May 27, 2021 - Sale 2570

Sale 2570 - Lot 158

Price Realized: $ 20,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
Glasses. Silver print, the image measuring 11 3/4x8 3/4 inches (29.2x22.2 cm.), the mount slightly larger, with Beckmann's signature, in pencil, on mount recto. Circa 1935

Additional Details

From the Photographer to his wife, Elsa Naess; presumably to Paul Katz, New York, ex-director of photography, Marlborough Gallery; to dealer George Rinhart, North Carolina; to Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco, in 1997; to a Private Collection.

Beckmann was a student at the Bauhaus from 1928-1932, where he studied under Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers. He left shortly before the school was closed by the Nazis, first to Vienna where he continued to study photography, and then to Prague where he worked as a photographer and for the resistance to occupation. In 1944 he was imprisoned in a concentration camp until the end of the war.

After the war, Beckmann moved to the United States where he became head of the photography department of the Guggenheim Museum and then an art professor at The Cooper Union and Dartmouth College. By the 1960s, Beckmann became known for his precise, geometric paintings, artwork he is still principally known for today. These paintings are characterized as being concerned with light and space, a theme of perception that could also be identified in the photograph offered here, a study of the distinct and elegant form of a pair of spectacles, here slightly abstracted as seen in layered light and shadow.

A photograph by Beckmann of a single pair of glasses was part of the Gilman Paper Company Collection acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was sold at auction in 2006 for $18,000.