Robert Frank ( b. 1924)
McClellanville, S.C. (a.k.a. Barber Shop Through Screen Door), 1955
"Probably printed in the 1960s"
Gelatin silver print
8 5/8 by 12 7/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $182,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #146

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009

Post Boom: The Fall 2009 Photography Auctions in New York
By Brian Appel

 

At the height of the bull market in photography in April of 2008, the top ten star lots of the New York season totaled a heady $6M. This fall, the top ten barely hit $2.5M. But despite the falling-off in the quantity and quality of consignments of vintage prints of recognized iconic landmarks of photographic history, there were still plenty of trophies along with more than enough collectors confident enough to acquire them.

Christie’s
Philippe Garner, International Head, Photographs, and Joshua Holdeman, International Director, Photographs, dominated the 2009 fall season even in an uncertain economic climate. Total sales from their three single-owner dedicated photography auctions and one various-owner sale took in $7.5 million out of the combined total of $14 million from the big three houses in New York.

Following the success of two monographic sales of photographic works by William Eggleston and Diane Arbus in 2008, the third of a series of single-owner auctions entrusted to Christie’s from the storied Bruce and Nancy Berman collection, “The American Landscape: Color Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman” kicked off the opening of the fall, 2009 photography season.

Offering 189 lots that presented a diverse vision of America through the “metaphorical landscape of American culture”, from the likes of Joel Sternfeld, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, William Christenberry, Richard Misrach, Mitch Epstein, Adam Bartos, Robert Polidori, William Eggleston and others—166 found buyers.

Bruce Davidson (b. 1933)
Subway, 1980
L.A. & N. Y.: Rose Gallery & Howard Greenberg Gallery, 2006
47 Dye-transfer prints
Each: 15 by 22 1/2 inches (or the reverse)
Ed.: numbered '5/6'
Pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000
Price realized: $146,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "The American Landscape", #2205
Oct. 7, 2009
Lot #151

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


Setting a personal, new world auction record at just under $150,000, Bruce Davidson—whose previous project “East 100th Street” is considered a modern classic—captured the top lot of the $1.5 million sale.

“Subway”, (1980), a portfolio of 47 candy-hued dye-transfer prints produced in 2006 (in an edition of six) by the Rose Gallery in Santa Monica and the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York, is described by the artist as “… grim, abusive, violent and often beautiful...”.

Chronicling the circa 1975-1980 graffiti reality of the MTA subway system using color and stunning visual depth to convey mood, “Subway” can be described as the ultimate homage to the “Jekyll and Hyde” story that is the gritty, New York City underground.

Davidson explored and shot 600 miles of subway tracks using a 35mm, Canon T-90 with a wide-angle lens and a sunpac strobe hooked to a battery pac on his hip, in this, his only body of color work. Never before had the subway been portrayed in such detail, revealing the interplay of its inner landscape and outer vista—what makes these photographs great is precisely the balance they strike between devouring their subject, and adoring it.

The images include bankers, beggars, fly-boys, lovers, tourists, families, stalking predators and the homeless as they traverse the city. Davidson’s camera caught the subterranean underground when hip-hop culture was first emerging and graffiti was spreading across the city via the subway lines like a hieroglyphic virus.

Do the sensual images of prepubescent children emerge from the behavior of the subjects or are they shaped by the tastes and fantasies of the photographer for an affluent audience? This is a question viewers have to ask themselves when confronting the intimate, black-and-white portraits of half-naked androgynies that brought the accomplished Sally Mann to the rapt attention of the art world in the late 1980s.

“Photographs by Sally Mann from a Private Collection, Washington, D.C.”, a single-owner sale introducing the photographer’s three young children telling a “universal story of growing up, of self-discovery”, was a moderate success with 47 of the 59 images offered finding buyers.

Sally Mann (b. 1951)
Candy Cigarette, 1989
Gelatin silver print
18 3/4 by 23 1/4 inches
Ed.: edition of 25
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $68,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "Photographs By Sally Mann", #2377
Oct. 7, 2009
Lot #307

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


“Candy Cigarette”, a gelatin silver print of Mann’s seven-year-old daughter holding a candy cigarette was the stand-out top seller of the auction which totaled $668,000. The 18 ¾ by 23 ¼ inch gelatin silver print that touches on the darker themes of insecurity, loneliness and sexuality came with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000. It realized $68,500 and set a new world auction record for the artist.

