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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
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 --
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."