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Rockwell : The Surprising Discovery of a Lost Photographic Legend


Is there a greater pleasure than discovering a new artist?
A greater motivation for collectors than accompanying and monitoring discoveries?
So imagine when it comes to an American artist from the 1930s, contemporary of Man Ray and friend of the greatest fashion designers. His name : Rockwell.

Imagine the surprise when the photographer’s granddaughter arrived with a suitcase full of magnificent proofs, meticulously processed on high-quality paper. Each print had no fewer than seven different stamps of this photographer, whose works had never been seen before. Yet, after months of research, it was revealed that he was quite renowned in his era. His work featured on the cover of Time Magazine with a portrait of Elsa Schiaparelli in 1934.

His photographs also appeared in esteemed English publications like The Sketch and The Sphere. Notably, he spearheaded the first advertising campaign for Coca-Cola in Paris in 1931.

How could such a distinguished artist become so obscure? The answer lies in the crisis of 1934. It led our photographer to abandon the luxurious photographic papers that would delight museums and collectors, papers known for their thick texture and magnificent contrast, in favor of more modest and economical options.

Moreover, perhaps due to the crisis or personal reasons, he returned to America around 1935, leaving nothing behind in Paris except a small suitcase of these prints. He seldom spoke of his Parisian past and rebuilt his family and professional life in the United States.

The 150 prints, all previously unseen, are set to be fully presented at an auction this June by Art Research Paris.

Serge Plantureux

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