2013 FALL PHOTOGRAPHY AUCTIONS IN NEW YORK: SALES PLUNGE DESPITE RECOVERING ECONOMY
The New York fine art photography auction sales plunged precipitately this fall. The dearth of top-flight material took the season to just under $17 million in gross sales--a full $14 million short of totals from just last spring. The top 20 photographs totaled half of what the top 20 took in last April and per lot averages sank from the spring's robust $43,154 to this season's $31,459.
Phillips and Sotheby's were unable to pick up any single owner sales in addition to their various owners' sales, but Christie's grabbed one--a diminutive but potent 28 lot sale of Peter Beard's powerful hybrid photo-based works of which 86 per cent by lot sold for a respectable total of $1.3 million.
How does one lure elite collectors to consign their photographic treasures into a moribund auction marketplace? What will help bring more well-heeled consumers to buy and invest in a piece of their cultural history? Will publicity that promotes the market as being hotter than it is do the trick? More video pod-casts featuring the most sought-after lots? Will the houses have to offer consignors guarantees backed by outside investors? What about rebating seller's commissions and some of the buyer's premium to sellers to attract recognizable trophy works? Will more elaborate catalogs with lush illustrations, expanded scholarly essays and a push for provenance research and greater transparency have a positive effect? Will an effort to create a less intimidating and more welcoming atmosphere attract more enthusiasts?
Originally commissioned by "Rolling Stone" magazine, Richard Avedon's groundbreaking epic narrative "The Family" was Phillips's number one lot this season. Featuring the power structure of America as the country neared its bicentennial 1976 election, Avedon said of the work itself:
"Isn't it trivializing and demeaning to make someone look wise, noble (which is easy to do), or even conventionally beautiful when the thing itself is so much more complicated, contradictory, and, therefore fascinating?"
Clocking in at $341,000, "The Family," portfolio '21/25'--consisting of sixty-nine gelatin silver prints of the men and women whose skills, knowledge, attitudes and values helped shape the course of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s and beyond--bested the price received for portfolio '11/25' sold at Christie's in New York just one year prior for $206,500. The $134,500 increase in value was not only a financial windfall for the seller, but one of the best ways to promote sales and attract future clients.
Containing the heads of unions, media, people in government and the military, corporate heads, bankers, lawyers and other power brokers, "The Family"--edited by Avedon and his close friend and collaborator, the writer Renata Adler--was shot in a way that distanced itself from the photographer's typical way of working.
Avedon is quoted as saying that the photographer has "complete control" in any portrait session and what he considers the human predicament "may simply be my own." He has also said that photographs, even unmanipulated ones, lie and distort.
In contrast, Avedon shot "The Family" in a more 'objective' way; he has said of this process "[that] these pictures were almost taken by the people in the pictures." Avedon also pointed out that he "didn't tell them what to wear," and "didn't tell them how to pose." However they presented themselves, Avedon "recorded with very little manipulation."
These are not candid or casual photographs however. By the mid-1970s, the deck was stacked in the photographer's favor; so great was his reputation and gravitas that he could get almost anyone to sit for him and approach the 'event' with high seriousness.
Avedon knew that in its broadest sense, the portrait revolves around cultivated behavior that is the totality of a person's learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted. For "The Family," Avedon suppressed his regular modus operandi consisting of schmoozing and consciously and/or unconsciously transmitting behavior through his own body and facial language. In contrast, to the best of his ability, Avedon displayed a restrained 'bed-side manner' allowing the subjects to express their own knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes and notions of roles before his stark, nowhere-to-hide merciless camera. The result were images that revealed aspects of his subject's character and personality that were not typically captured by others.
Using a large-format camera with its ultra-high resolution ten by eight inch film stock along with a powerful strobe light that allowed for the subject to be seen in super high fidelity and in focus from front to back, Avedon went about his task of capturing the symbolic communication of his sitters.
Shooting with his trademark seamless white paper, Avedon simplified the background making the subject's face and torso the full defining subject. By omitting the ambiance or environment around the subject, his sitters are isolated and monumentally alone, cut off from their defining milieu. And when Avedon printed the portraits, he included the black photo border indicating the limit of the film. These black lines along the edges of the print are indicators that the photographer did not crop the image after he took the shot and that every inch of the shot is a highly deliberate artifact, not a casual or cropped look.
