Hiromu Kira (1898-1991); The Thinker;
Lot 33
Hiromu Kira
(1898-1991)
The Thinker
Sold for US$ 27,500 inc. premium

Photographs

28 Apr 2015, 13:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
Hiromu Kira (1898-1991); The Thinker;
Hiromu Kira (1898-1991)
The Thinker, c. 1930
Toned bromide print, mounted to black paper.
10 1/4 x 13 3/16in

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Collection of Hiromu Kira, Los Angeles.
    Acquired directly from the above by Kango Takamura, Los Angeles (1895-1990).
    By descent to Togo W. Tanaka, Los Angeles (son-in-law of Kango Takamura).
    The Estate of Tago W. Tanaka, Los Angeles (1916-2010).

    Exhibited
    George J. Doizaki Gallery, Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center, Los Angeles, Japanese Photography in America, 1920-1940, 19 April-1 June 1986, and traveling thereafter to the Oakland Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., from 1988-1989.

    Literature
    Vanity Fair 36, No. 1 (March 1931), p. 42.
    'Hiromu Kira, Still Life Photography,' Camera Craft, August 1928 (vol. XXXV, no. 8), p. 353.
    Dennis Reed, Japanese Photography in America, 1920-1940, Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Los Angeles, 1985, p. 173, plate 64 (this print).
    Chang, Johnson, Karlstrom, Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 2008, p. 157, fig. 130.

    In the early decades of the twentieth century, the Pictorialist movement was paramount for many photographers on the west coast of the U.S., and bromide was their favored photographic medium. Hiromu Kira and Kango Takamura were active participants of Pictorialism and were part of a thriving community of Japanese American photographers living and exhibiting their work in Los Angeles. Kira was particularly influenced by the avant-garde photography of certain European artists at the Bauhaus like Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and locally by Edward Weston, who exhibited his photographs in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo between 1925 and 1931. Kiru even collected several of Weston's images.
    Though most of Kira's subject matter was still life, the circumstances of how he came to shoot this image are unique. At the time, he was working at T. Iwata's Camera shop when a customer came in, purchased an expensive camera, but needed some instruction in how to fully operate it. Kira and the customer went to several locations, including the Hollywood Dam. There Kira asked the customer to sit on the steps and took this image. The visual simplicity of the image of the repetitive shapes, accentuated by one sole sided figure, is a synthesis of western modernity and Asian sensibility. Dennis Reed, the Japanese-American photography authority of Kira prints has commented that "this is one of his finest photographs."
    As with many art works by the Japanese American artists, much of it was abandoned, lost or destroyed during WWII. Three other prints of this image have been located: in the Collection of Dennis Reed, Glendale, California; the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and a private collection.
    The photograph offered here is believed to be the only print of this image to have been offered at auction.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armour, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $250,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $250,001 to $4,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12.5% on the excess over $4,000,001 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Customer Services & Bids (Los Angeles)
    Customer services
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 323 850 7500
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 6090
  2. Customer Services & Bids (New York)
    Customer services
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 212 644 9001
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9009
  3. Customer Services & Bids (San Francisco)
    Customer services
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 415 861 7500
    FaxFax: +1 415 861 8951
  4. Photographs (US)
    General enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +1 917 206 1653
    FaxFax: +1 212 644 9009
Similar Items