Front / Recto

  • Title Attic
  • Negative Date 1921
  • Print Date 1921
  • Medium Palladium print
  • Dimensions Image 7 7/16 × 9 7/16" (18.9 × 23.9 cm)
    Mount 17 15/16 × 14 1/16" (45.5 × 35.7 cm)
  • Place Taken Los Angeles
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Grace M. Mayer Fund and gift of Mrs. Mary Donant and Carl Sandburg, by exchange
  • MoMA Accession Number 1902.2001
  • Copyright © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents.

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type Mount (original)
  • Marks and Inscriptions Inscribed in pencil on mount recto, bottom left: "Attic." Signed in pencil on mount recto, bottom right: Edward Weston 1921. Inscribed in pencil on mount recto, bottom-right corner: 14.
  • Provenance The artist, Los Angeles; to the Bixby Smith Family Collection, Los Angeles, 1985 [1]; to Stephen White, Los Angeles; sold through Sotheby's New York (sale 5383, lot 372) to Galerie zur Stockeregg (Kaspar Fleischmann), Zurich, November 12, 1985 [2]; purchased by Thomas Walther, July 22,1987 [3]; purchased by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] MacGill/Walther 2001(3), p. 25. Paul Jordan Smith and Sarah Bixby Smith were close friends of Weston. Smith was the Los Angeles Times literary critic, and Bixby Smith was a writer and the director of the Friday Morning Club in Los Angeles, where Weston first showed in 1914 and often exhibited after 1917. Llewellyn Bixby Smith, their son, studied photography with Weston in Mexico in 1923.
    [2] Ibid.
    [3] Ibid.; MacGill/Walther 2000(2), p. 69; and Galerie Zur Stockeregg invoice, July 22, 1987, annotated with Thomas Walther archival no. TW 870701.


  • Surface Sheen Matte
  • Techniques Mount
    Contact print
    Retouching (reductive)
  • PTM
    Detail view of the recto of the artwork made using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) software, which exaggerates subtle surface details and renders the features of the artwork plainly visible. Department of Conservation, MoMA
  • Micro-raking
    Raking-light close-up image, as shot. Area of detail is 6.7 x 6.7 mm. Department of Conservation, MoMA
    Raking-light close-up image, processed. Processing included removal of color, equalization of the histogram, and sharpening, all designed to enhance visual comparison. Department of Conservation, MoMA

Paper Material

  • Format Imperial
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso no data
  • Fiber Analysis No fiber data available
  • Material Techniques Palladium print
  • XRF

    This work was determined to be a palladium print via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

    The following elements have been positively identified in the work, through XRF readings taken from its recto and verso (or from the mount, where the verso was not accessible):

    • Recto: Al, Si, P, Ca, Cr, Mn, Fe, Zn, Pd, Hg, Pb
    • Mount: Al, S, Ca, Fe, Zn, Pb

    The graphs below show XRF spectra for three areas on the print: two of the recto—from areas of maximum and minimum image density (Dmax and Dmin)—and one of the verso or mount. The background spectrum represents the contribution of the XRF instrument itself. The first graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the lower energy range (0 to 8 keV). The second graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the higher energy range (8 to 40 keV).

    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Al, Si, P, S, Ca, Cr, Pd, Hg
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Mn, Fe, Zn, Hg, Pb

In Context

Historical Publications

  • Mortimer, F. J., ed. Photograms of the Year 1921: The Annual Review of the World’s Pictorial Photographic Work, pl. 29 (as Betty in Her Attic). New York: Tennant & Ward, 1921.

    Pictorial Photography in America, 1922, p. 59 (as Grey Attic). New York: Pictorial Photographers of America, 1922.

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