What Avedon did with "The Family" is document the totality of America's status quo; the learned, accumulated, existential experience of this elite group who sensed the seriousness about the enterprise and provided the symbolic behavior which would come to define an era. Arguably, Avedon's clearest parallel as a photographic classifier of physiognomic types is August Sander.
Produced in an edition of twenty-five, "The Family" at $341,000 per set totals $8,525,000 at today's prices.
WILIAM EGGLESTON (b. 1939); William Eggleston's Graceland, 1984
"William Eggleston's Graceland" series, an 11-part portfolio of views of Elvis Presley's mansion in Memphis, is a "psychic striptease" of where Elvis lived, relaxed and spent time with his family and friends. Photographed just before it became open as a tourist attraction, the lensman's surprisingly intimate images break down the barriers that formally existed between "The King" and his adoring fans.
Avoiding the obvious kinds of photographs that a tour guide might suggest, Eggleston moves in closer with his camera to catch a subtler play of Elvis's 1970s over-the-top luxury style. Nowhere to be found is the icon's trophy room where his hideous Las Vegas sequined jumpsuits and gold and platinum records are displayed. The King's auto museum where the favorite cars and motorcycles are on view along with his two private jets, working waterfall, and an entranceway flanked with stain-glass peacocks are omitted. We do get to see one of his two living rooms decked out in gold and white as well as his gold leaf piano. His dye transfer prints--which he appropriated from advertising for its saturation of color and archival permanence--seem to soak up the synthetic colors of the King's playpen as if Eggleston were a New York-style painter obsessed with compositional subtleties and the drama of shapes.
It's difficult to tell if Eggleston's photographs are a celebration of "The King's" abode, or an ironic send-up. But as the artist has intimated, he makes no distinction between what Susan Sontag describes as a "leveling of discriminations between the beautiful and ugly" and the "important and the trivial." He has referred to this again and again in interviews as his implementation of the "democratic camera." Either way, Eggleston's Leica makes us intimate strangers at Elvis's estate, leaving the viewer, like his fans, wanting more.
"William Eggleston's Graceland"--the second most expensive lot from this sale--commanded almost $200,000 which, produced in an edition of 31 (plus four artist proofs) would be worth almost $7 million in the marketplace today.
HELMUT NEWTON (1920-2004); Parlour Games, Munich, 1992
Like Richard Avedon or Irving Penn, Helmut Newton transformed fashion photography, and fashion advertising into artworks greater than the products they were selling. "Parlor Games, Munich," the third highest lot of the Phillips sale, is a prime example of the lensman's obsession with economic largesse, power and control, grand hotels, sexual fantasy and beautiful women.
Born Helmut Neustadter in Berlin in 1920 to a prosperous Jewish family, Helmut Newton came of age during the Nazi pogrom. He was only 18 when his father was forced out of his successful buttons and buckles factory and was briefly interned in a concentration camp on Kristallnacht. Fortunately for the family, they were able to escape Germany just prior to the expulsion of the Jews from their homes and deportation to the concentration camps and certain death. It is perhaps safe to assume that Helmut's visual experiences of his childhood in Nazi Germany including acts of discrimination, humiliation and violence targeted against his family are likely to have influenced his photographic style which is rooted in sadomasochistic culture. Susan Sontag in an article in "The New York Review of Books" links sadomasochistic culture with Nazi fashion and ceremony based on power display. In her words, to be involved in sadomasochism is "to take part in a sexual theatre, a staging of sexuality."
In "Parlour Games, Munich," Newton's lens isolates a single passion, a single perfect submission involving two seemingly opposite states, egomania and servitude, domination and enslavement. The image is both dramatic and menacing looking every bit like a film still from Visconti's "The Damned" or Liliana Cavani's "The Night Porter." The "King of Kink" has acknowledged his commitment towards power, body and beauty that Leni Riefenstahl used to great effect in her Nazi propaganda films especially "Triumph of the Will" her infamous 1935 film of the Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg.
As his life as a wanderer-in-exile took shape, Weimar Germany would become the visual hallmark and sordid signature of his work. As his wife Alice Springs has noted, in Helmut's work the past haunts each and every image.
Newton's photograph subtly evoke that era of depravity. His image presents us with a tawdry, private moment in the lives of the wealthy and luxurious in dark shadow and glossy vulgarity. The psychosexual mind games that appear in this work push him beyond the easy accusation of misogyny.
