“AN INDELIBLE MARK ON THE WORLD AND A SPIRIT THAT WILL ENDURE”: VINTAGE GELATIN SILVER PRINT FROM W. EUGENE SMITH’S PRIVATE COLLECTION, FEATURED IN HIS JAPAN… A CHAPTER OF IMAGE
SMITH, W. Eugene. Photograph. Hitachi, Ltd.—Man and Horse by the Sea. No place, circa 1961. Vintage gelatin silver print (measures 11 by 16 inches), matted (total measures 16 by 20 inches), Smith’s estate stamp on print verso, gallery exhibit label on mat verso. $4200.
Vintage gelatin silver print from the estate of W. Eugene Smith, the image of a man and horse on a beach that echoes his profound legacy—a “vision that left such an indelible mark on the world and a spirit that will endure” (Hughes, ix). Taken circa 1961 and chosen for his 1963 photobook Japan… A Chapter of Image, this print with Smith’s estate inkstamp on the verso was featured in a highly praised 1996 New York gallery exhibit.
Recalling Japan’s seagoing economy and rural past, this wonderfully textured gelatin silver print of man leading his horse and cart away from a beached fishing boat highlights the outstanding artistry “layered into W. Eugene Smith’s complex and darkly detailed prints” (Hughes, 425). Taken during a year spent in Japan in the early 1960s, photographing the people and plants of Hitachi Corporation, Smith featured this image in his 1963 photobook Japan… A Chapter of Image. There it is displayed on the same page as the picture of a sleek modern Hitachi hydrofoil (25), a visual interplay that reaffirms Smith’s long fascination with Japan’s striking culture of contrasts. Print with inkstamp on the verso reading “Photograph by W. Eugene Smith: This authenticated photograph was in the private collection of W. Eugene Smith at the time of his death—October 15, 1978.” Mat with small label of New York’s Lowinsky Gallery, which exhibited this print and others from the estate in early 1996.
A fine print.