U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Pond-moonrise

Re: Pond-moonrise

Judy, I thoroughly enjoyed the account of your reconnaissance mission, thanks for being our point person on this.

However, there's one problem: the print you found in the book and described is not the print we're talking about.

"The Pond -- Moonlight, 1904" is the print the Met sold at auction in 2006 for all that money.

The print we're talking about is "The Pond -- Moonrise, 1903".


On Mar 21, 2009, at 5:10 AM, francis schanberger wrote:

I love Judy's writing and persistence. I miss post factory but email's like this are a worthy substitute.


On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 12:39 AM, Judy Seigel <jseigel@panix.com> wrote:

On Fri, 20 Mar 2009, Katharine Thayer wrote:

I meant to comment about the title, for accuracy's sake:

The Met print is called "The Pond -- Moonrise"

As I discovered (Friday) at the Met:

It wasn't just orders from this list, or the note to myself about the Walker Evans show, or the front page art section in Friday's Times plugging a show from (old) Korea, but some hideous paperwork forcing me to procrastinate.

The lady at the Met lobby info desk and her comrades knew nothing, but plied their computers as I tried every word I could think of -- starting with (my info at that point) "Moon." They found Ansel Adams' "Moon Over..." and a few others, until finally "Moon" with "Pond" ... I said try that, which led to "Pond-- Moonrise" by someone named Steichen. However, they also learned it was not on display. Beyond that, nothing.

So they gave me a number to call from the house phone to "someone" who might know more, causing my best wheedling-blackmailing talkathon so far this year. First, the lady knew nothing. Then she maybe knew something but not at liberty to tell, then (after I mentioned that I was investigating at the request of 650 ardent photographers and admirers of the Met, who had declared its science the best of any, etc. and so forth, while exuding whatever "charm" possible, given my nature and a lobby full of tourists). Thus I "learned" the following, some, much, or all of which may be true, tho much of it seemingly dropped by accident:

The print "The Pond -- Moonrise," accession #33.43.40, is on loan to the Guggenheim Museum, where it went at the end of January.. return date not specified. For what show or why, was not revealed, and my reading of the schedule of the Gugg showed no obvious context for it there -- tho folks who like Internet searches better than I do (about 99.5% of Western Civilisation) might manage to learn more.

On the bright side, however, when it's back (whenever or however that fact is revealed) I (or you) can call the same number (212/570-3889) and request its transfer to the study room where (allegedly) I/you could see it in person (by appointment).

Then I saw the Walker Evans show (OK, but 1000-odd postcards is over my daily requirement), the Korean show (OK, but not nearly as good as Chinese of the same genre, IMO), and swooned over the tempera on panel of 15th & 16th-century Europe, pretty much the esthetic of gum prints I long to make, tho mine would have less Virgin and Child & more grab shots of Times Square denizens and habitats.

Finally, somewhat stupefied (it was past seven PM, the Met being open til 8:15 Friday night -- and I take a moment here to mention that whoever comes to NYC & wants to see "alternative photography" is barking up the wrong tree, but the Metropolitan Museum is too good to be true, as I've probably said here once or twice), I stopped in the bookstore, passing over a $100 "Metropolitan Bookstore" tote bag, and similar offerings, while searching (among books ranging from "oh, give me a break" to divine) for books on photography. There were in fact some, perhaps .3% of the space, but one I chanced upon was titled "Steichen." Unfortunately, its documentation was so poor and/or my state so blitzed I couldn't find publisher, index, or even date.

HOWEVER, among other photographs (some familiar, some not) there it was, with the following info:

"'The Pond-- Moonrise,' 1904... Variant title, 'The Pond -- Moonlight.'"

And yes, trees and foreground were mostly black and dark brown, while sky and water were reasonably blue. HOWEVER, here that black and brown were glowing and beautiful, looking not at all faded, or discolored or drab, but exactly as they should have looked given a magical scene and brilliant artistry. (Which is to say, ask not why Demachy and Co. varnished their prints.)

The book was very large and very heavy, without any marked price, tho the feel of it (in comparison to other prices marked) suggested closer to $100 than $50.) Perhaps the gloss of the page (quite shiny repro) created the effect, tho more likely (IMO) just permitted it to appear. In any event, it cleared up one question in my mind (in addition to the title). The original title and view of water had suggested (to me, anyway) a view of *open* water through trees. This reproduction (and title) showed (with the near bank of the "pond" clearly shown) that the scene wasn't open water, but a pond, one reason (among others of course) our search by car failed to find it.



and the print that the Met sold is called "The Pond--Moonlight."


francis schanberger