While Newton appears to be in charge of the photograph's mise en scene, it is the women who feel in control. Coldly detached, they are certainly not the readily available objects of male desire found in the pornography that now permeates our visual culture. This is a private, forbidden world of power games, sexual perversions, and psychological corruption.
If we can designate the woman who is in the process of blindfolding the woman in the chair as the 'maximizer' and the subdued female the 'minimizer', it is clearly the 'maximizer' who is in control. She is caught by the camera just as she takes a quick look up at the photographer (and the viewer by extension) but appears little interested in the person behind the camera. Over her shoulder, watching in shadow, is a portrait of a man wearing a wig and what looks like a uniform from the English court in the 17th century. As Leni Riefenstahl has said, "what is average, quotidian, doesn't interest me." Newton no doubt, would agree.
"Parlour Games, Munich," signed, titled and numbered '3/3' on the reverse of the flush-mount, realized $173,000, $10,000 below it's low estimate.
PETER BEARD (b. 1938); Orphaned Cheetah Cubs, Mweiga, Kenya, 1968
Christie's single artist sale of the work of Peter Beard proved that the demand for the artist's work continues to be remarkably deep and is growing. Of the 28 lots offered, 24 sold with a hefty $53,758 average totaling $1,290,188. One of his most famous photographs, "Orphaned Cheetah Cubs, Mweiga, Kenya" racked up a $449,000 price tag setting a new world auction record for the artist who is now 76 years old.
Rarely printing his work in editions and always layering his photographs with an astonishing assortment of other items: tiny rodent skulls, desiccated lizard skins, feathers, keys, buttons, animal blood, and extensively annotating his prints with his own ink and often incorporating watercolor and tempera by the artist Mathenge Kivoi; the hybrid works are all unique, a veritable time capsule of their era and a well chosen metaphor for Beard's life. Although there are a number of "Orphaned Cheetah Cubs" photographs in the market, they are all one-of-a-kind laborious creations, each one in its own way a living, breathing work of art.
A photographer known for his collage work and diaries, Peter Beard was drawn to Africa after reading Karen Blixen's "Out of Africa". He began taking pictures of wild life and putting them into collages and using animal blood and remains along with clippings to create his work--authentic, unique and controversial.
Shuttling between his ranch in Kenya and his estate in Montauk, Beard has lead a remarkable life. A fixture at Studio 54 in the seventies, partying with the likes of Andy Warhol, Mick and Bianca Jagger, and Jackie Onasis, Beard was also close to the top models at the time. Rumor has it that he "discovered" Iman in Africa and was instrumental in connecting her with what turned out to be a spectacular jet set modeling career. A larger-than-life character--his second wife was supermodel Cheryl Tiegs--he had never reached the level of respect reserved for so-called serious artists. All that has changed. His status in the art world has exploded in the last five years and you no doubt will start seeing more of his special brand of hybrid works coming up to the auctioneer's hammer in the spring.
WILLIAM EGGLESTON (b. 1939); Memphis (Tricycle), c. 1970
Christie's second most expensive lot in their various owners' "Photographs" sale turned out to be an extraordinary picture of an ordinary child's tricycle made monumental. It is also William Eggleston's most renown and arguably most existential photograph.
Shot in the suburbs of Memphis in 1970, the photographer crouched down to ground level elevating a very ordinary, mundane, rusting tricycle into a magic vehicle that some critics have suggested is a stand-in for innocence and freedom.
Riding a tricycle represents one of the first of life's major challenges, the result of which could shape the life of a child for many years. For children, riding a tricycle is a rite of passion and depending on the child's size and individual development, most kids are ready for the challenge by the age of three. By the time they turn five, children are generally able to pedal, steer and control the tricycle and are ready to tackle a bicycle with training wheels.
Mastering the bike teaches children several important life lessons and if they work hard they will master its use and in their own way.
Eggleston's "Memphis (Tricycle)" is really an allegory whereby its literal reading hides a secondary or tertiary meaning.
Extraordinarily beautiful despite its much used appearance, the tricycle looms large in the imagination not only for the angle from which it was shot (heavenward), but from the majesty Eggleston's camera bestows on that tricycle. Compositionally perfect, Eggleston places the tiny car parked in the carport in the house from across the street discretely between the tricycle's front and rear tires. The monumentality of the bike over the miniscule size of the car and the carport makes a statement that is multi-fold. Fatalistically, it suggests that in the future the child who owns this bike will eventually be riding in a car and living in a house like the one across the street. Secondly, the tricycle's many curves mock the angularity of the flat-roofed, cookie cutter ranch-styled homes across the way and by extension the lifestyle that its inhabitants lead. Thirdly, the trike's undeniable presence--proudly roadwork--can be seen as a window or perhaps a mirror into the "American-ness" of our spirit. It can be argued that being a little person may be the highpoint for all of our dreams and ambitions as well as the most harrowing and adventurous time of a person's life.
