Edward Weston (1886-1958)
Edward Weston (1886-1958)

Pepper (2P), 1929

Edward Weston (1886-1958)
Pepper (2P), 1929
gelatin silver print, mounted on original card
signed and dated in pencil (mount, recto)
image/sheet: 9 ½ x 7 ½ in. (24.2 x 19.1 cm.)
mount: 10 x 7 ¾ in. (25.4 x 19.8 cm.)
The artist;
The Estate of Tina Modotti (1896-1942);
Sotheby's, New York, May 8, 1984, lot 357;
Christie's, New York, April 23 & 24, 2007, lot 218;
Acquired at the above sale through agent.
Edward Weston, 'Photography - Not Pictorial,' Camera Craft, vol. 37, no. 7, July 1930, p. 315.
Merle Armitage (ed.), Fifty Photographs: Edward Weston, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1947, pl. 27.
Keith F. Davis, Edward Weston: One Hundred Photographs from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Hallmark Photographic Collection, Rockhill Nelson Trust, 1982, p. 15.
Amy Conger, Edward Weston: Photographs, Center for Creative Photography, 1992, fig. 564/1929.
Susan Danly et al., Edward Weston: A Legacy, Merrell, London, 2003, pl. 2, p. 108.


As documented in his Daybooks, Edward Weston recognized the summer of 1929 as the start of a particularly significant, prolific period in his oeuvre. He devoted much of this time to photographing wonderfully textured, twisted vegetables, notably peppers of ‘marvelous convolutions’ whose intriguing forms enamored Weston so fully they distracted him from producing commissioned works. This infatuation with the pepper as ideal photographic subject is best explained by the artist himself:

I have done perhaps fifty negatives of peppers: because of the endless variety in form manifestations, because of the extraordinary surface texture, because of the power, the force suggested in their amazing convolutions.

Most photographs from this time showcase the vegetable centered simply against a dark burlap background (see lot 200) but at least four negatives depict a clear glass plate in front of a white surface. The present lot is inarguably the most stunning of the latter and was considered the most popular; Weston recorded twelve prints of it in his log (Conger, 564/1929). The light backdrop and subtle, curved highlights of the plate synchronize perfectly with the subject’s lush surface, to ethereal ends. These aesthetic details coupled with a matte paper surface – so rich it mimics the pepper skin itself – produces the visceral effect for viewers so commonly and effortlessly produced by Weston’s tactile prints. This precise effect was described poetically by one of Weston’s models, Bertha Wardell: ‘What you do awakes in me so strong a response that I must in all joy tell you… Your photographs are as definite an experience to the spirit as a whiplash to the body.’

The present lot benefits from distinguished provenance, having belonged to Italian photographer Tina Modotti (1896-1942), Weston’s influential muse, lover and collaborator during his tenure in Mexico. During these formative ‘Mexico Years’ Modotti’s support and friendship were critical for Weston’s artistic development and her discerning eye and opinion invaluable. Considering Modotti’s intimate familiarity with Weston’s images, it is significant that the superlative Pepper (2P) was included in her personal collection.

更多来自 当代视野之摄影典范