Striking vintage matte-finish 13.5 x 16.5 portrait of Einstein seated at a table with astronomer Charles Edward St. John, signed in the lower right in black ink, “Albert Einstein, Pasadena, 1931” and “Charles E. St. John.” Also signed in the lower left by the photographer, “Portrait by E. Willard Spurr, Pasadena, Calif., Feb. 1931.” Archivally matted and framed under UV plexiglass in an attractive gold-and-black wooden frame to an overall size of 23 x 27. In very fine, essentially flawless condition, with signatures as crisp and bold as the day they were signed. Originates from the estate of Spurr’s son, the famous Hollywood photographer Melbourne Spurr.
In 1931, Einstein took his first visiting professorship position at Caltech in Pasadena. He was greatly impressed with the research being done at the nearby Mount Wilson Observatory—which housed the world’s largest telescope at the time—and the theoretical processing of its astronomical discoveries. During his time in Pasadena, Einstein attended various lectures in astronomy and astrophysics and himself delivered a lecture on his Unified Field Theory, on which he had been working since 1915. In this extraordinary photo, Professor Einstein is shown with astronomer Charles E. St. John, a member of the Mount Wilson staff since 1908 who was busy at work with Edwin Hubble; the two had recently discovered the red shift effect and were working towards their conclusion that the universe was expanding. From the personal collection of famed photographer Melbourne Spurr, whose father was responsible for creating this shot, this is a beautiful and remarkably impressive oversized image of the legendary scientist at one of his favorite US sites. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.