"Memphis (Tricycle)," was selected as the cover image of the exhibition catalog at the artist's first solo show in New York. Entitled "William Eggleston's Guide" it was published at the Museum of Modern Art in 1976. It was the museum's first major, all-color photography exhibition and was initially greeted in many quarters with incomprehension.
Color photography was seen as being appropriate for fashion and advertising; in the mid-seventies it was not as yet established as a legitimate art form. All serious art photography up to that landmark exhibition was black and white and no one had so clearly used color to find beauty in the commonplace.
Hilton Kramer, the chief art critic for the New York Times called the show "perfectly banal" and "perfectly boring." Many, including fine art photographers, saw the work as simple and artless. Looked at closely though, it's as cunning as a seduction. The 12 by 17 1/2 in. image--an American cultural treasure--sold for $293,000.
IRVING PENN (1917-2009); The Hand of Miles Davis (New York), July 1, 1986
Another American cultural treasure and the third most expensive image from the "Photographs" sale is a portrait of Miles Davis from 1986 by Irving Penn. The photographer concentrates not on the musician's face, but instead on his subject's weathered palm and fingers posed as though playing an imaginary trumpet.
With a refinement and dignity that parallels the musician's own top professional level, Penn was commissioned by Miles Davis' record company (Warner Brothers) with the salvo that the photographer not release any of the images from the sitting for five years.
Penn took several pictures of Davis' hand, but the one in the catalogue--the seemingly simple folding of the middle finger over the palm of the left hand--belies something more profound. The no pretension and matter-of-fact simplicity of this image manages to register all the character, music and life that Miles brings to his music. It is as if every nuance of subject matter, with the finest of detail and with the subtlest of texture makes a direct reference to Miles' trumpet playing.
To reach the top professional level that Miles has achieved, the player must constantly activate three (or four) valves in a myriad of combinations and at a nano-second speed, all the while subtly adjusting mouthpiece pressure to accommodate various range and internal requirements. In the photograph, the fingers of Miles' left hand should grip the instrument so that the first and little finger supports most of the weight. The two middle fingers operate the third value slide (one pushes out and the other pulls back in). That grip on the left hand has a huge effect on the tone, quality, range, flexibility, intonation and technique which is key before the playing of the instrument can produce a significant sound. In this way, one could say the left hand, the one Penn chose to photograph, has more tasks to fulfill than the musician's right hand whose function is to operate the values alone.
Penn's picture of Miles' hand captures with a solemnity and originality the musician's African American performance tradition that focused on individual expression, emphatic interaction and creative response (Miles' left the Juilliard School in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City because he felt the program centered too much on the classical European and "white" repertoire).
"The Hand of Miles Davis (New York), July 1, 1986" came to the auctioneer's rostrum with a $70,000-$90,000 estimate. The 14 7/8 by 14 3/4 inch gelatin silver print realized a whopping $245,000. It was the first and unnumbered print from the series given by Irving Penn to Warner Brothers. Miles Davis also received a print. There were 8 images produced in total.
ALFRED STIEGLITZ (1864-1946); Georgia O'Keeffe: A Portrait--Torso, 1918-1919
The top lot at Sotheby's and the top lot of the entire fall photography auction season turned out to be Alfred Stieglitz's alluring nude "Georgia O'Keeffe: A Portrait-Torso," from 1918-19. It garnered $557,000.
Freud has said that "the genitals themselves, the sight of which is always exciting, are hardly ever regarded as beautiful." Stieglitz's portrait however, can be seen as endeavoring to overcome this by beautifying the way genitals are shown to achieve an image that is beautiful and exciting at once.
This is partially constructed by O'Keeffe herself who places her arms and hands behind her back to allow the viewer's gaze to linger unabated. This is countered by Stieglitz's paramour's pretense of shyness--showing a modest reluctance--with the crossing of the legs. The two gestures not only occur simultaneously, but seem to be intimately bound up with each other.
