SEAN PERRY: Sheila Metzner. Color

Sheila Metzner, Color

Beautiful printing, fine photographs and exquisite publishing. There is a trifecta of mastery at play that make this a unique and desirable title. I am moved by each and believe you will find them worthy of your time.

The Fresson print is a lush, secretive and exclusive process akin to the carbon print, first shared with the French Photographic Society in 1899 by Théodore-Henri Fresson. In the 1950s two of his sons opened a shop in Paris and evolved the process to render color. They continue today with the inventors' grandson and great-grandson now producing these distinctive prints. Rich and tactile with a soft elegant palette, they feature grain and texture that echoes the atmosphere of a pointillist painting.

I am so not kidding when I say rare! It is a proprietary process and only produced for artists in small quantities by this French family. Extraordinarily stable and perhaps the most archival of all color printing processes, they are highly prized by collectors. I have a deep love of these exquisite objects, introduced to me by photography icon Sheila Metzner.

 by Doug Beach

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1939, Ms. Metzner is an immensely collected artist known for her work featuring Fresson prints. She attended Pratt Institute and began a career in advertising, rising to the first ever female art-director at Doyle Dane Bernbach. She left after the birth of her first child (of five) and continued to make pictures relatively unknown for years. Critical mass arrived as the preeminent curator John Szarkowski (Museum of Modern Art), included one of her images in the notable exhibition "Mirrors and Windows: American Photography since 1960." It would be the catalyst to launch editorial, fashion and commercial clients as well as her work being acquired for significant permanent collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The International Center of Photography and the Museum of Modern Art.

Her retrospective monograph Color, was masterfully produced by Jack Woody in 1991. It covers the first 20 years of her career – a broad range of fashion, still life, portraits and landscape work. It's truly a beautiful title produced by one of my favorite publishers, Twin Palms. The book is 9 by 12 inches with 76 four-color plates over 172 pages. Lush green cloth boards with titles stamped in black on spine and cover. This copy is in near-fine condition, with only the lightest shelf wear to the dust jacket. Binding is tight with crisp and bright pages, no remainder marks and no clippings. Publisher postcard is still tucked inside end-paper and front cover. Likely never read, my guess overstock to a bookstore somewhere. First Edition, First Printing.

Twin Palms Publisher, Jack Woody
Photograph by Duane Michals

The book is on hold at the HPB Parmer location in Austin, Texas until Sunday at close under the name, Mr. Fresson. Originally available at $60.00, I suggest you partake, it is offered exclusively for $5.00 to the first to ask for it at the checkout counter – a sumptuous feast for your senses for a few pennies and pluck.

Internet friends may find copies online. I found a decent list at AbeBooks to survey here. And a signed limited edition is available directly from Twin Palms Publishers.

Until next time – Sean Perry

No comments: