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Bill Brandt (British, 1904–1983)
LOT ID: 72714
Hampstead, London, 1952

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
13.5 х 11.5 in. (34.29 x 29.21 cm.)
Signed, recto
Print/Casting Year ie. circa 1980
Lot description
34.3 x 29.2 cm

Bill Brandt (1904–83), the most admired British photographer of the 20th century. He was also, and remains, one of the most mysterious. He liked it to be thought that he had been born in south London but he was actually born in Hamburg, the son of an English father and German mother. The Brandts were international merchants and bankers. Bill Brandt chose a quite different career. His imagination was formed by a cosmopolitan background, including his native Germany (which he came to hate), a crucial period of two and a half years' treatment for tuberculosis in Switzerland in the mid‐1920s, training in a Vienna portrait studio in 1928, followed by three months studying with Man Ray in Paris—in the heyday of Surrealism—in1929. It was in England, where Brandt settled in 1931, that his varied apprenticeship came to fruition. His first book, The English at Home (1936), made full use of the upstairs/downstairs lives in the country houses and London mansions of his banker uncles. Brandt presented a series of piercingly vivid photographs but also powerful juxtapositions from plate to plate. The newly invented flash bulb had become available in 1931 and Brandt—a warm admirer of Brassaï—made good use of it in this and his next book, A Night in London (1938). Once more he explored all levels of society. In 1937, his concern aroused by the Jarrow Crusade (1936), Brandt photographed in the north of England, creating such stark classics as Coal Searcher Going Home, Heworth, Tyneside. Brandt was entranced by the blacked‐out London of the ‘Phoney War’ period, which he captured in a series of long exposures. For the Ministry of Information he photographed the Underground stations, turned into ad hoc bomb shelters during the Blitz of 1940. He was constantly at work during the war, photographing all manner of subjects for leading magazines such as Lilliput and Picture Post. This period is summed up in his Camera in London (1948), which also contains his longest—if brief—writing on photography. Among his major subjects during the 1940s were portraiture and landscape. Literary Britain (1951) paired landscapes with the words of the writers associated with them. In 1945 Brandt acquired a Kodak police camera with a wide‐angle lens and began another project—the prolonged photographic study which was eventually published as Perspective of Nudes (1961). He wanted, he said, to see like a mouse, a fish, or a fly. With this camera, and later a Hasselblad with a Superwide lens, Brandt reinvented the nude. He summed up his great career with the book Shadow of Light in 1966, followed in 1969 by a retrospective at MoMA, New York. It was shown at the Hayward Gallery, London, and other British centres and changed the climate of opinion about photography as an art.[jrank.org]
Hampstead, London by Bill Brandt
  • Hampstead, London by Bill Brandt
  • Hampstead, London by Bill Brandt
  • Hampstead, London by Bill Brandt
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • Bill Brandt

    Nude
    gelatin silver print, mntd
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    Lot 00114
  • Bill Brandt

    Nude, East Sussex coast
    gelatin silver print
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  • Bill Brandt

    Reclining nude
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  • Bill Brandt

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    Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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  • Bill Brandt

    Untitled (nude)
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  • Bill Brandt

    Saint-Cyprien, France
    gelatin silver print
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    Sold for: US$3,288
    Friday, May 27, 2011
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    Lot 00157
  • Bill Brandt

    Vastérival, Normandie
    gelatin silver print
    (H 13.2, W 11.4) in.
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    Friday, May 27, 2011
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  • Bill Brandt

    Nude, Baie des Anges, France
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 13.5, W 11.5) in.
    (34.2 x 29.1) cm.
    Sold for: US$4,813
    Thursday, May 26, 2011
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    Lot 01316
  • Bill Brandt

    East Sussex coast
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 10.0, W 7.0) in.
    (25.3 x 17.7) cm.
    Sold for: US$5,165
    Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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    Lot 00079
  • Bill Brandt

    London, July
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 13.4, W 11.5) in.
    (34 x 29.2) cm.
    Sold for: US$3,500
    Saturday, April 9, 2011
    Phillips de Pury & Company New York
    Lot 00063
  • Bill Brandt

    Young girl, Eaton Place
    gelatin silver print
    (H 13.4, W 11.5) in.
    (34 x 29.2) cm.
    Sold for: US$5,000
    Friday, April 8, 2011
    Christie's New York
    Lot 00403
  • Bill Brandt

    Nude, Hampstead, London
    gelatin silver print
    (H 10, W 8.0) in.
    (25.4 x 20.3) cm.
    Sold for: US$4,317
    Friday, May 21, 2010
    Christie's South Kensington
    Lot 00026
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