“HIS STUDIES RADICALLY ALTERED THE UNDERSTANDING OF MOTION”: ORIGINAL MUYBRIDGE LARGE FOLIO PLATE OF A PIGEON IN FLIGHT
MUYBRIDGE, Eadweard. “Pigeon Flying,” Plate 755 from Animal Locomotion. [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1887]. Single large folio sheet, measuring 23-1/2 by 18 inches (colotype image measures 15-3/4 by 7-1/4 inches, apart from letterpress); mat size: 26-3/4 by 21 inches. $1800.
Original “Author’s Edition” collotype of multiple sequential studies of a flying pigeon, from the most significant photographic work on the natural motion of animals.
To settle a $25,000 bet that a galloping horse leaves the ground completely, former governor of California Leland Stanford hired photographer Eadweard Muybridge to determine whether or not his claim might be true. Muybridge designed an elaborate photographic system that combined batteries of multiple cameras with rapid shutter mechanisms, in an effort to capture the horse with all four feet off the ground. Stanford won his bet. These were the first successful sequential photographs of rapidly moving objects, and Muybridge would devote the rest of his life to similar photographic studies— with the help of painter Thomas Eakins, who successfully persuaded the University of Pennsylvania to subsidize Muybridge’s further experimentations. Between 1884 and 1886 Muybridge and his team produced 20,000 negatives of various animals and humans in motion, which were then arranged on 781 plates and printed in 1887 as Animal Locomotion. This magnificent sequence of a pigeon in flight is plate number 755, with penciled caption in bottom corner, “Pigeon flying.” See Frizot, 244ff.; Grolier, Truthful Lens 123.
Professionally cleaned, archivally matted. A historic piece. Scarce.