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1943

1943 "The Critic" by Weegee (Artist Signed)

THE iconic image by the equally iconic photographer Weegee (Arthur Felig 1899-1968), who became world famous for his gritty black & white realism and "guerrilla" photography. In this image a drunk woman confronts two very High Society women, Mrs. George Washington Kavanaugh (yes, that George Washington) and her friend Lady Decies at the opening of the Metropolitan Opera. They appear unmoved (through years of practice) to be near someone who became most famously known as the "disheveled woman". In fact the entire thing was staged, which today would be considered a journalistic faux pas (fake news?). In fact, the result is in the pudding. Weegee's flash illuminates their furs, jewels and ridiculous tiaras, drawing us in. The drunk woman emerges from the shadows, saying something, but nothing, perfectly demonstrating the division of classes. THAT is what makes this image as fresh and powerful today as it was in 1943. Perhaps even more so.As far as the staging, Weegee's assistant Louie Liotta (perfect name for this) later revealed in an interview that Weegee had asked him to bring him a "regular" from a Bowery bar. They got her drunk, positioned her at the red carpet, and Weegee was ready.As far as condition, there is one crease where the paper is slightly broken otherwise EX. We cannot comment on the condition of any of the women. The contrast is perfect and it is unique as far as offered specimens we have found as this is the ONLY signed one offered of recent memory. It is signed by Arthur Felling, "Weegee 1944" in the bottom left corner and is personalized to who appears to be "Gilbert Cherrick". Photo measures 14x11" and is definitively a Type I. An unsigned specimen brought $18,750 at auction in 2017.


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