These mixed messages in combination with the lensman's execution of a photograph which looks as much as possible like a tonalist painting such as those of George Inness and perhaps James McNeill Whistler add up to a rare triumph of sex and beauty in harmony together. O'Keeffe's torso becomes a metaphor for the Garden of Eden or paradise: repose, flowers, fruit, quiet, soft, feminine, tranquility and sensuality.
The image--equally attractive to both men and woman--was a huge success when exhibited. The Sotheby's catalog informs us that the image, shown in a room devoted only to photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe, broke all records of attendance at Mitchell Kennerley's Anderson Galleries on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Apparently, thousands of people saw the electrifying show which "shattered at one blow" traditional conceptions of portraiture.
ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984); The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942
Taken in 1942 in northwest Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, Ansel Adam's "The Tetons and Snake River" highlights the lensman's mastery of large format photography, composition for landscape, and his almost metaphysical search for "perfection" in a single print. The rare, mural-sized 39 1/2 by 51 1/2 inch gelatin silver print denoting the pristine grandeur of nature--the dense forests, towering mountain peaks, and the curling river that looks untouched by human presence--took the second highest lot in the sale realizing just over $400,000.
Despite Adams' immensely popular photographs--he's been referred to as the Norman Rockwell of landscape photography--some critics opine that the work often feeds the clichés of the west as virgin wilderness consisting primarily of spectacular site after spectacular site.
Adams was profoundly influenced by Alfred Stieglitz who promoted a photographic philosophy of the "pure", asserting that his photographic prints represented "equivalents" of his feelings. Similarly, Adams claimed that art photographers created "a statement that goes beyond the subject" and captures "an inspired moment on film." Known to heighten the drama of his pictures through a pictorial ideality and his printing techniques, Adams produced impossibly transcendent images that make his landscapes look like a dreamy Eden--to him, ordinary photographs were mere "visual diaries" or "reminders of experience."
Instead of fortifying reality through technical wizardry and aggrandizing a singular, clearly comprehensive subject, Adams' predecessors, the so-called nineteenth century survey photographers like Timothy O'Sullivan (1840-1882), Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916) and Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) approached photography in a more plainspoken and forthright style. Beginning in the 1860s, their work avoided the pious sentimentality of Adams' more over-the-top constructions.
But Adams' lyrical photographs--"The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming" being a prime example--continues to exert a great emotional pull for many Americans and were so wildly popular that Adams made hundreds of prints of it. By the time of his death in 1984, his work had appeared in over 500 exhibitions.
LASZLO MOHOLY-NAGY (1895-1946); Fotogramm (Hand), 1925-26
"Fotogramm" (Hand), a rare and significant copy of a lost original photogram of Moholy-Nagy's hand was the third highest lot in the Sotheby's sale. The gelatin silver print, printed between 1926-29 was created at the height of the artist's graphic arts career as part of the visual and technical experimentation that characterized the Bauhaus, the German design school where he taught.
1928 was the year Moholy left his professorship at the famed Bauhaus due to the restrictions and compromises that the then emerging Nazi party tried to impose on the school. He set up shop in Berlin, where his highly sought-after skills brought him freelance commissions ranging from his work as a photo-editor of a prestigious Dutch avant-garde monthly, to stage design for opera and the theatre. He was also involved as a filmmaker, a sculptor, a designer for books, catalogs and advertising, and wrote scripts and edited films.
Maholy-Nagy was part of the new artistic movement sweeping across Europe, a revolutionary movement in which representational and story-telling art was jettisoned in favor of the abstract, primordial and elemental. The photogram process, a technique in which objects are placed either directly or slightly above a sheet of photographic paper and exposed to light to make abstract compositions with spatial, tonal and gestural qualities that challenged traditional modes of representation was the perfect vehicle for this new sensibility. Invented at the same time as photography in the early 19th century, the photogram is a richly-layered transmutation of the real and, first and foremost, of the phenomenon of light.
In "Fotogramm," (Hand), Moholy placed his hand on photographic paper pressing harder at the tip of his fingers while manipulating the amount of light streaming down on the photo-sensitive paper. The palm of the hand and the fingers--which appear to be cut out strangely by what the Sotheby's catalog describes as "shadowy hand-like shapes"--create a seemingly endless range of subtle grays, whites and blacks, the complexity of which conjures up as many interpretations as there are viewers.
The work suggests that Moholy may have enlisted the help of his Czech-born wife, Lucia--who had trained as a photographer and who was an accomplished artist in her own right--in the creation of this work.
"Fotogramm," (Hand) realized the low end of the pre-sale estimate at the hammer ($245,000 with buyer's premium) possibly due to the fact that there is another print of this image in the collection of Houston's Museum of Fine Arts. But as the catalog notes illuminate, "it is uncertain if the MFA's version is the original photogram or a copy made from the original like the print offered here."
BUYER'S PREMIUM AT CHRISTIE'S, PHILLIPS and SOTHEBY'S: In addition to the hammer price, the buyer at the house agrees to pay the buyer's premium together with any applicable value tax, sales or compensating use tax or equivalent tax in the sale. The auction house premium is 25% of the final bid price (hammer) of each lot up to and including $100,000, 20% of the excess of the hammer price above $100,000 up to and including $2,000,000 and 12% of the excess of the hammer price above $2,000,000.
NOTE 1: All figures in the above article (and below in the statistics and TOP 20) include the buyer's premium.
NOTE 2: Estimates as published in the catalogs are pre-sale estimates and do not include the buyer's premium.
2013 FALL AUCTION TOTALS IN NEW YORK / $16,956,189 [2013 Spring $30,855,193]
PHOTOGRAPHS (NY040313) $6,089,250 / 264 lots offered / 185 lots sold / $32,915 average per lot
PHOTOGRAPHS (ANNIE-2732) $4,535,187 / 239 lots offered / 157 lots sold / $28,887 average per lot
INTO AFRICA: PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER BEARD (BEARD-2780) $1,290,188 / 28 lots offered / 24 lots sold / $53,758 average per lot
PHOTOGRAPHS (N09020) $5,041,564 / 230 lots offered / 173 lots sold / $29,142 average per lot
TOP 20 PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE FALL 2013 AUCTIONS IN NEW YORK
ALFRED STIEGLITZ (1864-1946); Georgia O'Keeffe: A Portrait--Torso, 1918-1919; palladium print, numbered '201,' possibly by the photographer, in pencil in the margin, annotated '2-31A' in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse; tipped to a mount; framed; 9 3/4 by 7 5/8 in. (24.8 by 19.4 cm.); SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: Photographs, (Sale N09020); 2 October 2013; lot #64; provenance: Estate of the photographer; To Georgia O'Keeffe; Estate of Georgia O'Keeffe; Private collection; Christie's, N.Y. 20 April 1994, (Sale N07864), lot #18; pre-sale est.: $300,000-$500,000; price realized: $557,000.
PETER BEARD (b. 1938); Orphaned Cheetah Cubs, Mweiga, Kenya, 1968; unique chromogenic print with ink drawings by Mathenge & Kivoi and collage elements, printed 1998; signed, titled, dated and extensively annotated in ink (on the recto); 'The Time is Always Now' copyright credit and date stamp (on the verso); image/sheet: 63 1/8 by 86 5/8 in. (160.3 by 220 cm.); CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: Into Africa: Photographs By Peter Beard, (Beard-2780); 3 October 2013; lot #10; pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000; price realized: $449,000.
ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984); The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942 (probably printed in the 1950s or 1960s); mural-size gelatin silver print, flush-mounted and framed; , 'Property of Polaroid Corporate Archives' stamp on the reverse; accompanied by its original white wood frame designed to the photographer's specifications; 39 1/2 by 51 1/2 in. (100.3 by 130.8 cm.); SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: Photographs (Sale N09020); 2 October 2013; lot #45; provenance: the photographer to the Polaroid Corporation; Sotheby's, N.Y.: Photographs from the Polaroid Collection, (Sale N08649); 22 June 2010; lot 270; pre-sale Est.: $250,000-$350,000; price realized: $401,000.
RICHARD AVEDON (1923-2004); The Family, New York: Rolling Stone, 1976; sixty-nine gelatin silver prints; each: 9 5/8 by 7 5/8 in. (24.4 by 19.4 cm.); each print signed in stylus on the recto; each signed, numbered '21/25' in pencil, title, edition, copyright credit reproduction limitation and Rolling Stone Bicentennial stamps on the verso; signed and numbered '21/25' in ink on the cardboard portfolio box; accompanied by a signed issue of Rolling Stone magazine; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs, (Sale NY040313); 30 September & 1 October 2013; lot #8; provenance: Christie's, Paris, Photographs from the Richard Avedon Foundation, 20 November 2010, lot #57; Private collection, Switzerland; pre-sale est.: $200,000-$300,000; price realized: $341,000.
