Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Sands of Time: The Oceano Dunes and the Westons

(Click on images to enlarge)
The Weston Family, 1937. Brett Weston photo. Back row from left; Chandler, Brett and Neil; front row; Edward, Cole and Flora.

 Imogen Cunningham, Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston, 1922. Courtesy of Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. (Frontispiece from  A Passionate Collaboration: Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston).

Chandler and Brett Weston, unknown dunes, ca. 1916. Edward Weston photo. From Weston's Westons: Portraits and Nudes by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, p. 10. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Edward Weston and his oldest two sons, Chandler and Brett (see above), each had success photographing the Oceano Dunes evidenced by their cover photos for Dune Forum and California Arts & Architecture published during 1933 and 1934. The earliest reference to sand dunes I have been able to find in the work of the family patriarch, Edward, are the above photo of Chandler and Brett taken circa 1916 and the below 1921 images of Max Eastman. The Eastman prints were co-signed by Edward and his former lover of eight years and equal partner for a short time in 1921, Margrethe Mather. These photos thus presaged the three Westons' fascination with the Oceano Dunes by over a dozen years.

Edward Weston and Margarethe Mather, "Max Eastman at Water's Edge", 1921. Platinum-palladium print, tipped to a mount, signed by Mather and signed and dated by Weston in pencil on the mount, matted, a Museum of Modern Art label on the reverse, 1921. (From Sotheby's: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art : April 25, 2001 : Sale NY7632, p. 140).

Edward Weston and Margarethe Mather, "Max Eastman on Beach", 1921. Platinum-palladium print, tipped to a mount, signed by Mather and signed and dated by Weston in pencil on the mount, matted, a Museum of Modern Art label on the reverse, 1921. (From Sotheby's: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art : April 25, 2001 : Sale NY7632, p. 140).

Eastman first met Margrethe Mather when he traveled to Los Angeles on a lecture tour in 1918. Beth Gates-Warren, author of A Passionate Collaboration: Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston, has pointed out that Max Eastman, in his autobiography, states that the portrait photographs of him were made by Margrethe Mather alone, in the dunes south of Los Angeles. The photographs were, however, signed by both Mather and Weston and also exhibited on several occasions in 1921, as joint efforts. (Sotheby's: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art : April 25, 2001 : Sale NY7632, pp. 140-1). The vague description of the location I speculate could be Redondo Beach, home of Weston's close friend Ramiel McGehee.

Edward Weston and Margarethe Mather, "Max Eastman, Poet", 1921. Platinum-palladium print, tipped to a mount, signed by Mather and signed and dated by Weston in pencil on the mount, matted, a Museum of Modern Art label on the reverse, 1921. (From Sotheby's: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art : April 25, 2001 : Sale NY7632, p. 141).

Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and Ramiel McGehee with camera, 1923.  Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration, by Beth Gates Warren, p. 31. 

The above and below 1923 Weston images of Margrethe Mather posing nude on the sand predate Weston's iconic nude images of Charis Wilson at the Oceano Dunes by 13 years. Shortly before Weston left for Mexico with Tina Modotti and son Chandler he spent a few days in Redondo Beach with Ramiel and Margrethe briefly reviving his old love affair. Weston wrote in his November 4, 1923 Mexico Daybook entry regarding the results from his first exhibition in Mexico at "Aztec Land," "Of the eight prints sold, six were nudes of Margrethe made that last terrific week with her, before leaving for Mexico. Diego [Rivera] liked one of the beach fragments of her the best of anything in my collection." (The Daybooks of Edward Weston: Volume I Mexico, p. 27).

Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather reclining on sand, Redondo Beach, 1923.  Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents. From Margrethe Mather & Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration, by Beth Gates Warren, p. 31.

Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, "Anniversary", Mexico, 1924. From Frida Kahlo: Her Photos, edited by Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Editorial RM, 2010, p. 403).

Aerial view of the extensive dunes complex at the mouth of the Santa Maria River. Courtesy Google Earth.

Early Oceano Beach real estate ad, ca. 1905. From Images of America: Oceano by Linda Austin and Norm Hammond, Arcadia, 2010, p. 14. Courtesy Oceano Depot Association collection.

The Ten Commandments, Nipomo Dunes, 1923. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Cecil B. De Mille, recognizing the timeless Biblical quality of the dune complex at the mouth of the Santa Maria River as an adequate surrogate for Egypt, filmed his legendary The Ten Commandments on the the Nipomo Dunes just south of Oceano in 1923 about the same time Weston was photographing Mather on Redondo Beach. (See above and below). The massive undertaking was thoroughly documented during the year with over 25 articles just in the Los Angeles Times reporting on every aspect of the most expensive film ever made. Within a month, De Mille's construction team had completed the sensational set, against which De Mille would photograph most of the more fabulous outdoor action. Ramses the Magnificent's city walls and gate towered 10 stories high, were 250 yards wide and featured massive statues of Ramses. Twenty-one monumental sphinxes lined a grand processional avenue before the gate. Once the hardware was in place, De Mille brought in 6,000 horses, cows, chickens and other animals; 1,000 Hollywood technicians, a full orchestra, and upward of 2,500 actors and extras. Upon the completion of filming three months later on the $1.5 million extravaganza, the massive sets were buried in the dunes by bulldozers to save the expense of dismantling them and hauling them back to Los Angeles.

The Ten Commandments directed by Cecil B. De Mille, Nipomo Dunes, 1923.

Different versions exist as to when Edward Weston first became aware of the artistic, photogenic qualities of the neighboring Oceano Dunes. Many in his circle had intimate knowledge of them beginning in the mid-1920s. Pauline Schindler, a friend of Weston's since his first visit to the Schindler's Kings Road house in 1922, likely became aware of the Dunes through English playwright and theater promoter Maurice Browne and actress and poet Ellen Janson, who lived in neighboring Halcyon in 1924. Janson's parents built her a house in Oceano the same year which was her base of operations until then lover R. M. Schindler designed her a house in Los Angeles in 1947. (See my related article, Pauline Gibling Schindler: Vagabond Agent for Modernism, 1927-1936 for a more detailed discussion. (PGS)).

Pauline Schindler first stayed in Janson's house after leaving Schindler, their home and her by then infamous Sunday evening salons in late August of 1927. Browne had lectured at Kings Road in October 1925 by which time Pauline was also friends with Janson. Richard and Dione Neutra, then still tenants at Kings Road, visited the dunes during November 1928 on their way to lecture, perform and vacation in Carmel  at Pauline's invitation in November 1928. It was through Neutra's largess that Edward and Brett Weston and friend Imogen Cunningham were included in the groundbreaking traveling Film und Foto exhibition which opened in Stuttgart in 1929. (PGS). John and Mollie O'Shea, Weston patrons and 1930 portrait clients who lived in the Carmel Highlands, also had close ties to Halcyon resident John Varian. Irish poet and mystic Ella Young, another 1930 portrait sitter for Weston, also lived in neighboring Oceano. (See below) (PGS).

Edward Weston, Ella Young, Carmel, March 31, 1930. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Ella Young wrote of the dunes in her autobiography,
"How shall I describe the Dunes and the great sea-beach at Oceano? I have seen so many sunsets, vermilion, rose, or flame-magenta, turn those multitudinous drift-piles to purple valleys and moon-white eminences; to gray-green trackless expanses and velvet-black crevasses! My memory vivifies picture after picture so varied that no one picture suffices." (Flowering Dusk, p. 234)  
Maurice Browne penned of the Dunes in his autobiography,
"The sand-dunes were hilly as the Sahara; in their hollows tall scrub grew quickly; brackish water, drinkable when boiled, could be had by digging two or three feet; the scrub hid far-scattered shacks; amid it smoke rose each weekday. On Sunday no fires were lit; from a high dune a stranger would look across a thousand acres and see no sign of human habitation." (Too Late to Lament, p. 278). (For much more on Browne, Young and the Dunites see PGS).
Dora Hagemeyer, Carmelite frequent poetry contributor and editorial board member and sister-in-law of longtime Weston friend, photographer Johan Hagemeyer, stayed at Ellen Janson's house in Halcyon during the summer of 1928. Pauline Schindler published her "Letter from Halcyon" in the July 18th issue, her article "A Visit with Ella Young" in the August 29th issue and her drawing "Sand Dunes at Halcyon" on the cover of the October 24th issue. (See below). Weston would be named a Carmelite contributing editor by Pauline after his December 1928 move to Hagemeyer's Carmel studio where he held court during 1929-30. Weston would move his studio into the Seven Arts Building after a falling out with Hagemeyer over a rent increase.

