“SUNLIGHT AND SHADOW ON MANHATTAN”: RARE SIGNED LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF MACRAE’S PHOTOGRAPHS, ONE OF ONLY 50 COPIES SIGNED BY HIM, WITH HIS “SUMMER IN NEW YORK” PRINTED FROM THE 1930 NEGATIVE AND SIGNED BY HIM ON THE VERSO
MACRAE, Wendell. Photographs: 1927-1949. New York: Witkin Gallery, (1980). Octavo, original blue cloth, original slipcase. WITH: Contemporary silver print (8 by 5-inches), signed and numbered on print verso, corner mounted in a paper sleeve. $900.
Signed limited first edition, number 28 of only 50 copies signed by MacRae, published to commemorate the first solo exhibit of his work—opening at the prestigious Witkin Gallery in 1980, only two months before MacRae’s death—this rare work also containing a contemporary silver print of MacRae’s “Summer in New York” (circa 1930: plate No. 3), printed from the original negative with the approval of MacRae and signed by him on the verso, print verso also with a penciled copyright and the caption “Print by Edmund Yankov 1980 28/50,” in original slipcase.
Fascinated by the vibrant contrasts of 1930s New York, photographer “Wendell MacRae saw a hushed beauty in machinery and lovely geometries in sunlight and shadow on Manhattan skyscraper facades… In his elegant photographs, whether they’re of hand tools or factories or cityscapes, he seldom lost sight of a gentle human component.” As such, it is surely fitting that the prestigious Witkin Gallery, “the oldest gallery in New York devoted mainly to photography,” highlighted MacRae’s contribution to photography in 1980 with the first solo exhibit of his work (New York Times). Gallery owner Lee Witkin assembled MacRae’s finest images in a show that opened in September 1980, only two months before MacRae’s death, and honored the photographer with publication of this signed limited edition, one of only 50 copies—each copy containing an original contemporary signed print. As Lee Witkin observes herein, the beauty and electricity of 1930s Manhattan, with its “singular blend of new elegance and order… lives on only in cinema, literature and fine photographs like those of Wendell MacRae.” Printed limitation label tipped to blank front free endpaper above MacRae’s penciled signature. With 30 finely screened gravures, including portrait of MacRae by David Crerar and frontispiece. Accompanied by laid-in “Addenda,” and signed 8 by 5-inch print corner-mounted in a paper sleeve. Issued the same year as a trade edition in wrappers (2000 copies).
A fine copy and print.