Washbowl

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.

Date:

1925

Artist:

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.

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Photography

Artist

Edward Weston

Title

Washbowl

Origin

United States

Date

1925

Medium

Platinum print

Dimensions

24.3 × 18.9 cm

Credit Line

Harold L. Stuart Endowment

Reference Number

1987.377

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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