produced no more than half a dozen final images per year. He left few written records – no diaries, letters, scrapbooks or teaching notes, however, The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, maintains his photographic archives. His estate is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York City – who also represent the work of masters of photography such as Diane Arbus, Chuck Close, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Hiro, Irving Penn, Paolo Roversi, Hiroshi Sugimoto, William Wegman and Garry Winogrand – which is presenting the forthcoming exhibition Harry Callahan: City.

Callahan’s city pictures present the everyday urban environment from unexpected points of view. At a time when descriptive realism was the dominant aesthetic in American photography, his quest for conceptual expression went beyond the cityscape to express the urban state of mind. His series of faces of ‘women lost in thought’ on the streets of Chicago from 1950, for example, are psychological portraits of the city, amongst its physical architectural space.

A recipient of many distinctions, Callahan was the first photographer chosen to represent the United States at the 1978 Venice Biennial. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions at institutions such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Center for Creative Photography, Arizona. Examples of his oeuvre are included in the collections of major museums worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

All images ©The Estate of Harry Callahan
Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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