Thursday 23 July 2015

Alan Lowndes and Bill Brandt - Sheffield

I've just posted an article to the site on the artist Alan Lowndes (1921 - 1978)

In one of the articles there is a reference to the auction of a photograph from Sheffield 1937. The auction took place in November 2006

The black and white photograph that was auctioned was by the noted photographer Bill Brandt. In 1937 Bill visited Sheffield and took some of the most iconic photos of the inter-war period. But no-one knows who the toddlers where and where the photographs were taken.

The children must have been relatively well off - at least they had shoes!!

The Sheffield Star dated Tuesday 7 November 2006 carried this report

Mystery toddler stars in auction

ONE of the most valuable photographs ever taken in Sheffield is expected to fetch up to £2,000 when it is auctioned next week.

The 10x8 inch black and white photograph, simply titled 'Sheffield', was taken in 1937 and is valuable because it is by one of Britain's greatest photographers, Bill Brandt.

It shows a toddler in a Sheffield back yard, with clothes on a washing line in the background.

The only mystery is the identity of the toddler, who would now be in her 70s, but who was never named.

Bill Brandt's photographs are now much sought-after and sometimes sell for extraordinary sums. One of his views of London, taken in 1952, was sold at Christie's in Paris last year for a staggering 53,608,a new world record for a Brandt photograph. The Sheffield picture will be auctioned at Sotheby's in London on November 14.

Brandt's fans include the Yorkshire-born artist, David Hockney, who says: "Bill Brandt made pictures of the north of England around the time I was born.

"They are carefully composed and seem to me very real. I say he made pictures, rather than took them, because he regarded the image as the important thing, rather than the purity of execution.

"His techniques understands the power of images. It's that, for me, that gives them their strength in a time when a photograph as documentary evidence is fading fast. They survive and enter the memory because they were constructed by an artist."

In their book, 'Brandt: The Photography of Bill Brandt', authors Bill Jay and Nigel Warburton say: "During the 1930s and 1940s, Brandt was at the centre of the thriving photo-journalistic industry, doing a series of important stories for photographic magazines such as Liliput and Picture Post.

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