Fair Thee Well

More than 200 Art Basel visitors to Miami Beach took advantage of an opportunity to see a display of rare books, periodicals, and ephemeral items in The Wolfsonian library collection last Friday evening. The guests were treated to a selection of highlights from our holdings and items that had been, or would be, featured in past and future library installations. The display also included some recent gifts donated by Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf earlier this fall season. Here is the report of our Sharf Associate Librarian, Rochelle Pienn.

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Once a year in December, just prior to the winter holidays, the Wolfsonian–FIU hosts its Art Basel event. All the work we do here culminates into the splendor of this exotic episode of music, cocktails, fascinating objects, enthusiastic crowds, and the exceptional library treasures we invite the public to see.

Guests congregate around a table laden with original photograph albums and antique books from all over the world. All night long, attendees enjoy a rare opportunity to make themselves at home and page through the past.

This year’s display featured a special selection of materials from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection.

1

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

This photo album was most likely put together in Egypt at the Royal Air Force base in Abu-Sueir (Suwayr) by a member of its 27th flight training squadron.

2

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

Candid portraits of natives are interspersed with startling images of flight training mishaps.

3

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collectionn

Another type of local caught the attention of the photographer.

4

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

This original photo album was produced by Lieutenant J. D. Harding from the Kent Regiment of the British Army between 1918 and 1919 in the Northwest Frontier of India, Afghanistan, and Balochistan, at the beginning of the 3rd Afghan War.

5

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

Some Pashtuns, from a primary ethnic group still prevalent in Afghanistan and Pakistan today, are taken prisoner.

6

7

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

Harding captures the forbidding landscape.

8

5a

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

The Sharf collection reaches further back in time, to the Far East.

9

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

The photographs in this album are most likely by Felice Beato and possibly his trainees in Yokohama, Japan in 1877. The prolific Beato used exquisite hand-watercolor painting techniques on black and white albumen prints.

9a

The WolfsonianFIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

Kusakabe Kimbei, one of Beato’s protégés and later a successful photographer in his own right, tinted many of Beato’s photos.

9b

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

In addition, Baron Raimund von Stillfried, an Austrian who set up shop in Japan around the same time as Beato, could be the photographer of some of the album’s pictures.

9c

The Wolfsonian–FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

The identities of the photographers remain almost as mysterious as their beautiful and enigmatic models.

Visit The Wolfsonian–FIU library for your own epic encounter with the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection.

~ by "The Chief" on December 14, 2017.

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