Aug 18, 2022 - Sale 2613

Sale 2613 - Lot 30

Price Realized: $ 17,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000

GEORGE PLATT LYNES (1907-1955) & MONROE WHEELER (1899-1988)

Silver print, the image measuring 165x222 mm; 6 1/2x8 3/4 inches. Early 1930s.

Additional Details

This photograph comes from a group of approximately 20 silver prints that were discovered in two manila envelopes (like the unmarked envelopes that were used to send risqué and "illegal" material through the mail in the first part of the 20th century) in the Monroe Wheeler Estate. The envelopes were marked "Intimacies" and "MW-GPL PRIVATE."

George Platt Lynes and Wheeler met in 1927 when Lynes was 20, and these photographs were presumably made of and by each other early in their relationship (this also corresponds to Lynes' introduction to photography). The prints were found in a box that held personal mementoes, private notes and letters, some physique images cut out from magazines, and gifts given to/from the Lynes-Wheeler-Glenway Wescott triad, including a small bottle of "Love Potion No. 9" and a set of diamond-studded cufflinks with a note from Lynes to Monroe expressing his love. The boxes were stored in an attic for 25 years, untouched, along with other private material from Monroe Wheeler's Estate that was left to Anatole Pohorilenko and left untouched until Pohorilenko's death in 2014.

We can presume that they were only seen by the trio and possibly some very close friends. In most cases, the images are unique. This image is one of three copies, each of which are very slight variants (mostly differences in the size of the borders and paper, including a cropped version of the larger image). The print is warm-toned and lush in its treatment of the human form, here both velvety rich and defined with compelling contrast.

The photographs are now housed in the Monroe Wheeler Archive, and to date they have largely not been shown, other than four that were included in David Zwirner's 2019 exhibition The Young and Evil: Queer Modernism in New York, 1930-1955. This image is the endpaper for the accompanying book (and on page 16), which was edited by Jarrett Earnest, and with text by Earnest, Ann Reynolds, and Kenneth E. Silver.