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Imogen Cunningham

Imogen Cunningham

Self Portrait, 1974
Imogen Cunningham

Imogen Cunningham was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.  She began her photographic studies at the University of Washington and went on to become one of photography's early pioneers and commenced what became one of the longest photographic careers in the history of the medium.

In the 1920's, Cunningham turned her attention to artistic nudes of friends and family and the study of plant forms found in her garden. The results are staggering; an amazing body of work comprised of bold, contemporary forms.

View Imogen's Published Work

Her refreshing, yet formal and sensitive floral images ultimately became her most acclaimed images.

Imogen established the Imogen Cunningham Trust to manage her archives after her death.  The Trust provides estate stamped prints for exhibition and sale.  All of the Trust prints that we offer were printed by Imogen's son Rondal Partridge.

Imogen Cunningham

Self Portrait, 1932
Imogen Cunningham


Imogen Cunningham

(9 x 7 3/8 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Magnolia Blossom, 1925
Estate Stamped Silver Gelatin Print
$2,500

Imogen made this image of the Magnolia Blossom in 1925 for her own pleasure.  With three small children in the house, she said she had "one hand in the dishpan, the other in the darkroom."  This early estate-stamped print of Magnolia Blossom is a luminous example of this image.


Two Callas, about 1925
Estate Stamped
Platinum / Palladium  Print
$4,500

Two Callas is considered one of Imogen's most striking photographs, with its flowing form and intimate details. This image was originally displayed in Stuttgart, Germany by request of Edward Weston.  Imogen's botanical work expressed by these photos of Calla Lilies and Magnolias were pivotal works that helped define Imogen as one of America's eminent photographers. 

Imogen Cunningham

(7 1/4 x 9 ½ inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(5 1/4 x 7 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Magnolia Bud, 1920s
Estate Stamped Platinum / Palladium Print
$4,500

Magnolia flowers, in all their stages of development, held a particular fascination for Imogen during the 1920s.  Her three children were young, her husband Roi was teaching and she had many household responsibilities.  But restraints did little to slow Imogen down; she continued to work, photographing her surroundings and developing a great interest in plants and plant forms.  This Magnolia Bud from the Magnolia Grandiflora tree became one of Imogen's early successes.


Magnolia Blossom
Tower of Jewels, 1925
Estate Stamped
Platinum / Palladium  Print
$4,500

Another great image from the Magnolia series, this print was published simply as "Magnolia Flower" in Imogen's 1970 book, Imogen Cunningham Photographs 1910-1973.  Imogen made an extended study of Magnolia flowers from 1923 to 1925.  This print is one of her signature images; a closer examination of the Magnolia flower's center.

Imogen Cunningham

(6 5/8 x 9 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(7 1/4 x 9 ½ inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Frida Kahlo Painter 2, 1931
Estate Stamped
Silver Gelatin print
$2,500

This striking image of Frida Kahlo was taken during Frida and Diego Rivera's visit to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Dressed in traditional Mexican attire, this print captures the beauty and intensity of this influential painter.


Edward Weston at Pt Lobos, 1945
Estate Stamped
Silver Gelatin Print
$1,800

 

Imogen met Edward in 1920, a few years after she moved to the Bay Area.  Edward and Imogen remained friends throughout their lives, sharing exhibitions and photographic information.  Imogen visited the Weston household on Wildcat Hill in Carmel from time to time.

This photograph was taken at Point Lobos, the stretch of land along the central California coast well know as the subject of many of Weston's images.

Imogen Cunningham

(10 x 11 inch print mounted on 16 x 20 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(13 x 10 inch print mounted on 20 x 16 inch matt)

Unmade Bed, 1957
Estate Stamped
Silver  Gelatin Print
$1,800

The print of the Unmade Bed is a great image of Imogen's, one which she took as a response to her colleague, Dorothea Lange. Dorothea was teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute at the time, and her directive to her students was to take a photograph of their surroundings.  Imogen stopped by the class, and hearing of this, soon captured this image of her own surroundings.  As Imogen recollects, she tossed her hairpins onto the bed, and took the shot.


Tuberose, 1920s
Estate Stamped Platinum / Palladium Print
$4,500

This print of Tuberose is part of the collection of flora images that Imogen shot in the 1920's.  It bridges the visual form of Two Callas with the softness of Magnolia Blossom and holds its own in Imogen's plant series.

Imogen Cunningham

(7 1/4 x 5 7/8 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(6 3/8 x 4 5/8 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Portia Hume 2, about 1930
Estate Stamped
Silver  Gelatin Print
$1,800

This print is from a series of nudes of Portia Hume taken in the 1930s.  Imogen was attracted to the human form her entire career. She began to photograph nudes in the early 1900's, and created a series of focused nude studies in the late 20's and early 30's.  This print has a great sense of depth with a warm tone and nice detail in the highlights.


