Josef Sudek (Czech, 18961976)
Gelatin silver print; 11 5/16 x 15 1/4 in. (28.8 x 38.8 cm)
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1989 (1989.1073)
© Anna Fárová
Although he trained as a commercial photographer and produced modernist-inspired still lifes during the 1930s, after World War II Sudek returned to the moody chiaroscuro that had characterized his early work. For the series Remembrances, to which this photograph belongs, he surveyed the garden of his friend, the architect Otto Rothmayer, producing dramatic images haunted with familiar objects from his studiofragments of classical sculpture, masks, glass vessels, and mirrors. In this photograph, Sudek conjures an otherworldly nimbus hovering over a marble head atop an abandoned table and empty chairs, casting an aura of recent departure that identifies the scene as the materialization of memory.