NEW YORK – Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process used for high-quality photo reproduction. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, Jasper52 will conduct an online auction of more than 50 vintage gravures that boasts several of the most significant women in photography history. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
The famous Lady at a Masked Ball by Diane Arbus, groundbreaking photo-journalism by Dorothea Lange, and a humanist view by revolutionary political activist Tina Modotti are just a small sample of the treasures in this sale.
The auction starts with Hoboken Ferry, a 1930s aerial view of the terminal on the Hudson River waterfront by Berenice Alice Abbott (1989-1991). Abbott was an American photographer known for her portraits of between-the-wars 20th-century cultural figures, New York City photographs of architecture and urban design of the 1930s, and science interpretation in the 1940s–1960s.
Another New York subject is Lady at a Masked Ball by Diane Arbus (1923-1971). Numbered 288/1000, this gravure was printed in the 1970s in Italy. Arbus was an American photographer often regarded as one of the most influential and provocative artists of the 20th century, and the best-known female photographer of her generation. Her most recognizable photos are of marginalized people.
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Dustbowl/Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration. Her photograph of a well-dressed mother and child on a San Francisco sidewalk was taken two decades later. In 1945 Ansel Adams invited Lange to join the faculty at the first fine art photography department at the California School of Fine Art, now known as San Francisco Art Institute. In 1952, she co-founded the photographic magazine Aperture. The gravure in the Jasper52 auction is from that period.
Also accepting Adams’ invitation to join the faculty at the CSFA was Imogene Cunningham (1883-1976), an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes and industrial landscapes. Her resume included working as a photographer for Vanity Fair in the 1930s. Her portrait of Martha Graham, the famous American modern dancer and choreographer, is from that period of her career. The gravure in the auction was printed in the 1970s in Switzerland.
Tina Modotti (1896-1942) was an Italian photographer, model, actress and revolutionary political activist. In 1922 she moved to Mexico with American photographer Edward Weston, where she became an active Communist. Together they opened a portrait studio in Mexico City and found a community of cultural and political “avant-gardists” that included Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Weston mentored Modotti in photography. Her photograph titled Elegance and Poverty was taken in 1927. The gravure in the Jasper52 auction was printed in Italy in the 1970s.
At the age of 17, art student Carole Thomas began working with American photographer W. Eugene Smith in 1959, an affair that lasted nine years. She is credited with helping him produce his magnum opus, the Big Book, a 350-page retrospective book that eventually contained 450 photographs spanning his career. A sample of her work is Peace Rally in Central Park, 1967. The gravure in the auction was printed in the late 1960s in Italy.
The Jasper52 Vintage Gravures: Female Photographers auction will be conducted Wednesday, Feb. 13, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern time.