WILLIAM EGGLESTON (b. 1939); Memphis (Tricycle), c. 1970; dye-transfer print, printed 1980; signed, date and number '13/20' in pencil and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp (on the verso); image: 12 by 17 1/2 in. (30 by 44.4 cm.); sheet: 16 by 20 in. (40.5 by 50.8 cm.); CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: Photographs (Annie-2732); 3 October 2013, lot #303; provenance: Lunn Gallery, Washington, D.C. to the present owner, c. 1980; pre-sale est.: $250,000-$350,000; price realized: $293,000.
LASZLO MOHOLY-NAGY (1895-1946); Fotogramm (Hand), 1925-26, printed 1926-29; gelatin silver print; the photographer's 'foto moholy-nagy' credit stamp and titled and annotated '2/6' by Lucia Moholy, the photographer's first wife, and 'fgm 186' by Hattula Moholy-Nagy, the photographer's daughter, in pencil on the reverse; 11 1/8 by 8 1/4 in. (28.3 by 21 cm.); SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: Photographs
(Sale N09020); 2 October 2013; lot #132; provenance: collection of the photographer; by descent to the present owner; pre-sale est.: $200,000-$300,000; price realized: $245,000.
IRVING PENN (1917-2009); The Hand of Miles Davis (New York), July 1, 1986; gelatin silver print; signed, titled, dated, annotation 'Print made September 1986' and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp (on the reverse of the mount); one from an edition of 8; image/sheet: 14 7/8 by 14 3/4 in. (37.8 by 37.5 cm.); mount: 17 by 17 1/8 in. (43.2 by 43.5 cm.); CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: Photographs (Annie-2732); lot #139; pre-sale est.: $70,000-$90,000; price realized: $245,000.
FREDERICK H. EVANS (1853-1943); 'A Sea of Steps', Wells Cathedral, Steps to Chapter House, 1903; gelatin silver print; signed and titled in pencil (on the original overmat with hand-ruled borders); image/sheet: 9 by 7 1/2 in. (22.8 by 19cm.); mount: 12 1/8 by 10 in. (30.7 by 25.4 cm.); original overmat: 17 1/2 by 13 1/2 in. (44.5 by 34.3 cm.); CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: Photographs (Annie-2732); lot #281; provenance: from the artist; by bequest to Evan Evans; with Harry Lunn, Washington, D.C.; with Wach Gallery, Ohio; to the present owner, 1987; pre-sale est.: $120,000-$180,000; price realized: $233,000.
WILIAM EGGLESTON (b. 1939); William Eggleston's Graceland, 1984; Washington, D.C., Middendorf Gallery; eleven dye-transfer prints; each approximately 14 3/4 by 22 in. (37.5 by 55.9 cm.) or the reverse; each signed in ink, numbered '3', consecutively numbered '1-11' in pencil, date and edition stamps on the verso; copyright credit on the colophon; number 3 from an edition of 31 plus 4 artist's proofs; enclosed in a clamshell portfolio case; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (Sale NY040313); 30 September & 1 October 2013; lot #13; pre-sale est.: $100,000-$150,000; price realized: $197,000.
ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984); Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California, 1944; mural-sized gelatin silver print signed with a stylus on the image, flush-mounted to heavy board; annotations in ink on the reverse, framed; probably printed in the 1950s or 1960s; 28 3/8 by 39 3/4 in. (72.1 by 101 cm.); provenance:
acquired from Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco, in the early 1990s; SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: Photographs (Sale N09020); 2 October 2013; lot #22; pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000; price realized: $185,000.
PETER BEARD (b. 1938); Giraffes in Mirage on the Taru Desert, Kenya, June, 1960; toned gelatin silver print with ink, paint, blood, collage and affixed cloth; printed later; 47 1/2 by 77 in. (120.7 by 195.6 cm.); signed, titled, dated and annotated in ink on the recto; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (Sale NY040313); 30 September & 1 October 2013; lot #30; provenance: The Time is Always Now Gallery, New York; pre-sale est.: $80,000-$120,000; price realized: $173,000.
HELMUT NEWTON (1920-2004); Parlour Games, Munich, 1992; gelatin silver print, printed 2002; 63 by 47 1/4 in. (160 by 120 cm.); signed, titled, dated and numbered '3/3' in ink on the reverse of the flush-mount; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (Sale NY040313); 30 September & 1 October 2013; lot #18; provenance: Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich; pre-sale est.: $150,000-$200,000; price realized: $173,000.
FRANCESCA WOODMAN (1958-1981); Self Portrait, 1979; gelatin silver print, printed 1980; signed and dated in pencil (on the verso); image: 5 7/8 by 6 in. (15 by 15.3 cm.); sheet: 8 by 7 /8 in. (20.3 by 18 cm.); CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: Photographs (Annie-2732); 3 October 2013; lot #205; provenance: With Bonni Benrubi Gallery, N.Y.; acquired by the present owner, 1995; pre-sale est.: $25,000-$35,000; price realized: $173,000.
DIANE ARBUS (1923-1971); King and Queen of a senior citizens' dance, N.Y.C., 1970; gelatin silver print; 15 3/4 by 15 1/4 in. (40 by 38.7 cm.); stamped 'a diane arbus print', signed Doon Arbus, Executor, in ink, copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the verso; accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from the Estate of Diane Arbus; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (NY404313); 30 September & October 1, 2013; lot #10; provenance: Robert Miller Gallery; pre-sale est.: $60,000-$80,000; price realized: $161,000.
WILLIAM EGGLESTON (b. 1939); Troubled Waters, 1980; New York: Caldecot Chubb; 15 dye transfer prints; each approximately 11 1/2 by 17 3/8 in. (29.2 by 44.1 cm.) or the reverse; each signed, numbered '30', consecutively numbered '1-15' in pencil; edition and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamps on the verso; number 30 from an edition of 30 plus 5 artist's proofs; Colophon; enclosed in a clamshell portfolio case; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (NY404313); 30 September & 1 October, 2013; lot #14; provenance: Cronin Gallery, Houston; Christie's, N.Y., 27 April 2004, lot #165; pre-sale est.:$80,000-$120,000; price realized: $161,000.
HELMUT NEWTON (1920-2004); Nude and Police Dog, St. Tropez, 1975; gelatin silver print, printed later; 63 by 43 1/2 in. (160 by 110.5 cm.); titled, dated, numbered '3/3' in ink and Estate of Helmut Newton stamp on the reverse of the flush-mount; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (NY404313); 30 September & 1 October, 2013; lot #22; provenance: Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich; pre-sale est.: $150,000-$200,000; price realized: $149,000.
THOMAS STRUTH (b. 1954); Stanze di Raffaello I Rome, 1990; chromogenic print, Diasec mounted, printed later; 76 by 54 in. (193 by 137.2 cm.); signed in pencil, printed title, date and number'3/10' on a label affixed to the reverse of the frame; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (NY404313); 30 September & 1 October, 2013; lot #24; provenance: acquired directly from the artist; pre-sale est.: $120,000-$180,000; price realized: $149,000.
ALEXANDER MIKHAILOVICH RODCHENKO (1891-1956); Young Pioneer, 1928; gelatin silver print; 4 7/8 by 5 in. (12.4 by 12.7 cm.); the photographer's credit and archive stamps and titled, possibly by the photographer's daughter, Varvara Rodchenko and with reduction notations in pencil on the reverse; framed; Museum of Modern Art Loan labels on the reverse; SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: Photographs (N09020); 2 October 2013; lot #143; provenance: Collection of the photographer and his wife Varvara Stepanova; by descent to the photographer's daughter, Varvara Rodchenko; Private Collection, 1960s; Christie's, London, 29 October 1992, Sale 4832, lot 114; pre-sale est.: $70,000-$100,000; price realized: $143,000.
ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984); Leaves, Mt. Rainier National Park, Wa. circa 1942, mural-sized matted gelatin silver print, probably printed in the 1960s; 55 1/2 by 38 in. (140.9 by 104.1 cm.); an 'Ansel Adams, 181 Van Ess Way, Carmel, California, 93923' studio label, with typed title and date, stamped 'Photograph by Ansel Adams, Anne Adams Helms Collection' on the reverse; framed; SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: Photographs (N09020); 2 October 2013; lot #40; pre-sale est.: $100,000-$150,000; price realized: $137,000.
ROBERT FRANK (b. 1924); Parade--Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955; gelatin silver print, printed 1970s; 8 1/8 by 12 3/8 in. (20.6 by 31.4 cm.); signed, titled and dated in ink in the margin; PHILLIPS, N.Y.: Photographs (NY404313); 30 September & 1 October 2013; lot #7; pre-sale est.: $100,000-$150,000; price realized: $137,000.