Weegee the Modernist… (not the nudist)…

MoMA, 2015

Fellig the Zellig, in a Cartier-Bresson – Lisette Model sandwich, with a side order of (largely) European Modernism…

A Weegee photo in the exhibition of the Thomas Walther Collection of more than 300 photos: “one of the most important acquisitions [made in 2001] in the history of The Museum of Modern Art, a collection of rare photographs made between the two world wars…”

Great essay: “In the Police Wagon, in the Press, and in The Museum of Modern Art” – is here: pdf.

More info on the exhibition is here.
Cool Walther collection website is here.


Some of the cool conservation-related things on the object:photo website would be useful and helpful with explanation and interpretation, like the “paper material” page, and even the “surface” page is a little opaque for us amateurs…

(Although Weegee’s Frank Pape photo is obviously the highlight of the Thomas Walther collection, if not the entire MoMA photography collection, it doesn’t really fit in with the more self-consciously modernist and “experimental” photos…)

Screenshot from MoMA website.

It’s always nice to see the back of a photo on a museum website (or exhibition). Who’s handwriting is that? (It resembles a handwriting that is on the back of several other Weegee photos, and is always as inaccurate as this.) The Photo-Representatives stamp was probably used in the mid 1950s, and presumably not stamped by Weegee. (Perhaps just a copy negative was known in the 1980s.) What is the significance of the pink paper?

Naked City, pp. 166-167 (Pape and Gold)

At dawn on the Lower East Side, a few days before the Frank Pape photo was made, Weegee made three classic photos in the “Death Strikes a Truck Driver at Dawn… And the Living Suffer” story, published in PM on September 7, 1944. The Frank Pape photo was among the last “crime” photos (the precision of the composition reflects many, approximately 9, years of “practice”) that Weegee ever made in New York City (of course he made a few “crime” photos in L.A. a few years later and on the movie tour in 1950). The Frank Pape photo was one of the last “Weegee” photos that Weegee made… On November 22, 1944 a photo of Abraham Gold (charged with murdering his wife) was published in PM; on January 31, 1945 a photo of two alleged basketball bribers was published in PM. And that’s all folks… The rest of his photos (about 25) in PM were made mostly at the Metropolitan Opera, Times Square, and Sammy’s. They were about the opera, Frank Sinatra, elections, orphans, a storm, and the war… (and Weegee himself). The end… or a beginning…

One of many photographers photographing the photograph…
MoMA, 2015

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