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Sepia toned photograph of metal basin propped against wall under sink.

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  • Sepia toned photograph of metal basin propped against wall under sink.




Edward Weston
American, 1886–1958

About this artwork

In 1923 Edward Weston embarked on a new life in Mexico, leaving California behind him. He set up a portrait studio with his muse and apprentice, Tina Modotti, who introduced him to such artists as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. Stimulated by the vital Mexican culture—as well as by his previous contacts with the great photographers Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, and Paul Strand—Weston’s soft-focus, painterly style underwent a radical change. “The camera must be used for a recording of life,” he wrote during this period, “for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself.” This simple metal washbowl, which he stored under his sink, is an example of the new and unconventional subjects Weston began to photograph during his Mexican sojourn. In his obsession with clarity of form and precision of image, he pioneered a technique that he called “previsualizing”—looking at a scene through the camera and determining how that would translate to a print; any cropping, trimming, or enlarging of the print was rejected as a betrayal of vision. Here he captured the worn metal and porcelain surfaces of the washbowl and sink with sensuous, almost preternatural clarity. An important transitional piece, this work prefigures Weston’s exquisite and erotic studies of nudes, shells, and plant forms.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Edward Weston




United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1925


Platinum print


24.3 × 18.9 cm (9 5/8 × 7 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Harold L. Stuart Endowment

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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