Salle de Bains

Bill Brandt

Salle de Bains

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print

24.1 x 19.3 cms (9.47 x 7.58 ins)

c.1934

HC 11135

Provenance

The Estate of Bill Brandt
Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

Titled, in ink, on verso. Photographer's "58 Hillfield Court, Belsize Avenue, London, N.W.3." stamp on verso.

This is the only known print of one of Bill Brandt's earliest nudes.

Brandt's annotation in French on the verso "salle de bains" suggests that this print may have been taken in France or included in Brandt's first solo show in Paris 1938. Indeed the imagery is suggestive of the Parisian work of one of Brandt's contemporaries, Brassai, notably his Paris de nuit (Paris by Night) (1933), which was a clear influence on Brandt's early publications.

As a subject Salle de Bains also anticipates Brandt's later nudes, such as a small group of Campden Hill Nudes from circa 1948, examples of which are also in the Hyman Collection, which also show a nude woman in a bathroom with a bathtub. However, the relatively prosaic depiction of an undistorted woman, is actually more in keeping with the imagery to be found in Brandt's first books, The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). The fact that this photograph was not included in these British publications may lie in its subject-matter which may have seen as too risque in a British rather than a French context.

Salle de Bains helps illustrate the importance of Brandt's time in Paris from 1929-31 where he was briefly an assistant of Man Ray and embodies aspects of the two tendencies that Brandt identified in contemporary photography: I had the good fortune to start my career in Paris in 1929. Already two modes were emerging: the poetic school, of which Man Ray and Edward Weston were the leaders, and the documentary moment-of-truth school. I was attracted by both.

Copyright The Bill Brandt Archive, London / Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York / Zürich. 2018

British Photography / The Hyman Collection

Bill Brandt

Salle de Bains

Vintage Gelatin Silver Print

24.1 x 19.3 cms (9.47 x 7.58 ins)

c.1934

HC 11135

All images © the artist or copyright holder | Website © The Hyman Collection 2019