Edward Weston


"Undulating Sand [Mather on Beach]," 1923

Palladium print on paper hinged to a thin board mount
Signed, titled, and dated in pencil at the lower edge of the mount: Edward Weston; signed and dated again, inscribed and with notations in pencil, all verso: California
Image/Sheet: 6.875" H x 9.187" W; Mount: 18" H x 14" W

  • Provenance: The Artist
    Frederick W. Davis, acquired from the above
    Private Collection, Southern California, by descent from the above
  • Literature:
    "Mr. Edward Weston, Fotografo de fama mundial que ayer inauguro una Exposicion de sus Obras Admirables," "El Universal Ilustrado," October 18, 1923, sec. 2, 1.
    [Illustrated as: Untitled (Portrait of Edward Weston by unidentified photographer)]
  • Notes: In the spring of 1923, Edward Weston began seriously planning for his long-anticipated exit from Glendale. After learning that his friend Johan Hagemeyer intended to travel from San Francisco to see him before he departed for Mexico, Weston cautioned: "If possible let me know when you expect to leave—so that I may plan ahead. I am going on a little adventure the latter part of this week—to be away for two or three days—and do not want to miss you….This trip just mentioned is a kind of farewell—so you will understand."(1) In early April, he entrusted his studio in Glendale to Tina Modotti and left for a brief stay in Redondo Beach. His "little adventure" turned out to be a holiday spent with his colleague and former lover, Margrethe Mather, and their mutual friend, Ramiel McGehee. The three whiled away several hours on a nearby beach where Weston photographed Mather posing in the nude. At least half a dozen images exist from this series, including "Undulating Sand," in which Mather leans against a rippling sand dune, her face obscured, her body casting an elongated, misshapen shadow, as the sun makes its inevitable journey across the late afternoon sky.(2)

    Weston's first exhibition in Mexico City took place in late October 1923 at Aztec Land, a curio shop that often displayed work by local artists. While preparing for his show, he had taken many photographs of his current surroundings and new acquaintances, but he had also reprinted a few negatives made in California. Among the approximately seventy-five photographs Weston chose to display were several of his images of Mather in Redondo Beach, including "Undulating Sand," which is discussed in an article about the show published in the October 18 issue of the "El Universal Ilustrado" newspaper.(3) A second mention of Undulating Sand appears in the November issue of "El Automóvil en México."(4) Weston was delighted by the reception his work received, and on October 30 he told his journal: "The exhibit has been open for over a week; it is a success, I have done what I expected to do, created a sensation in Mexico City. Roubicek, the owner of ‘Aztec Land,' told me he has never had such an attendance to any previous exhibitions."(5) Five days later, Weston speculated that as many as 1,000 people had visited his show. He also noted: "Of the eight prints sold, six were nudes of Margrethe made that last terrific week with her, before leaving for Mexico."(6)

    (1) Edward Weston to Johan Hagemeyer, April 9, 1923, Edward Weston/Johan Hagemeyer Collection, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
    (2) See the other images from this series illustrated in Amy Conger, "Edward Weston: Photographs" (Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, 1992), figs. 92-95.
    (3) See "Mr. Edward Weston, Fotôgrapho de Fama Mundial que Ayer Inauguró una Exposición de sus Admirables Trabajos," "El Universal Ilustrado" [Mexico City], October 18, 1923, sec. 2, 1. Citation courtesy of Susan Herzig & Paul Hertzmann, Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, CA.
    (4) C. J. Ocampo, "Las Fotografias de Edward Weston," "El Automóvil en México," November 1923, 15. Citation courtesy of Susan Herzig & Paul Hertzmann, Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, CA.
    (5) Edward Weston, "The Daybooks of Edward Weston: Vol. 1 Mexico," ed. Nancy Newhall (Millerton, NY: Aperture, 1973), 25. [October 30, 1923].
    (6) Ibid., 27. [November 4, 1923].

    We are grateful to Paul Hertzmann of Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., San Francisco, for his assistance in cataloguing this work and to Beth Gates Warren for her essay contribution and assistance in cataloguing this work.
  • Condition: Available upon request.

    Framed under double-sided Plexiglas: 26" H x 22" W x 1" D

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