Natural Selection

Top Withens, West Riding, Yorkshire, 1945

Bill Brandt

Top Withens, West Riding, Yorkshire, 1945

Oversized gelatin silver print

52 x 45 cms (20.44 x 17.69 ins)

1945

HC 11593

Provenance

Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired from the artist, 1969.
deaccessioned January 2018

Exhibited

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Bill Brandt, September 15-November 30, 1969, and thereafter to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1970. (This print)
Modern Nature. Photographs from the Hyman Collection, Hepworth Wakefield, 2018-19. (This print)

Literature

Bill Brandt, Shadow of Light, Da Capo Press, New York, 1977, pl. 106.
Mark Haworth-Booth, Bill Brandt Behind the Camera: Photographs 1928-1983, Aperture/Philadelphia Museum of Art, New York, 1985, p. 58.
Ian Jeffrey (ed.), Bill Brandt Photographs 1928-1983, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1993, p. 140.
Nigel Warburton, Bill Brandt; Selected texts and bibliography, Clio Press, Oxford, 1993, fig. 7, p. 9.
Bill Jay and Nigel Warburton, The Photography of Bill Brandt, Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York, 1999, pl. 163.
Brandt: Icons, Bill Brandt Archive, Great Britain, 2004, n.p.
Exhibition catalogue, Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2013, p. 140.

This oversized exhibition print was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1969 and displayed in their major Bill Brandt retrospective held that same year. It was deaccessioned by MoMA in January 2018.

gelatin silver print, mounted on board, printed 1969. A striking example of Brandt's later printing style which can be contrasted with vintage print of landscapes also in the Hyman Collection.

numbered '48' in pencil (mount, recto); numbered '48' and variously otherwise numbered in pencil with typed credit, title and date on affixed Museum of Modern Art label (mat, verso)
image: 20 x 17 1/4 in. (50.8 x 43.8 cm.)
sheet: 20 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (52 x 45 cm.)
mount: 30 x 26 in. (76.1 x 66 cm.)

Bill Brandt commented on this picture:

'One of my favourite pictures of this time is "Top Withens" on the Yorkshire moors. I was then trying to photograph the country which had inspired Emily Brontë. I went to the West Riding in summer, but there were tourists and it seemed quite the wrong time of the year. I liked it better misty, rainy and lonely in November. But I was not satisfied until I saw it again in February. I took the picture just after a hailstorm when a high wind was blowing over the moors.'

This photograph is a particulalry fine example of Brandt's late printing style. In such works the midtones are supressed in a favour of boosted contrast and stark blacks and whites. Here it helps increase the drama of the tempestuous image.

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

Bill Brandt

Top Withens, West Riding, Yorkshire, 1945

Oversized gelatin silver print

52 x 45 cms (20.44 x 17.69 ins)

1945

HC 11593

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