Sometimes it’s the treasures that find us. Sifting through our old and usually forgotten stuff brings back great memories and new stories surface. That’s exactly what happened when William Van Beckum helped his father and step mother with storage cleaning.
Photographer William Van Beckum recounts the time that he, along with his father and stepmother, stumbled upon a photograph encased in a cheap frame dusting away inside a storage unit along with other family memorabilia. As a student of photography himself, Van Beckum noticed the picture that featured a white blanket of snow and a perfect view of the Washington Square Park in New York City. A figure is seen walking through the park depicting a New York winter eliciting elegance and class. The photo is titled “Washington Square Park, 1954.”
After closer inspection of the photograph, Van Beckum spotted a writing on the back of the frame. It read “Keresz.” His interest grew and researched the word scribbled in pencil, the search resulted in Andre Kertesz. He was holding a photograph by arguably one of the pioneers of the photoessay and a strong influence on photojournalism. He then ended up finding himself contacting a website that featured a gallery of the late photographer’s work and not before long, he was talking with the man in charge of the gallery, Bruce Silverstein.
After a surprising revelation of the possible value, Van Beckum knew that this was not just an ordinary find. It was something else entirely. Further talks and consultation with Silverstein led him to an appraisal of the photograph. The print was signed by Kertesz in the 1950s and was around the $30,000 price range, or possibly more .
It’s a story of discovery and surprise. Van Beckum decided to keep the photograph within the family as a remembrance. He tells the feeling of having a piece of photography history hanging on the family room was something to be shared with others and the story to be told as well.
His full article on this story of discovery can be found here.
All information used in this article were sourced from PetaPixel