Edward Weston, ‘Zohmah and Jean Charlot’, 1939, Sotheby's
Edward Weston, ‘Zohmah and Jean Charlot’, 1939, Sotheby's

Mounted, initialed and dated in pencil on the mount, signed, dated, and numbered 'PO39-CH-1' in pencil on the reverse.

From the Catalogue:
Jean Charlot, a French painter and illustrator who spent a long period of his life in Mexico, was a close friend of Edward Weston. He is mentioned several times in Weston’s Daybooks beginning in the early 1920s, and the two artists maintained a friendship throughout their lives.

Charlot met artist Zohmah Day (born Dorothy Day) in Mexico and they were married on 26 May 1939. The present photograph was taken about a month later in Point Lobos, California. Although Weston photographed the couple on several occasions, this image is particularly sensitive and technically advanced. The dramatic splashing surf in the background exhibits just as much detail as the texture and tone of the rock surface in the foreground.

A variant of this image was the only photograph that Weston submitted to Edward Steichen’s groundbreaking 1955 exhibition Family of Man at The Museum of Modern Art, which traveled globally in five different iterations for seven years.

At the time of this writing, it is believed that only one other print of this image has appeared at auction, sold in these rooms in November 1985 (Sale 5383, Lot 380).
—Courtesy of Sotheby's

Conger 1473
Nancy Newhall, ed., The Daybooks of Edward Weston, Vol. II California (Aperture, 1973), pl. 24
Manfred Heiting, ed., Edward Weston (Köln, 2004), p. 219

Gift of Edward Weston to Glen Fishback, close friend and fellow photographer, as a present for Fishback’s newborn son, his namesake, Kurt Edward Fishback, 1942
Acquired by the present owner from Kurt Edward Fishback

About Edward Weston

One of the most influential American photographers of the 20th century, Edward Weston is known for his richly detailed and precisely composed black-and-white images of semi-abstract nudes, landscapes, and organic forms including close-up studies of shells, vegetables, and rocks. During a trip to New York in 1922, Weston had a formative encounter with the photographer Alfred Stieglitz; shortly thereafter he traveled to Mexico with his student and mistress Tina Modotti, where he met the artists Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. By the spring of 1929 he began to photograph Point Lobos in Carmel, California and developed the style that would distinguish his practice, favoring sharp contrasts and a full tonal scale. He became a founding member of the group f/64 in 1932 along with fellow California photographers Imogen Cunningham and Ansel Adams, who together advocated for un-manipulated, sharp-focus photography. “To record the quintessence of the object or element before my lens, rather than an interpretation, a superficial phase, or passing mood—this is my way in photography,” he once said.

American, 1886-1958, Highland Park, Illinois, based in Carmel, CA, USA