HIROMU KIRA | 'PHIALS'
gelatin silver print, on a double mount, signed in pencil on the second mount, signed, titled, and annotated in ink and with Camera Club exhibition labels on the reverse, framed, Ginny Williams Collection labels on the reverse, circa 1930
10¼ by 13 in. (26 by 33 cm.)
This photograph, on matte-surface paper, is in generally very good condition. In raking light, faint age-appropriate silvering and expertly applied deposits of original retouching are barely perceptible. There is faint warm-toned mottling in the midtones, which is visible only upon close examination. There is modest wear along the upper edge of the photograph.
The photograph is mounted to grey-brown paper that is trimmed nearly to the image and it is mounted again to cream-colored card. The mount is sunned where is was not covered by the mat. There is some minor soiling near the edges and the corners are bumped or creased.
The reverse of the mount is signed, titled, and annotated by the photographer in ink:
'Hiromu Kira, F. R. P. S.' (Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society)
'256 E. First Street' [crossed out]
'945 So. Normandie Ave.,
Los Angeles, Calif.'
'1615' is in an unidentified hand in pencil and '24' is in crayon.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Photo-Era Magazine, May 1930, frontispiece
Birkenhead, Annual Exhibition of the Birkenhead Photographic Association, 1930
Trondheim, 2nd International Photography Exhibition of the Trondheim Camera Club, 1930
Brussels, XIII Salon International d'Art Bruxelles, 1931
Beginning in 1928, Japanese-American Hiromu Kira made several glassware studies, a departure from his previous Pictorialist photography. They were among the 73 photographs he exhibited in more than 260 salons throughout the world between 1928 and 1932 and, no doubt, were a factor in his selection as a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1929. Artfully signed with long tails of graphite extending from the letters – a practice Kira abandoned by the early 1930s –, the photograph offered here represents the ideal early presentation of this image. At the time of this writing only two prints of this image have been located, both in institutional collections: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles.