The J. Paul Getty Museum

Bananas and Orange

Object Details


Bananas and Orange


Edward Weston (American, 1886 - 1958)




April 1927


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



18.9 × 23.7 cm (7 7/16 × 9 5/16 in.)


© 1981 Arizona Board of Regents, Center for Creative Photography

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Object Description

Simultaneous with his work on shells and nudes, Edward Weston began photographing bananas, gourds (see 89.XM.74), and other still-life subjects. He was staying close to his studio in 1927, partly because he found his growing Los Angeles surroundings unappealing and partly to be available for portrait commissions. But he also realized during this time that art could be modern without depicting industrial themes. As he wrote in his daybook, “Are not shells, bodies, clouds as much of today as machines? Does it make any difference what subject matter is used to express a feeling toward life!”.

In 1928 Weston moved to San Francisco and opened a portrait studio with his son Brett (1911-1993), who had chosen to become a photographer himself. In December of that year the two packed up and moved to Carmel, a small town along the coast with a significant population of artists. It was there that Weston began focusing attention on peppers (see 88.XM.68.1), which he typically ate after photographing them. Those who followed his output commonly saw sexual content in his still-life compositions, although he repeatedly denied having directly intended such allusions. He resented those who pigeonholed his work in this way, calling them “the sexually unemployed belching gaseous irrelevancies from an undigested Freudian ferment!” He wrote in his daybook that he photographed peppers because “of the endless variety in form manifestations, because of their extraordinary surface texture, because of the power, the force suggested in their amazing convolutions!” At the same time, however, Weston was aware that the simplified, heightened reality of his presentations, whether they be of nudes, vegetables, fruits, or his later dunes, could conjure up other associations. He was keenly interested in the idea that “all basic forms are so closely related as to be visually equivalent!”

Weston's work during the late 1920s and early 1930s was well received. Arthur Millier, an avant-garde critic, reviewed it frequently in the Los Angeles Times, and it was exhibited in modern art galleries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Carmel.

Brett Abbott. Edward Weston, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005), 56. ©2005, J. Paul Getty Trust.

- 1984

Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., American, 1921 - 1987, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

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 Eye of Sam Wagstaff (January 14 to April 6, 1997)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 14 to April 6, 1997
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: Still Life (September 7, 2010 to January 23, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 7, 2010 to January 23, 2011
The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum (March 15, 2016 to May 7, 2017)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 15 to July 31, 2016
  • Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford), September 10 to December 11, 2016
  • Portland Museum of Art (Portland), February 13 to May 7, 2017
Education Resources
Education Resources

Education Resource




Still Life Photography

Lesson in which students design a still life composition, using a variety of shapes and textures, create a photographic still life, and write a poem.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Three/Five-Part Lesson