Nude Floating in Pool, 1939 Gelatin silver print, mounted on slick white board, signed and dated in pencil on the mount; numbered 'N39-C-2' by the photographer in pencil on mount verso, framed. 7 1/2 x 9 1/2in
Provenance: From the photographer to Zilpha Riley, ca. 1942 By descent to present owner
Literature: Amy Conger, Edward Weston: Photographs from the Collection of the Center of Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, Tucson, 1992, fig. 1500
Ben Maddow, Edward Weston: His Life and Photographs, Aperture, Millerton, New York, 1989, p. 241
Gilles Mora (editor), Edward Weston: Forms of Passion, H.N. Abrams, New York, 1995, p. 298
Ben Maddow, Edward Weston: Fifty Years, Aperture, 1973, p. 241
David Travis, Edward Weston: The Last Years in Carmel, Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2001, p. 71
Many prints of this image, printed later by Edward's son, Cole, often appear on the market. However, this is the first time a vintage print has come to auction. The owner, Zilpha Riley, acquired it around 1942, either as a gift directly from the photographer or as a purchase. She came to know and become friends with Charis and Edward Weston through Charis's father, Harry Leon Wilson. She had read many of Wilson's books, a novelist and playwright. She wrote him, telling him how much she enjoyed his work; he wrote back and they became pen pals. Later he invited her to his home in Carmel, where she met Charis and Edward. There are over 100 letters, excerpts, memoirs and commentary regarding Zilpha's relationship with Harry and his children at U.C. Berkeley Bancroft Library. When she saw the photograph of Charis floating in her father's swimming pool, Zilpha said Charis looked like a 'floating goddess'. After Zilpha's death in 1965, the photograph was put in storage until family members discovered it recently amongst her property.
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