Famous Photographers And Their Provocative Images

Some of the most significant names in 20th-century photography – from Diane Arbus to Edward Weston – are represented in this collection of unmounted gravures.

While Diane Arbus was famous for her provocative images of marginalized people such as dwarfs, giants, transgender people, nudists, circus performers, her image titled A Young Brooklyn Family going for a Sunday outing is disarming. The image of the stoic couple and their two young children was shot in 1966 and printed in Italy in 1979. Arbus was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and the best-known female photographers of her generation.

Diane Arbus, ‘A young Brooklyn Family going for a Sunday outing,’ New York, 1966, heliogravure, printed in 1979, Italy, 9.75 in. x 9.75 in. Estimate: $800-$1,000. Jasper52 image


Edward Henry Weston (1886-1958) often focused on the people and places of the American West. However, over the course of his 40-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and still lifes. Tree Root is a fine example of the latter. The sheet-fed gravure in the auction was printed in the early 1970s.

Edward Weston, ‘Tree Root,’ sheet-fed gravure, early 1970s, printed in the USA,
7.25 in. x 9.25 in. Estimate: $300-$450. Jasper52 image


While German-born photographer Erwin Blumenfeld is best remembered for fashion photography published in magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar throughout the 1940s and 1950s, his body of work also includes fine art photography, drawings and collages. He is considered one of the most innovative photographers of the past century, as the image titled Wall Street, New York, 1943, demonstrates.

Erwin Blumenfeld ‘Wall Street, New York, 1943,’ heliogravure, printed in 1981 in Italy, 8.75 in. x 11 in. Estimate: $250-$350. Jasper52 image


Yousuf Karsh is hailed as one of the greatest portrait photographers of the 20th century. He photographed icons of Hollywood, art, literature and politics. Included in the collection is a Karsh portrait of an elderly Helen Keller (1880-1968), who was both blind and deaf. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposted by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate.

Yousuf Karsh, ‘Helen Keller,’ photogravure, printed in Switzerland 1982, 10 in. x 8 in. Estimate: $600-$700. Jasper52 image


Man Ray’s gravure of a model combines his signature elements: fashion photography and a special effect called solarization. Born Emmanuel Radnitzky is 1890, Man Ray was the only American to play a major role in both the Dada and Surrealist movements.

Man Ray, ‘Fashion Photography, Partial solarization,’ heliogravure with tissue guard, printed in 1980 in Italy, 7 in. x 9.75 in. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image


Edouard Boubat (1923-1999) was a French photojournalist and art photographer. He took his first photograph after coming back from the war in 1946 and was awarded the Kodak Prize the following year. He traveled the world for the French magazine Realites, and later worked as a freelance photographer. He is represented in the collection with a gravure titled Paris, 1949, Montmartre.

Edouard Boubat, ‘Paris, 1949, Montmartre,’ sheet-fed gravure, printed in Spain, 1983, 6.5 in. x 6.5 in. Estimate: $50-$100. Jasper52 image


Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process used for rich photo reproduction. Take a look at the fully illustrated catalog of unmounted gravures.