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 studio-fragments 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.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Signed in pencil on print, recto LR in image: "Sudek"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso UC: "Prichod noci r.1960; signed and inscribed in ink on print, verso UC: "13[circled in ink, crossed out in pencil]//Josef Sudek"; stamped in ink on print, verso LR: "68497"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso LL: "RK 30780 - 95007"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso UR: "99" [encircled]; inscribed in pencil on print, verso LC, CR: "[erased]", "[erased]"
Josef Sudek; Rudolf Kicken; Penelope Dixon
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 32," May 14, 2002–September 8, 2003.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Night Vision: Photography After Dark," April 26, 2011–September 5, 2011.
Negative date: 1948-64 [the artist preferred to give the date of the entire series to individual prints]; see cropped variant in Zdenek Kirschner, Josef Sudek, Prague, 1982; the inscription verso UC "Prichod noci" translates to 'The Arrival of Night" as translated by Violeta, MMA, Watson Library.