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Price Realized: $57,600 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2180 Lot 296
DECARAVA, ROY (1919- )
Portfolio entitled "Roy DeCarava." With 12 stunning, dust-grain photogravures, image size approximately 8x11 inches (20.3x28 cm.), and the reverse, sheet size 18x22 inches (45.7x55.9 cm.), with DeCarava's signature, date (on all but one) and edition notation, I/IV, in pencil, on recto. Elephant folio, gilt-lettered black clamshell box; contents loose as issued. 1950-1979; printed 1991
"Lingerie, New York," 1950 * "Billie [Holiday] at Braddocks, New York," 1952 * "Paul Robeson, New York," 1950 * "Four Men, New York," 1956 * "Horace Silver, New York," 1963 * "Couple Dancing, New York," 1956 * "Across the Street, Night, Brooklyn," 1978 (this photogravure is unsigned) * "Night Feeding, Brooklyn," 1973 * "Man in Window, Brooklyn," 1978 * "Fourth of July, Prospect Park, Brooklyn," 1979 * "Dancers, New York," 1956 * "Milt Jackson, New York," 1956.
This edition is limited to 62 sets, of which this portfolio is part of the four Hors Commerce editions. The plates were subsequently destroyed by the artist.
Roy DeCarava began his artistic career as a painter and print-maker. He initially began using a hand-held camera as a tool to aid in his sketches. Yet within only a few years, DeCarava embraced photography with fervor, embarking on a career in the medium in the late 1940s that would take him into the present day.
Born and raised in New York, DeCarava is Harlem's photographer, as his honest and gripping photographs of the vagaries of modern life attest. Showcasing the urban environment in all of its gritty glory, DeCarava accentuates the quotidian activities of the everyday African-American men and women, avoiding sensationalist and outré crafted personas in favor of social realism. DeCarava describes his methodology as, "I want to photograph Harlem through the Negro people. Morning, noon, night, at work, going to work, coming home from work, at play, in the streets, talking, laughing, in the home, in the playgrounds, in the schools, bars, stores, libraries, beauty parlors, churches . . ." While not the first African-American photographer to chronicle Harlem, Decarava quickly became its champion as the neighborhood morphed from the center of artistic and intellectual creativity during the Harlem Renaissance to an essential destination for Civil Rights luminaries and their messages of change.
Imbued with a dark tonal range, DeCarava's photographs provide keen insight to a deft eye intent on discovering visual truths. He illuminates integral components of mid-twentieth century urban life in New York.
Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $57,600