“A CRAFTSMAN OF GENIUS”: SPLENDID LIMITED ELEPHANT FOLIO SUITE OF 12 HAND-PULLED PHOTOGRAVURES BY EDWARD STEICHEN, SIGNED BY BEAUMONT NEWHALL AND MARY STEICHEN CALDERONE
STEICHEN, Edward. The Early Years 1900-1927. (New York: Aperture, 1981). Large elephant folio (17 by 21 inches), original ivory self-wrappers; pp. 8. WITH: Elephant folio suite of 12 original photogravures. Housed in publisher’s woven-silk portfolio. $5500.
Signed limited first edition, number 182 of 1000 copies, signed by photographer Beaumont Newhall and Steichen’s daughter Mary Steichen Calderone on text pages three and five, respectively. Included are Steichen’s “The Flatiron,” “In Memoriam,” Moonrise” and “Heavy Roses.”
“In a career that spanned 77 years, Steichen became the country’s most celebrated and highest-priced photographer… a craftsman of genius” (McDarrah & McDarrah, 468). Toward the end of his life Steichen approached Aperture with the idea of publishing his early photographs as hand-pulled photogravures. Intrigued by the project, they enlisted “many years and the talents of many people” to recapture this “exquisite, all-but-forgotten process.” This limited edition of 12 hand-pulled photogravures features some of Steichen’s most memorable images. Perhaps most renowned is his 1905 rendering of New York’s Flatiron Building, a photograph that “is a dramatic representation of that moment at dusk when the sky turns a leaden blue-green and highlights glow in the half-light… There is no clearer example of an early modernist photographic composition, one that combines contemporary Pictorial expression in art… alive with the gestures of living in New York just as it becomes a vital, international metropolis” (Frizot, 318). This edition is one of 500 using photogravures printed on Rives BFK, with the remaining 500 editions printed on Papier Duchene. An additional 100 artist proofs of the suite of 12 photogravures were also produced. With essays by Newhall and Calderone.
A fine copy of a splendid volume.