Galerie Edwynn Houk will present for the first time in our Zurich gallery a selection of prints by the
American photographer, Edward Weston (1886-1958). Weston has long been considered one of the
Modernist Masters of the medium, and certainly one of the most important and highly regarded
photographers from the United States.
From the soft focus, more pictoralist style synonymous with his predecessors, Alfred Stieglitz and Edward
Steichen, the oeuvre of Edward Weston marks the medium’s shift to the straight photograph, of images
rendered in crisp detail and sharp focus. His subject matter was varied and far reaching: nudes, multiple
landscapes, portraits, still lifes, as illustrated by the prints on view. Included are early nudes, exquisitely
composed, of Tina Modotti and Margrethe Mather, and multifarious and indefatigable studies of everyday,
commonplace objects like Excusado, 1925, and Kale Halved, 1930. Also exhibited are some of the most
famous and mature nudes he took of his second wife Charis in the mid 1930s, and later landscapes, like
Tomales Bay, 1937, and Eel River Ranch, 1937, that Weston took when he had secured the funding of a
coveted Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937. He was the first ever photographer to do so. But it is perhaps in
some of his most famous nudes, like Charis in the Doorway, 1936, or in the rich depiction of shells and
vegetables, like Pepper, 1929, that one can decipher Weston’s impeccable technique and his remarkable
sensitivity. Weston, in all of his photographs, relentlessly explored the dichotomy between subject and
form, realism and abstraction. His career was a search for the essence of the thing itself, whether of a nude,
or of a vegetable, or within a landscape.
Throughout his entire career, Weston paid acute attention to how the subject matter appeared in his
viewfinder. He had to see the final picture on the glass plate in the camera before making the exposure,
feeling that the “print is a duplication of all that I saw and felt through my camera.” Weston made copious
notes and wrote particular instructions for how each image should be printed. These prints on view have
been printed by his youngest son Cole Weston (1919-2003). Cole, a photographer in his own right, began
printing his father’s pictures in the late 1940s under Edward’s close supervision, and after his death, Cole
continued to print from his father’s negatives for the next twenty years. As stipulated by Edward Weston’s
will, no further posthumous prints will be made.
Edward Weston was born in Chicago, and moved to California in 1921, where he opened his first studio. He
had his first solo exhibition in New York at the Delphic Studios in 1930. In 1932, he was one of the cofounders,
with Ansel Adams, of Group f.64. He was the subject of his first major retrospective at the
Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1946, with an accompanying monograph published to mark the
occasion. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and publications following his death from
Parkinson’s Disease in 1958.