The Pond—Moonlight

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The Pond—Moonlight by Edward Steichen, 1904

The Pond—Moonlight (also exhibited as The Pond—Moonrise [1][2]) is a pictorialist photograph by Edward Steichen. The photograph was made in 1904 in Mamaroneck, New York, near the home of his friend art critic Charles Caffin. The photograph features a forest across a pond, with part of the moon appearing over the horizon in a gap in the trees. The Pond—Moonlight is an early photograph created by manually applying light-sensitive gums, giving the final print more than one color.

Only three known versions of The Pond-Moonlight are still in existence and, as a result of the hand-layering of the gums, each is unique. In February 2006, a print of the photograph sold for US $2.9 million,[3][4] at the time, the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction. This auction is presented in the part 6 of the BBC documentary The Genius of Photography.[5] In addition to the auctioned print, the other two versions are held in museum collections. The extraordinary sale price of the print is, in part, attributable to its one-of-a-kind character and to its rarity.[5]

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