The J. Paul Getty Museum

Cloud, Mexico

Object Details

Title:

Cloud, Mexico

Artist/Maker:

Edward Weston (American, 1886 - 1958)

Culture:

American

Place:

Mexico (Place Created)

Date:

1926

Medium:

Palladium print

Object Number:

84.XM.229.24

Dimensions:

14.9 × 24 cm (5 7/8 × 9 7/16 in.)

Copyright:

© 1981 Arizona Board of Regents, Center for Creative Photography

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Object Description

The first image with artistic intention that Edward Weston made in Mexico was of a cloud. Stopped in the port of Mazatlan on his way to Mexico City in 1923, Weston, for the first time in his career, was moved to photograph the sky, a theme that would occupy him intermittently throughout his entire sojourn in Mexico. Working with his Graflex, which allowed for greater flexibility than his tripod-mounted eight-by-ten-inch camera, he shot clouds spontaneously and maintained a personal collection of prints that he referred to as his “cloud series.” He noted in his daybook, “Next to the recording of a fugitive expression, or revealing the pathology of some human being, is there anything more elusive to capture than cloud forms! And the Mexican clouds are so swift and ephemeral, one can hardly allow the thought, 'Is this worth doing?' or, 'ls this placed well?’—for an instant of delay and what was, is not!

The economy of form achieved in this 1926 image through the isolation of a single strip of stratus clouds oriented diagonally within the frame was not new to Weston's aesthetic; his 1924 picture of Tina Modotti (1896-1942) nude on the roof of their home (see 86.XM.710.8) employs a remarkably similar composition. If Mexico provided Weston the inspiration to explore and expand the range of his oeuvre, adding clouds, still lifes, and landscapes to his repertoire of portraits and nudes, it simultaneously served as the place where his visual approach to the world was honed. His time in Mexico came to an end the same year he made this picture, but many of the principles he developed there would last him throughout his career.

Brett Abbott. Edward Weston, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), 48. ©2005, J. Paul Getty Trust.

Provenance
Provenance
1926 -

Edward Weston, American, 1886 - 1958

- about 1984

Newby Toms, sold to Daniel Wolf, about 1984.

about 1984 - 1984

Daniel Wolf, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Edward Weston: The Home Spirit and Beyond (November 25, 1986 to February 1, 1987)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), November 25, 1986 to February 1, 1987
The Art of Photography: 1839 - 1989 (February 11 to December 23, 1989)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 11 to April 30, 1989
  • National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), June 1 to August 1, 1989
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), September 23 to December 23, 1989
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables (November 13, 2001 to February 9, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2001 to February 17, 2002
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (Mexico City), March 14 to June 2, 2002
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), November 10, 2002 to February 9, 2003
Edward Weston: Enduring Vision (July 31 to November 25, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 31 to November 25, 2007
In Focus: The Sky (July 15 to December 4, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 26 to December 4, 2011
Mexico: A Revolution in Art, 1910 - 1940 (July 6 to September 29, 2013)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), July 6 to September 29, 2013
In Focus: Platinum Photographs (January 21 to May 31, 2020)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 21 to May 31, 2020
Bibliography
Bibliography

Conger, Amy. "Edward Weston's Early Photography, 1903-1926." Ph.D. diss. (University of New Mexico, 1982), 26/270.

Abbott, Brett. Edward Weston. In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), pp. 48-49, pl. 21.