Feb 15, 2018 - Sale 2466

Sale 2466 - Lot 164

Price Realized: $ 27,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 25,000
ROY DECARAVA (1919-2009)
Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge. Silver print, the image measuring 13 3/4x10 inches (34.9x25.4 cm.), the sheet slightly larger, with DeCarava's signature and the negative and print dates, in ink, on recto. 1956; printed 1981

Additional Details

Acquired directly from the Photographer; to a Private New York Collector, in 1980.

Roy DeCarava, who began his artistic career as a printmaker, transitioned to fine art photography in the late 1940s. In 1953, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph life in Harlem. Subsequently, his poignant images were published in The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955), which featured Langston Hughes', the Harlem Renaissance poet and novelist, text. A classic of photographic literature, this early publication reveals the photographer's aesthetic and personal influences, everyday life in Harlem and jazz, America's "classical" music.

This rare photograph of Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge depicts two of the greatest trumpet virtuosos. Eldridge's creative innovations and strong impact on Gillespie mark him as one of the most influential musicians of the swing era, and a pioneer of "bebop." Gillespie's lighthearted personality, moon cheeks and specially designed bent horn were essential in popularizing this new form of jazz, which was characterized by faster tempo and complex chord progressions.

DeCarava's use of jazz as a visual metaphor pervaded his photographs and was writ large in his last publication, The Sound I Saw, which also highlighted his poetry. Conceived, designed, and written in the early 1960s but first published in 2001, the seemingly casual interweaving of pictures and text results in a tightly structured narrative at once personal and collective, intimate and universal.