Max Thorek (1880-1960) was considered one of the outstanding surgeons of all time, but he was also noted as a very talented photographer, his efforts peaking in the 1930's and 1940's when he contributed mightily to the pictorialist movement. This original photograph itself measures 9 5/8" by 12 1/2" (other measurements 12 3/4" by 14 3/4" inside the outer, modern mat, and 17 3/4" by 21 3/4" as framed). It is titled in pencil on the original mat at lower left "De Profundis", and it is signed in pencil by Thorek at lower right, and on reverse of the framing materials is affixed Dr. Thorek's original circular blind stamp. The subject is a strongly male face with heavy beard, seen in dramatic lighting, with strong contrast with the darkness at right; one is reminded of Charlton Heston as Moses. Thorek was born in Hungary and was graduating from medical school in Chicago by 1904. By 1935 he had founded the still extant International College of Surgeons, in Geneva. Later in life Thorek was an in-demand medical lecturer, traveling extensively around the world, and many surgical advances and practices/procedures are credited to him. He was something of a renaissance man, dabbling in philosophy as well as photography. His photography subjects commonly are portraits and female nudes; most photos were taken indoors. Thorek's photos have sold at major auction houses in Europe and America. CONDITION: As collectors of photographs can be very concerned with condition, I am going to be conservative in the extreme, in describing a number of flaws, which may or may not affect the appeal to a prospective buyer, depending on buyer's motives. For many buyers, these flaws will be minor issues while for others they may be significant. The photo has some silvering along the edges and there is a silvery round spot above the forehead near top center about the diameter of a pencil eraser---5/16". This is the most obvious flaw, to the naked eye. The other issue is the roughly vertical, northwest-to-southeast trending 1 3/4" abrasion appearing as a darker area in the images, in the field to the right of the cheek, and a nearby round dark spot. This is all most visible when viewed at a raking angle. Above the "De Profundis" there is a tiny bit of rust on the paper, immediately around the edge of the photo. A magnifying glass would be needed to view it. In his beard there are two circular disturbed areas, possibly due to old moisture under glass which affected paper. "Disturbed" is the word I will use. One area is about the same size at the silvery one at top, the other about 1/4" diameter. This is very hard to photograph. In summary, condition is not pristine, as some collectors demand, but the image is very strong and the photographer's place in the history of American photographic history is assured. **PLEASE ALLOW FOR REFLECTIONS AND FALSE PINK COLORS IN THE IMAGES----this proved particularly difficult to photograph as framed, behind glass. More images available upon request.
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