Phoenix Recumbent, 1968
Estate Stamped
Silver Gelatin Print
$1,800

Imogen's approach to photographing people was different from many other photographers.  Imo said "The thing that's fascinating about portraiture is that nobody is alike.  I am never satisfied staying in one spot.  But I can always stay with people because they really are different."

Imogen Cunningham

(10 1/8x 12 1/2 inch print mounted on 16 x 20 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(2 ¾ x 3 ¾ inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Triangles, 1928
Estate Stamped
Silver Gelatin print
$1,800
This image was made in 1928, in Los Angeles, when Imo was photographing her friends, Jackie and Helen Greaves, both alone and together.  Triangles has become one of Imogen's well-known nudes. Imogen made this 4x5 inch negative, and after developing the negative, she wrote on the file folder, "The One!"

Nude, 1923
Estate Stamped
Platinum / Palladium Print
$4,500

This image of Imogen's was originally titled "Figures, No. 1" and was taken in the midst of Imogen's interest in both nudes and plant forms.  Imogen's shift from pictorialism to modernism is clearly evident in this 1923 work.  Imogen's nude studies reflect some of the tone and feeling of other West Coast photographers and friends, particularly Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and Johan Hagemeyer.

Imogen Cunningham

(9 ¼ x 7 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(7 1/4 x 9 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Tulip Tree 2, 1934
Estate Stamped
Silver Gelatin print
$1,800
This image is of the flowering Tulip Tree, a deciduous tree native to the eastern United States.  By the mid 1930s, Imogen had exhibited a number of botanical images, both overseas and in local exhibitions.  Imogen was drawn to dynamic plant forms, which she most often captured in natural light with large format cameras.

Rubber Plant, a1929
Estate Stamped
Silver  Gelatin Print
$1,800

This print of the Rubber Plant exhibits Imogen's intuitive sense of design while creating direct and unsentimental botanical images.  In 1930, Edward Weston wrote, "With unmistakable joy in her work, with the unclouded eyes of a real photographer, she never resorts to technical stunts.  Imogen Cunningham is a photographer!  A rarely fine one!"

Imogen Cunningham

(10 ¼ x 13 inch print mounted on 16 x 20 inch matt)


Imogen Cunningham

(7 3/8 x 9 ½ inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Aeonium, 1920s
Estate Stamped
Silver Gelatin Print
$1,800

Aeonium, a member of the succulent family, was photographed by Imogen in the 1920s, when she was juggling family life, commercial sittings and her own creative work.  She wrote in a note, "that was when I started photographing what I had in my garden; it was mostly succulents, which I called cacti.  When I learned that all succulents were not cacti, but that all cacti were succulents, I decided to learn a little.  I've been working at it ever since."


Palm Plants 2, 1925
Estate Stamped
Silver  Gelatin Print
$1,800

This image is from an early study of Date Palm plants.  Investigating the photographic possibilities of strong graphic structures, Imogen wrote "for fun I have turned to the unseen spots of nature and curious forms of all things."

Imogen Cunningham

(10 ¾ x 13 inch print mounted on 16 x 20 inch matt)


Magnolia Blossom, 1925
Signed Original Silver Print
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Imogen Cunningham

(9 7/8 x 12 ¾ inch print mounted on 16 x 20 inch matt)

Magnolia Blossom is considered by many to be Imogen's most renowned photograph.  This signed print from Meg Partridge's personal collection was given to her by her father who received it from Imogen's estate.

The provenance labels on the back of this image trace its history from Imogen Cunningham.  This print was conveyed to the Imogen Cunningham Trust by Imogen and labeled "not for resale" prior to being transferred to Rondal Partridge, one of Imogen Cunningham's heirs.


False Hellebore, 1926
Signed Original Silver Print
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Imogen Cunningham

(8 ¼ x 8 5/8 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

This signed print of the False Hellebore is an early printing of this extraordinary image.   The rich tones of this silver print, with the high silver content of vintage photographic paper, gives the image a richness and depth that is hard to achieve today.


Agave Design 2, 1920s
Signed Original Silver Print
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Imogen Cunningham

(7 3/8 x 9 3/8 inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

This signed print of the Agave is very unusual, in that Imogen signed the print on both the top and the bottom of the print.  It is easy to imagine that Imogen started to prepare to mount the print, and signed the top of the image, before realizing the print needed to be flipped!  Throughout her life, her interest in plants only increased as she continued to photograph plant forms and become more intrigued with the plants themselves.  In California, she joined a group called the "Plant Materialists" which met regularly to discuss and exchange information.


Martha Graham 8, 1931
Signed Original Silver Print
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Imogen Cunningham

(6 x 7 ¾ inch print mounted on 14 x 18 inch matt)

Imogen met Martha Graham in 1931 at a dinner party in Santa Barbara, California.  Agreeing to a photo session, Imogen took photographs of Martha Graham in Southern California.  Brilliantly lit by the sun and set against the backdrop of a dark, open barn door, Imogen produced ninety Graflex negatives of Martha Graham in one afternoon.  This photo session resulted in the first of a series Imogen had printed in Vanity Fair in the December, 1931 issue.