In 1953 the writer and curator Nancy Newhall assembled, with the cooperation of the photographer Edward Weston, a mock-up for an elegant book featuring Weston’s photographs of the nude. It was the only book on this subject that Weston himself participated in creating. The sample book intersperses landscapes and still lifes with nude studies and includes an essay written by Newhall on the artist’s aesthetic. In the 1950s, however, publishers of fine art photographs were reluctant to address the subject, and the proposal was rejected.
In 1985 the mock-up was acquired by the J. Paul Getty Musuem with some pages and prints missing, yet it was only in 2006 that curator Brett Abbott recognized the key to reconstructing the unpublished book in its entirety. Now, in association with the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, the Getty has finally been able to realize Newhall and Weston’s vision.
The present volume has been produced with distinctions of paper and ink to indicate those elements that have been added—including a preface by the curator and small-scale reproductions of the mock-up as it now exists—and those elements that were part of the original, including Newhall’s essay and all thirty-nine photographs, arranged on the pages as Newhall and Weston had placed them. The book was published to coincide with an exhibition of Weston’s work that was on view from July 31 to November 25, 2007, at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Brett Abbott is former associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Nancy Newhall (1908–1974) was Edward Weston’s official biographer and cofounder of Aperture magazine.
«Weston is one of America’s most important photographers, and patrons interested in photography, art, and history will be drawn to the essays on his work and the efforts necessary in the 1950s to publish a controversial book of nude photographs. Highly recommended.»
10 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches
1 color and 70 duotone illustrations