The Art of the Photogravure
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December 22nd, 2007

Top lot at Swann December auction is photogravure

EXCELLENT RESULTS FOR PHOTGRAVURE AT SWANN GALLERIES’ AUCTION OF PHOTOGRAPHIC LITERATURE & PHOTOGRAPHS ON DECEMBER 13

“This was an exciting auction in which the synergy between Photographic Literature and classical photography was reconfirmed…” Daile Kaplan Photogravure highlights included several editions of Camera Work, among them Number 36, with 16 photogravures by Alfred Stieglitz, New York, 1911, which brought $28,800. Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Theaters, special edition, issued with a signed photogravure, New York, 2000 brought $4,800. And Roy De Carava’s Roy De Carava, with 12 dust-grain photogravures printed by Paul Taylor in 1991, was the auction’s top lot at $81,000.
DeCarava_L.jpgRoy DeCarava’s (American, b. 1919) photographs have documented African American life in New York from a deeply personal and yet socially conscious perspective. DeCarava explained his feelings when taking the 1964 photograph of five men coming out of the church service: "The motivation at that moment was my political understanding of the treatment of black people and their response to injustice…I wasn’t at the bombing, I wasn’t in the church, but I knew what it was and I wanted to make a picture that dealt with it. The [five] men were coming out of the church with faces so serious and so intense, and the image was made."

December 4th, 2007

Papa by Debbie Fleming Caffery

Caffery_03.jpgLouisiana native Debbie Fleming Caffery makes photographs that are anchored at the intersection of earth and spirit. An early series documents the sugarcane harvest that was part of the fabric of her childhood. The haunting images of the cane workers in the fields, often made in the shadowy light of dawn, portray a vanishing culture familiar to those who have lived with it, but a world apart to most. Composed in lush black tones, the photographs suggest an atavistic relationship to earth and fire, light and darkness. In 1984, Caffery began Polly, a poignant and moving collective portrait of the late Polly Joseph, a solitary and proud African-American woman living in the sugarcane country of Louisiana. Shot in the dim light of Polly’s cabin, these masterfully printed photographs not only capture the extraordinary expressiveness of Caffery’s subject, but the expressive characteristics of the medium itself. It is clear in these portraits – collected in a book published by Twin Palms Publishers in 2004 – that Caffery seeks nothing less than the spirit. Whether working in the cane fields or among rural cultures of Mexico, her photographs collect visual mysteries that always hint at that undefined territory between this world and the next. Her newest project, Deseos Sobre Todo (Desire Overall), has won her the 2005 Guggenheim fellowship and focuses on prostitutes and their customers at a rural Mexican brothel. Since moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Caffery has worked on photographic projects for several area agencies, including Futures for Children, an Albuquerque-based Native American mentoring program aimed at keeping children in school.

 -from the University of Kentucky Art Museum – May Lecture Series , Feb.2006

Paul Taylor, Howard Greenberg and Debbie Fleming Caffery worked tirelessly to produce this exquisite photogravure.  For information contact Howard Greenberg Gallery.

December 4th, 2007

Stieglitz Letter

“Every number of Camera Work was published complete when issued. The way it happens that plates are missing is that frequently Camera Work came out of the bindery with plates to be inserted by me personally after binding. Some years ago many of the insets were either destroyed or mislaid. Hence the impossibility of completing many issues at present I know of no way of acquiring missing plates except in keeping one’s eyes open for numbers of Camera Work as they may appear in the market.  Absolutely complete sets of Camera Work are very, very rare & are priceless. No I have no reproductions either, there are none. The Plates in Camera Work for the major part are photogravures made directly from original negatives & were made under my direction as were the prints. -So from a certain point of view many of the Plates might be looked upon as a species of originals".

From a letter written by Stieglitz to Grace E. Titus, December 18,1933 (ebay item 290030212499)

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