“The Miller-Plummer Collection of Photographs”, regarded as one of the leading private photography collections in the world, opened the sales the following morning with a bang. Featuring major early works representing a veritable survey of photographs that were pivotal to the development and evolution of photography, the sale brought $1.8 million in sales with 88 lots sold.

Alexander Gardner (b. 1821, d. 1882)
Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War, 1866
Volumes 1 & 11: Washington, D.C., Philip & Solomons
100 albumen prints bound in two oblong folio volumes
Each: approx. 7 by 9 inches
Pre-sale est.: $40,000-$60,000
Price realized: $92,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "The Miller-Plummer Collection", #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #521

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


One of the highlights of the strong selection of 19th century photographs at the sale was Alexander Gardner’s photographic sketchbook of the Civil War containing 100 albumen prints bound in two oblong folio volumes.

Gardner, who had previously worked for Mathew Brady as his chief assistant before going out on his own and competing against him, was one of the first photographers to be outed for faking a photograph by rearranging corpses and orchestrating battle scenes during the American Civil War—all in the interests ‘of clarity’. The famous 19th century image entitled “Home of the Rebel Sharpshooter, Gettysburg” from 1863 is an early example of a photographic ‘truth’ that was not solely dependant on a literal transcription of reality before committing to film.

After taking pictures of the dead soldier from several angles, Gardner (who was working in tandem with Timothy O’Sullivan at the time) noticed a picturesque sharpshooter’s den some 40 yards away and moved the corpse to this more photogenic rocky niche and photographed him again. The particular firearm that was placed in the dead soldier’s hands, however, was not of the special type used by sharpshooters during the war. In fact that particular rifle is seen in a number of Gardner’s scenes at and around Gettysburg and was later deemed a photographer’s prop.

One of the earliest ‘records’ of a war, “Garner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War, Volumes 1 and 11”, with a pre-sale estimate of $40,000-$60,000 hit $75,000 at the hammer ($92,500 with buyers’ premium).

Dorothy Lange (b. 1895, d. 1965)
Destitute Pea Pickers, California (a.k.a. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California), 1936
Gelatin silver print
9 5/8 by 7 1/4 inches
Pre-sale est.: $40,000-$60,000
Price realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "The Miller-Plummer Collection", #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #580

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009

 

Placing third in the sale was an “early vintage print” (also referred to as “good vintage” or “near vintage”) of Dorothea Lange’s iconic “Destitute Pea Pickers, California (a.k.a. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California)” from 1936.

Depicting the dignity and isolation of poverty on a 32-year-old mother of seven, the Lange image is arguably the artist’s most celebrated work in her oeuvre. The print realized $86,500 at the sale. Another print of the same image printed circa 1948-1950 in a “masterful exhibition print”—believed to be one of only two prints in the 20 by 16 inch size to be offered at auction—sold at Sotheby’s in October of 2005 for $102,000 (from “The Collection of Joseph and Laverne Schieszler”). Yet another print of this image sold in the fall of 2002 at Christie’s for $141,500.

Why the discrepancy in price for the same image?

Vintage prints are rarely editioned and have been referred to as “originals” because the print is understood as being executed by the artist within a few days or weeks after an exposure has been made and put aside by the photographer for study, given away as a gift, or sold or traded to another enthusiast. Auction house experts and museum curators have been known to refer to these verifiable printing circumstances by using the moniker “demonstrably vintage print”. In this situation there is no doubt about the time of the execution of the print because a stamp from a particular museum exhibit or other markers such as a dated inscription by the photographer’s hand on the front or rear of the print pinpoints the exact time the image was printed.

True connoisseurs, especially those who make it a point to specialize in a particular artist or photographic movement, will know by the silver content of the paper and the resolution and verisimilitude of the image when and even who made the print. Deep blacks may not have the inky depth of the “vintage original” and the whites or “top notes” (tones) might not sparkle as brilliantly. There might be a framing, cropping or printing eccentricity that was utilized during a very specific stage in a photographer’s printing history or the paper itself might come with a marking (logo) that identifies a particular manufacturing period. Scientists or conservators might subject the artifact to extensive and rigorous non-destructive testing including all manner of scientific lights, including infrared and ultraviolet spectra in an attempt to reveal a sense of the complex physical state of a photograph.

If the marketplace is any indication of the very best material, a “demonstrably vintage print” of Lange’s “White Angel Bread Line” made three years earlier is the artist’s most revered image.

