Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Antiques Roadshow Moment

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”
― Stephen King, The Colorado Kid

Check this out. A few years back I had an Antiques Roadshow moment, finding portraits by Ed Weston, Brett Weston and Johan Hagemeyer in a local antique store in our little town. After some appropriate haggling, I got them for a song (relatively speaking). I took them to friend and expert photo conservator Gawain Weaver for a little TLC. I just got them back over the weekend and am amazed! They will be on the walls very soon. Thanks, Gawain!

Ed Weston 1931 (as found)
Ed Weston 1931 (post-restoration)

Brett Weston 1929 (as found)
Brett Weston 1929 (post-restoration)

Johan Hagemeyer 1938 (as found)
Johan Hagemeyer, 1938 (post-restoration)

The Hagemeyer print had an interesting inscription on the back:

Note that Brett was only 17 or 18 at the time he made this portrait. The subject in all three is Vasia Anikeef, a Russian-born opera singer who I assume lived in Carmel, CA, long-time home of the Westons. His wife Sybil was a photographer and student of Ed Weston. In the summer of 2015 I was in Carmel teaching and was invited to dinner at the Weston home known as Wildcat Hill by Kim and Gina Weston. Kim is Ed's grandson and Brett's nephew. We had a wonderful meal and visit, including a tour of Ed's darkroom. For a photographer like me, this a bit like going to Mecca.

With Kim Weston in Ed's original darkroom. I presume our print was made right here!
Ed's printing frame, dodging tools, etc.
One of the things Kim showed me was a guestbook that Ed kept for visitors to Wildcat Hill. There are signatures and notes from virtually all of the luminaries of West Coast photography. On one page, I stumbled on the following:

Sounds like this was quite a party! Ed and Sybil shared a birthday and it's the "Monthoversary" of Ed and Charis. So this was at the beginning of that famous love affair. This little tidbit helped me put together just who the subject of these portraits was.

In addition to these prints, we've recently added a Kim Weston print to our collection, purchased at the recent Four Generations of Weston exhibit at the Viewpoint Gallery in Sacramento:
Nude in Cactus, Kim Weston, 1999
I never imagined we would own an original, signed print by Ed or Brett Weston and we found them right here in our little town. Hmmmm.... I wonder when Antiques Roadshow is coming to town again...