Mounted to large buff-colored card, signed and dated by the photographer in pencil on the mount, matted, 1927\nAccording to James Rochlis’s notes, the photograph offered here was his first photographic purchase, in May of 1969. As Rochlis wrote in his unpublished memoir of the Witkin Gallery, "After we purchased our first Weston--a beautiful signed print of the shell series, Two Shells, 1927, this led to a series of other purchases over a ten-year period, Weston, Kuehn, Hine, Evans, Atget, and of current-day artists Cunningham, Tice, Uelsmann, Adams, Callahan, Gene Smith. The group included all manner of print media—silver, platinum, bromoil-transfer."\nWeston scholarship, one of the most flourishing branches of all of photography scholarship at the present time, was vastly different in 1969, the year that James and Riva Rochlis began collecting photographs. Indeed, published volumes on Weston’s work at that time were few. Long out-of-print, but possibly accessible, would have been Merle Armitage’s The Art of Edward Weston (1932), as well as Edward Weston: Fifty Photographs (1947). Along with magazine articles, and these two important anthologies, there was the 1946 catalogue of The Museum of Modern Art’s Edward Weston exhibition, a volume which Rochlis bought from Witkin at the time of the Two Shells purchase. There was, however, no Weston biography (Ben Maddow’s Edward Weston: Fifty Years did not appear until 1973), and more important, no published work by Amy Conger, whose definitive Edward Weston: Photographs from the Collection of the Center of Creative Photography (Tucson, 1992), was decades away.\nWith no books or auction catalogues as guides, Rochlis nonetheless acquired what today is considered the earliest, and for some connoisseurs, the best, state of a Weston shell image: printed on matte-surface paper, affixed to a large, early mount, with the photographer’s early signature. Later, Weston would switch to a glossier paper, and as he made more prints from the negative of the Two Shells, would begin to number the prints in a projected edition of fifty. Weston’s log book at the Center for Creative Photography indicates that eighteen numbered prints were made from this negative. The Rochlis print precedes this numbered edition, and the considerable expense this purchase entailed in 1969 seems more than justified with over thirty years of hindsight.\nProvenance notes kept by the Rochlises indicate that the present print likely came from the collection of the artist Rockwell Kent. Given the documented connections between Weston and Kent, this provenance is entirely possible. In March of 1928, Weston wrote to Kent, a contributing editor of Creative Art magazine, suggesting that certain West Coast artists--specifically, Henrietta Shore and Edward Weston—merited attention. Weston offered to send photographs of their work for Kent’s consideration (Daybook, California, p. 52). There is no record of Kent’s reply to Weston’s letter, but in August 1928, Creative Art magazine did publish an article by Weston entitled ‘From My Day Book’ (reprinted in Bunnell, Edward Weston on Photography, pp. 48-52). Another of Weston’s double-shell photographs (Conger 545) was used to illustrate the article. Although there are few further published documents between Kent and Weston, we know that in 1936, Weston included Rockwell Kent in a list of sponsors for his first Guggenheim fellowship.\nSotheby’s would like to thank Amy Rule of the Center for Creative Photography, Paul Hertzmann and Susan Herzig, and Rockwell Kent scholar Scott Ferris for their contributions to this entry.