 "Sand Dunes at Halcyon," by Dora Hagemeyer, The Carmelite, October 24, 1928. Courtesy Harrison Library, Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Galka Scheyer, an intimate in the Schindler-Neutra circle and agent for The Blue Four in the U.S., traveled often between San Francisco and Los Angeles promoting their work, with stops in Carmel staying with Pauline Schindler and Halcyon with Ellen Janson, and thus undoubtedly had knowledge of the Dunes from around the same period. (PGS)

Brett and Elinore Weston, 1931. Photo by Edward Weston. From Woods, p. 144. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Pauline allowed Brett to establish his first professional studio in Frank Lloyd Wright's Storer House in which she was living during 1930-31 and through her contacts with Scheyer held private showings of his work at the Braxton Gallery. Scheyer also lived briefly at the Storer House during the same period. (PGS)Around this same period both Chandler and Brett photographed projects for Pauline for her various articles and exhibitions promoting modern architecture.

It was from the Storer House that Brett and new wife Elinore (see above) moved in late 1931 to Santa Maria, just east of the dunes to open a studio with Chandler with much financial support from Edward. Thus, it could very well have been through Pauline and her circle that either Brett and/or Chandler first discovered the dunes. In any event, Edward and his two eldest sons seem to have been destined to be the first to photograph this area in such creative depth. (For much more on the Scheyer-Weston relationship see PGS). 

John Charles Woods, who often traveled with Brett, stated in his essay "Brett" in Dune: Edward & Brett Weston, that Brett's first dune photographs were made in 1931. During their travels between 1974 and Brett's death in 1993, 
"Brett often told of how his older brother Chandler discovered the dunes near the seaside colony of Oceano, California. When the two brothers opened a studio in nearby Santa Maria, Chandler's enthusiastic recommendation lured their father Edward to the Dunes." 
Despite Brett's recollection to Woods, the most definitive evidence of how Weston first became aware of the Dunes is his inscription to Scheyer on the back of a photograph of the Dunes in her collection archived at the Norton Simon Museum, "To Galka/ who first told me/ about the Dunes/ Edward/ 1936." (From The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, p. 159, item 456).

Chandler Weston photo. Oceano Dunes, 1933. Front cover, Dune Forum Subscribers’ Number, Fall 1933.

Chandler's above photo was the first of the family's dune output to be published. It appeared on the cover of the initial subscriber's number of editor Gavin Arthur's Dune Forum in the fall of 1933. Arthur, grandson of President Chester A. Arthur, published the short-lived literary magazine out of his headquarters in the little community of Moy Mell in the midst of the dunes. (See below). (For a more in-depth look at Arthur and his circle see my related article at PGS). 

Gavin Arthur, ca. 1934. Portrait by Brett Weston. Image scanned from Brett Weston Photographs: 1925-1930 and 1980-1982, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1983, p. 10.

A shrewd Arthur took advantage of the editorial and writing talent at his disposal by putting publisher of the Carmelite, Pauline Schindler and her friend, the previously mentioned Oceano resident and poet Ellen Janson, to work as assistant editors knowing that they had a wide circle of friends from which to solicit articles. Pauline's links to the Westons (and Edward's Group f/64 colleagues Willard Van Dyke and Ansel Adams) was the obvious source of all of the photographs appearing on the magazine's covers before it folded after the May 1934 issue. Some time in late 1933 or early 1934, Brett captured the above portrait of Gavin who, after permanently vacating his residence in the dunes community of Moy Mell (see below) after Dune Forum folded, allowed the Westons to stay during their seminal 1936 visits.

Photographer unknown. Gavin Arthur's residence and Dune Forum headquarters, Moy Mell, 1934. (Schindler, Pauline, "Oceano Dunes and their Mystics",  Westways, February, 1934, pp. 12-13, 19). 

Brett Weston, Tree Trunk, Point Lobos, 1933. Front cover, Dune Forum, January 15, 1934.

Brett Weston's January Dune Forum cover photo above was not of the dunes but featured instead one of his Point Lobos pieces photographed while living with his father in Carmel a few years earlier. His first dune photograph was published later in 1934 on the cover of the August number of California Arts & Architecture seen later in this article.

Willard Van Dyke, Oceano Dunes, 1934. Front cover, Dune Forum, February 15, 1934.

