WEEGEE "AT EDDIE CONDON’S IN GREENWICH VILLAGE", 1945
Innovative, provocative, inimitable - these are just a few of the words to describe America's boldest photographer.
Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee (1899-1968) was a ground-breaking, successful (and notorious) photojournalist. His images shot on the streets of New York City are iconic and influential.
In the 1930's he became the first New York City press photographer to obtain permission to install a police radio in his car. This allowed him to follow the city's first responders and to document their duties; responding to fire, crime, debauchery and of course, murder.
By the early 1940's Weegee was experiencing fatigue with crime reportage. Yet ironically it was also the point when he finally began experiencing professional validation and acclaim, to the point of being a minor celebrity. Notably in 1941 he was included in the MoMA's seminal "50 Photographs by 50 Photographers" (curated by Edward Steichen). The museum would also acquire five Weegee photographs for their nascent collection.
As the decade progressed Weegee's focus expanded, and one could argue that he began transitioning from a photojournalist to an artist.
"At Eddie Condon’s in Greenwich Village" is a fine example of his transitional work.
Eddie Condon was an American jazz banjoist, guitarist, and bandleader. A leading figure in the Chicago jazz scene, he also played piano and sang in New York. For most of the 20th century, Greenwich Village was known as a trendy artists’ neighborhood known for its intimate bars and nightlife. Weegee loved the nightlife and had a regular circuit on the downtown bars, clubs and cabarets.
This photo is a paradigm of Weegee's eye for detail and composition. It is remarkably timeless and could easily be the 1940's or the 1970's or even today. Interestingly, Weegee would be commissioned by Vogue for a fashion editorial in 1945.
A print of this image is held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Weegee’s photography can be found in numerous museums and private collections worldwide: the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; International Center of Photography, New York and more.
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USA, circa 1945
Gelatin silver print
14"H 11"W (work)
20”H 16”W (sheet)
Weegee’s stamp and titled “Eddie Condons in the Village” in pencil (verso)
Detailed condition report by request
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