Edward Weston

American (Highland Park, Illinois, 1886 - 1958, Carmel, California)

Pipes and Stacks [Armco Steel, Ohio]

1922, printed later
photograph | gelatin silver print
Not on view at this time; find out where you can see works from our collection at locations around the Bay Area while our building is closed for expansion
  • Pipes and Stacks [Armco Steel, Ohio]

    Edward Weston, Pipes and Stacks [Armco Steel, Ohio], 1922, printed later; gelatin silver print, 9 7/16 in. x 7 9/16 in. (23.97 cm x 19.21 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase; © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents/ Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York


In many accounts of Weston's career, this photograph is held up as marking his conversion to Modernism. At the time he took it, Weston operated a commercial photography studio in Southern California, where he was known for soft-focus portraits. An adherent of Pictorialism, a dreamy style intended to resemble Victorian painting, Weston began to experiment with new approaches to the medium in the early 1920s.

On a trip to New York to bring his work to Alfred Stieglitz, Weston stopped off to visit his sister in Ohio, where he made this negative. Unlike his earlier work, it is crisply focused, tightly ordered, and shows a modern subject. His shift toward Modernism was not as abrupt as is often suggested, however. He did not have an instantaneous conversion experience, as some accounts would have us believe, but rather experimented for some time before producing this fully realized example of modernist photography.


9 7/16 in. x 7 9/16 in. (23.97 cm x 19.21 cm)
Acquired 1962
Collection SFMOMA
Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase
© 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents/ Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York
62.1182

Tags

industrial, Middletown, Ohio, smokestacks, pipes, ladders, metal, frameworks, monumental


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify artwork details.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.