Edward Weston and his Group f/64 collaborator Willard Van Dyke (along with Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams, Johan Hagemeyer, Sonya Noskowiak and others), traveled on a weekend junket to the dunes no more than a few weeks prior to a Van Dyke image appearing on the cover of Dune Forum's February issue. (see above). (The Letters Between Edward Weston and Willard Van Dyke, edited by Leslie Squyres Calmes, Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, 1992, pp. 22-23). The visit is corroborated by a late January 1934 letter from John Cage to Pauline Schindler referencing Cage's article for the above February issue which also referenced Edward's visit. (PGS). This was both men's first visit to what would become Weston's most iconic subject matter. Pauline Schindler also published her estranged husband's article "Space Architecture" in this issue.

The contributor's notes at the back of the February issue describe the insurmountable difficulty Van Dyke and Weston had in reaching Moy Mell.
"Willard Van Dyke, who made the photograph reproduced on the cover, is a young Californian regarded by Edward Weston as one of the coming geniuses in that art. It is only recently that photography has been accorded a place among the legitimate arts. On this coast probably Edward Weston is the supreme master, and his commendation is enough to ensure a hearing among those who know. Van Dyke has been exhibited extensively in California. He lives and works in Oakland, but travels constantly. He [and Edward] came to the dunes, but tried to come down the beach at high tide, almost lost his car, and never reached Moy Mell at all. They had to content themselves with photographing the northern end of the dune crest, which is accessible from Oceano direct. We hope they will be luckier next time." ("Notes and Names: Willard Van Dyke," Dune Forum, February 15, 1934, p. 62).

Weston later wrote of the occasion in his April 20, 1934 Daybook entry, "One weekend Willard came down after just quitting his job with the Shell Oil Co,: we took his car, I paying the expenses, and drove to Oceano. There, I made several dune negatives that mark the new epoch in my work. I must go back there, - the material made for me!" (The Daybooks of Edward Weston: Volume II California, p. 282). The same month Gavin and Pauline published Van Dyke's dunes cover photo, Pauline's article on the Dunites, which also announced Arthur's Dune Forum, appeared in Westways. (See below). (PGS).

Schindler, Pauline, "Oceano Dunes and Their Mystics", Westways, February, 1934, pp. 12-13, 19.

Edward's first publication of a dune photo, also taken on the late January trip to Oceano with Van Dyke, was on the cover of Dune Forum's second to last issue. As can be seen from the below image, the best of his dunes work would be produced later between 1936 and 1939.

Edward Weston, Oceano Dunes, January 1934. Front cover, Dune Forum, April 15, 1934.

The last, but not least, Dune Forum cover was by none other than fellow Group f/64 photographer Ansel Adams. (See below). Although the photograph was not of the dunes, Adams would later play an important role with the Sierra Club in keeping the dunes form being destroyed for the construction of a nuclear power plant in the early 1960s. Because of pressure brought to bear by Adams and his Sierra Club, the site for the plant was relocated to secluded Diablo Canyon on the beach just north of San Luis Obispo. (Ansel Adams: An Autobiography, New York Graphic Society, 1985, pp. 153-4).  In this issue Pauline also placed Richard Neutra's three-page article, "Balancing the Two Determinates of Creation" in which he discussed architectural functionalism.

Ansel Adams, Dunes, Oceano, California, 1963. Courtesy of Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona.

Ansel Adams, Anchor, n.d. Front cover, Dune Forum, May 15, 1934.

Edward Weston by Merle Armitage, E. Weyhe, New York, 1932. (From Designed Books by Merle Armitage, E. Weyhe, New York, 1938, p. 97). (From my collection).

 Designed Books by Merle Armitage, E. Weyhe, New York, 1938). (From my collection).

Merle Armitage, a friend of Edward's since the mid-1920s and patron since 1928, also published the first monograph of Edward's work in 1932 (see above) and another in 1947 and a monograph on Brett in 1956. He began contributing articles on modern artists including Edward Weston (see below), Eugene Maier-Krieg, Millard Sheets, Weston close friend and confidant, Henrietta Shore and others to California Arts & Architecture in 1932. During this same year Armitage also began publishing fine press books on the same artists using both Brett and Edward's artist portraits and photos of their work as frontispieces and illustrations. The Brett Weston portrait of his father below was also the frontispiece in Armitage's 1932 Edward Weston monograph seen above. CA&A publisher George Oyer named Armitage to his editorial advisory board in 1933, whereupon he immediately began exerting a modernizing influence on the publication. (See my related article "California Arts & Architecture: A Steppingstone to Fame: Harwell Hamilton Harris and John Entenza: Two Case Studies").

