Elliot Erwitt - Affordable on Artspace
The Magnum Photographer's contact sheet tells the story of his most iconic photo and is a piece of affordable art that will raise the cool factor of your living space - here's how to buy it and what to say when guests admire it
Starting an art collection or simply buying something for your wall or living space that's a few steps up from that student poster you've been transferring from apartment to apartment for too many years can be a daunting experience the first time you do it. Thanks to Artspace that first hurdle has never been easier to vault. Quite simply if you want great, affordable and authenticated art this is the place to start - and there is a lot to choose from.
It can also be a way of getting inexpensive versions of work by big name artists too, with print quality and provenance to the fore (and, of course, an element of exclusivity and collectablilty when it's a limited edition). In the coming weeks we'll be bringing you affordable art on Artspace from great artists such as Wilhelm Sasnal, Peter Doig, Jenny Holzer, Chris Johanson and Anri Sala - to name but a few. All of them have Phaidon books to their name so you know that whatever takes your fancy you can be assured that the artist responsible for it is respected by some of the biggest brains in the art world.
Today we start our new series with the great photographer Elliott Erwitt. Artspace has a number of pieces by him but none as affordable as this Magnum Photos Contact archival pigment print Chihuahua, New York City, 1946. Stamped with artist copyright stamp on verso and Magnum blind stamp on recto it's just £232 or $350. It's an appreciable size too, (16.00 x 20.00 inches/ 40.6 x 50.8 cms) giving you a great deal of bang for your buck. You can take a closer look and purchase it here.
Reproducing the original without alteration and enlarged to a 16" x 20" paper size, the print offers a unique insight into the methods by which the Magnum photographer produced some of his best known images. The contact sheet clearly shows the sequence of frames and the marks of the editing process on each sheet, capturing a piece of history.
Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the United States, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research.
While in New York, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa, and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker initially hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company, where he was building up a photographic library for the company, and subsequently commissioned him to undertake a project documenting the city of Pittsburgh. In 1953 Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier's, Look, Life, Holiday, and other luminaries in what was a golden period for illustrated magazines. Check out a piece of Affordable art on Artspace.