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Harry Callahan (American, 1912–1999)
LOT ID: 73488
Lake Michigan, 1949

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
7.19 х 7.06 in. (18.26 x 17.93 cm.)
Signed, in pencil on print recto with notations in pencil on print verso.
Print/Casting Year ie. circa 1979
Lot description
Printed c. 1979-80.

Harry Callahan (American, October 12, 1912–March 15, 1999) is known for his work in photography. He was born in Detroit, MI. He worked for Chrysler in his youth but left the company to attend Michigan State University to study engineering. Eventually, he dropped out of college and returned to work at Chrysler. Upon his return, he joined the company's camera club, and, by 1938, Callahan had begun teaching himself photography. During this time, he became friends with another future photographer, Todd Webb (American, 1905–2000). Callahan met his wife on a blind date in 1933, when they were both Chrysler employees, and the two married three years later. His method of photography was very technical and precise; every day, he woke up and walked the city where he lived to take photographs. In the afternoons, he would look over his negatives and choose the best ones to make print proofs.

Callahan once estimated that he produced no more than a half dozen finished images each year. He often photographed his wife and daughter, buildings, and streets. His photos showed a strong sense of darkness and light, along with lines and forms. Callahan often experimented with multiple exposures and saw photography as deeply personal. His wife, in particular, held great significance in his work. She was his major subject for a period of 15 years. Callahan gave his photographs simple titles, such as Eleanor, New York, and Chicago. These works are currently in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

Callahan was a unique innovator in American photography. His work is noted as much for his use of color as for black-and-white. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1996 and died in Atlanta in 1999. Callahan left behind some 100,000 negatives and 10,000 proof prints. The University of Arizona maintains his archives, and the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York represents his estate.
Lake Michigan by Harry Callahan
  • Lake Michigan by Harry Callahan
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • Harry Callahan

    Aix en Provence
    gelatin silver print
    (H 12.4, W 9.8) in.
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    Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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    Lot 74038
  • Harry Callahan

    Port Huron, Michigan (Grasses)
    gelatin silver print
    (H 8.0, W 10.2) in.
    (20.3 x 26) cm.
    Sold for: US$5,313
    Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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  • Harry Callahan

    Aix en Provence
    gelatin silver print
    (H 12.4, W 9.8) in.
    (31.4 x 24.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$4,780
    Saturday, November 19, 2011
    Heritage Auctions New York
    Lot 74183
  • Harry Callahan

    Weeds in snow
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 6.0, W 8.3) in.
    (15.3 x 21) cm.
    Sold for: US$4,822
    Friday, November 11, 2011
    Sotheby's Paris
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  • Harry Callahan

    Aix-en-Provence, France
    gelatin silver print
    (H 6.5, W 8.4) in.
    (16.5 x 21.3) cm.
    Sold for: US$4,000
    Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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    Lot 00081
  • Harry Callahan

    Detroit
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 6.0, W 8.2) in.
    (15.2 x 20.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$40,000
    Thursday, October 6, 2011
    Christie's New York
    Lot 00177
  • Harry Callahan

    Aix-en-Provence
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 7, W 9) in.
    (17.8 x 22.9) cm.
    Sold for: US$2,868
    Monday, May 2, 2011
    Heritage Auctions New York
    Lot 74072
  • Harry Callahan

    Aix-en-Provence
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 7.5, W 9.5) in.
    (19.0 x 24.1) cm.
    Sold for: US$3,585
    Monday, May 2, 2011
    Heritage Auctions New York
    Lot 74073
  • Harry Callahan

    Michigan
    gelatin silver print
    (H 7.6, W 9.5) in.
    (19.3 x 24.1) cm.
    Sold for: US$9,375
    Friday, April 8, 2011
    Christie's New York
    Lot 00478
  • Harry Callahan

    Grasses, Wisconsin
    gelatin silver print
    (H 8.1, W 12.3) in.
    (20.5 x 31.2) cm.
    Sold for: US$5,000
    Monday, December 13, 2010
    Christie's New York
    Lot 00054
  • Harry Callahan

    Aix-en-Provence (Weed against black)
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 8.1, W 6.4) in.
    (20.6 x 16.2) cm.
    Sold for: US$7,500
    Wednesday, October 6, 2010
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00097
  • Harry Callahan

    Aix-en-Provence
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 13.6, W 10.6) in.
    (34.6 x 27) cm.
    Sold for: US$5,000
    Friday, April 16, 2010
    Phillips de Pury & Company New York
    Lot 00290
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