Brett Weston, "Edward Weston," 1932 in Armitage, Merle, "Edward Weston", California Arts & Architecture, 1932.

Edward Weston, "Brett Weston", 1931. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Merle Armitage, The Photography of Edward Weston, June 1930, Touring Topics. (From my collection).

Under Armitage's s influence, Oyer began to publish cover photos of architecture by Armitage's friend Will Connell, photographs by Brett Weston (see below), paintings by Millard Sheets and wood block prints by Paul Landacre, all of whom were promoted and heavily collected by Armitage. Likely through Armitage's largess, Brett, Edward (see above) and Landacre appeared frequently in Phil Townsend Hanna's Touring Topics and later, Westways Magazine, the organ for the Automobile Association of Southern California. (See my related post "Touring Topics / Westways: The Phil Townsend Hanna Years"). Brett's cover photo below illustrates how highly evolved his creative understanding of the dunes was by 1934. Edward's reaction upon seeing Brett's work must have been a strong feeling of pride and a sense of urgency for wanting to get back to view the dunes more thoroughly through his own lens which he was finally able to find the time to do beginning in 1936.

Brett Weston, Oceano Dunes, 1934. Front cover, California Arts & Architecture, August 1934. Courtesy, Kappe Library, SCI-Arc.

Armitage  just so happened to be accompanying Brett when he broke his leg in a serious horseback riding accident in Carmel on March 21, 1929. Edward wrote about it at length in his Daybook and Pauline Schindler reported on it in the next issue of the Carmelite. Edward wrote on March 22, "I cannot forget the way in which Merle has stood by us in every possible way." (The Daybooks of Edward Weston: II, California, p. 114).

Brett Weston, "Eugene Maier-Krieg frontispiece portrait, 1932" The Work of Maier-Krieg by Merle Armitage, 1932. (From Designed Books by Merle Armitage, E. Weyhe, New York, 1938, p. 97). (From my collection).

Shortly after Brett's accident, Edward met Sonya Noskowiak through Johan Hagemeyer at a party at Ella Winter and Lincoln Steffens' house in Carmel and from 1929 to 1935 she lived with him as a lover, student, model, printer of his commercial photographs and surrogate mother to his children. Hagemayer taught her the basics of the trade while she was working for him in San Francisco. While with Weston she developed a strong vision of her own, and she quickly became known for her portraits and artistic images. She became part of Group/f/64 in 1932 on equal footing with Weston, Adams, Hagemayer, Van Dyke and Cunningham. Her portrait of Armitage below was taken circa 1930 during one of his frequent trips to Carmel to visit Edward.

 Edward Weston, "Sonya Noskowiak", 1930. From Weston's Westons: Portraits and Nudes, by Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Museum of Fine Arts Boston, p. 128. (From my collection). Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Sonya Noskowiak. "Merle Armitage" circa 1930. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

"Topics of the Month: Introducing a New Associate", California Arts & Architecture, 1933.

The above excerpt from a 1933 issue of CA&A announces the appointment of Armitage to the Editorial Advisory Board undoubtedly bolstered Armitage's unflagging promotional efforts of the Weston's to the publication's editors.

Announcement card for Brett Weston Exhibition, Julien Levy Gallery, New York, October 1-15, 1935.

Armitage also had a hand in Brett's first one-man show in New York at the Julien Levy Gallery writing the blurb for the exhibition's announcement card (see above). Levy was trying valiantly to provide a forum for modern photography. He was struck by Brett's work at the Oceano Dunes which preceded his father's by at least two years.

Edward Weston, MGM Studios, 1939. California Arts & Architecture, January 1941. (From The Story of Eames Furniture by Marilyn and John Neuhart, p. 84).

Edward Weston, "Neil Weston building his boat," Wilmington, 1935. Front cover, California Arts & Architecture, September 1941. (From my collection).

After wresting control of California Arts & Architecture from publisher and editor Jere Johnson in May of 1940, John Entenza, most likely with the continuing promotion by Armitage, continued to feature work by Edward, illustrated by his above January 1941 cover photo of MGM Studios taken in 1939 and September 1941 cover photo of son Neil building his boat in a Wilmington boatyard in 1935. (Steppingstone).

Edward Weston, Oceano Dunes, Westways, September 1938, p. 6. (From my collection).

Armitage was also responsible for finding Weston work with the Public Works of Art Project, Southern California Region of which he was the regional director during 1934-5. Weston had the good fortune of receiving a Guggenheim grant in 1937 after being commissioned by Westways editor Hanna for a 21-part series, "Seeing California with Edward Weston" which appeared in consecutive issues during 1937-38 (see above) and was later compiled into a book of the same name. (See below). Reenactment footage of Edward and Charis Wilson on their Guggenheim travels can be seen in the film on Edward and Charis's relationship, Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson.
Seeing California with Edward Weston, Automobile Club of Southern California, 1939

William Holgers, "Edward Weston and Charis Wilson," Collection Center for Creative Photography. From the cover of Through Another Lens: My Years with Edward Weston by Charis Wilson, North Point Press, 1998.

Some of Weston's most iconic photographs were made after Edward met the 19-year old Charis Wilson in 1934. He began photographing the dunes and Charis nude scenes on the dunes in 1936. Some very intriguing live action reenactment footage of Weston photographing Charis on the dunes can also be seen in  Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson.

Edward Weston, "Nude, Oceano Dunes" 1936. Collection Center for Creative Photography. ©1981 Arizona Board of Regents.

Maudelle Bass, Oceano Dunes, 1939. Edward Weston photograph.

One of Edward's last significant trips to Oceano occurred in August 1939 when modern dancer and artist's model par excellence Maudelle Bass appeared on his doorstep seemingly out of the blue. Bass was a dance student of Edward's muse from the late 1920s, Bertha Wardell. Possibly through an introduction by Wardell or her friend and colleague, UCLA art teacher Annita Delano whom Bass had also modeled, Bass went up to Carmel in 1939 to present a program of African dances. While there she posed for Johan HagemeyerSonya Noskowiak and Weston, enabling Edward to fulfill his 1931 dream to photograph a black model. At that time Edward wrote, “If I had a nude body to work with - a Negress, a black fat Negress, then I could have worked! This desire keeps popping into my mind.” (March 6, 1931, DBII, p. 206. For more on Bass see my "Bertha Wardell: Dances in Silence"). 

Brett Weston, Oceano, 1963. Courtesy Richard C. Miller, photographer. 

Edward  made very few dune photographs beyond 1939 while Brett continued to revisit the area intermittently the rest of his life. (See above). His love of the dunes inspired his 1949 White Sands portfolio and a series of wooden sculptures made from his images of the dunes. (Dune: Edward & Brett Weston by Kurt Markus,Wild Horse Island Press, 2003, p. 217). 

Marquee for Museum of Modern Art Exhibition, 1939. (Art in Our Time by Glenn Lowry, Museum of Modern Art, 2004).

New York's Museum of Modern Art recognized Brett's dunes mastery by purchasing four of his dunes images from 1934, 1935, 1937 and 1938 along with four other photos for inclusion in it's May 11 - October 1, 1939 "Art in Our Time" exhibition celebrating the opening of the museum's new building at 11 West 53rd Street. Brett's work in the "Photography" section was exhibited side-by-side with the likes of Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Walker Evans and Man Ray and a model of a house by Richard Neutra in the nearby "Houses and Housing: Industrial Arts" section of the show. (Press Release, Museum of Modern Art, April 3, 1939, p. 3).

Selected Weston Books With Dune Covers

Edward Weston: Life Work, by Sarah M. Lowe and Dody Weston Thompson, Lodima Press, 2003.

Supreme Instants: the Photography of Edward Weston by Beaumont Newhall, New York Graphic Society, 1986. (From my collection).

Edward Weston: A Legacy by Jennifer Watts, et al, Merrell Publishers, 2003.

Brett Weston: A Personal Selection, Brett Weston, Photography West Graphics, 1986.

Dune: Edward & Brett Weston by Kurt Markus,Wild Horse Island Press, 2003.

In Pursuit of Form: Sculpture and Photographs by Brett Weston, essay by Mary Murray, Monterey Museum of Art, 2002.

A Restless Eye: A Biography of Photographer Brett Weston by John Charles Woods, Erika Weston Editions, 2011.

Selected Weston and Dune Resources

Edward Weston: American Photographer at the Monterey Museum of Art, June 18 - October 2, 2011