Brought to market on the 11th of October in 2005 at Sotheby’s, N.Y., it set her world auction record at $822,400.

Both Lange’s “White Angel Bread Line”—named after a widow nicknamed “White Angel” who sponsored the breadline—and “Migrant Mother” were created under the auspices of the Farm Security Administrations (F.S.A.) during the 1930s. But “White Angel”, which depicts a solitary figure in the foreground of the image clasping his hands almost as if he were praying, became a symbolic stand-in for the 14 million people unemployed during the Great Depression. Museum records in that case indicate a copy of a letter to Lange from Museum director O.T. Kreusser provided a positive I.D. and time frame of the print. Without a shadow of a doubt, documentation proved that that image had to have been printed prior to the museum issuing the letter to Lange.

For “White Angel”, “Migrant Mother” or any other important image within the artist’s oeuvre, the proximity between its exposure and the execution of the print, the quality and condition of the print itself, its size, its rarity, its exhibition history and provenance, and the context and momentum of the actual auction at the time of purchase all play a role in determining the ultimate value of an image at the rostrum. Any one of these factors could add or subtract thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars onto or off the value of a print.

Nostalgia played a dramatic role in the outcome of this season’s top lots.

Marcus Aurelius Root (b. 1808, d. 1888)
Anthony Pritchard, c. 1850
Quarter-plate daguerreotype
4 1/4 by 3 1/4 inches
Pre-sale est.: $20,000-$30,000
Price realized: $350,000
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "The Miller-Plummer Collection", #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #534

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


A quarter-plate daguerreotype of “Anthony Pritchard” by the noted 19th century Philadelphia daguerreotypist Marcus Aurelius Root (1808-1888) with a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$30,000 took the assembled at Rockefeller Plaza aback when it hammered at a whopping $290,000 ($350,500 with buyer’s premium). Depicting a man with a fan seated next to a column (circa 1850), it came with what turned out to be an ultra-conservative $20,000-$30,000 pre-sale estimate.

Root also placed 6th in the sale with a tender portrait of his infant son asleep on a flag adding patriotism to the mix. The 3 ½” by 4 ¼” quarter-plate daguerreotype was exhibited in the prestigious exhibit, “The Secrets of the Dark Chamber: The Art of the American Daguerrotype at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. It came with a $15,000-$20,000 pre-sale estimate and hammered at $60,000 ($74,500 with buyer’s premium).

Adding value to both Root images is the fact that the photographer turned to writing about photographic history and aesthetics after a disabling railroad accident in the important 1864 book: “The Camera and the Pencil”.

Easily taking the season’s highest per-lot-average with a solid $33,718 over 102 lots was the Christie’s various-owners “Photographs” sale. Five out of the fall’s nine six-figure lots were set here (see the “Top 20” below).

Edward S. Curtis (b. 1868, d. 1952)
The North American Indian, 1907-1930
Portfolios 1-20; Text Volumes 1-20
(A complete set)
Pre-sale est.: $700,000-$900,000
Price realized (immediately after sale): $775,000
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #719

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Leading the charge was a complete set—#446 of a proposed 500—of Edward S. Curtis’ masterpiece, “The North American Indian”. Comprising 721 large-format photogravures published as “Portfolios 1-20, The North American Indian, Being a Series of Volumes Picturing and Describing the Indians of the United States and Alaska”, Seattle, WA; New York; and Cambridge, MA: University Press, the proposed five-year project actually took almost thirty years (1907-1930) and nearly $400,000 from J.P. Morgan to complete the project.

Curtis photographed 80 tribes, exposing over 40,000 negatives and recorded 10,000 songs on an early Edison wax-cylinder recording instrument.

Technically, “The North American Indian” was ‘bought in’ at the $600,000 mark during the sale, but Milena Sales, the Christie’s press spokesperson reported that “lot #719 sold immediately after auction” for $775,000 (including buyer’s premium).

Baron Adolph De Meyer (b. 1868, d. 1946)
Water Lilies, 1906
Platinum print
9 5/8 by 13 1/4 inches
Pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000
Price realized: $170,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #819

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


Baron Adolph De Meyer’s luminous “Water Lilies”, c. 1906, a rare, platinum print that Alfred Stieglitz had featured in his ‘pictorialist’ promoting deluxe review “Camera Work”, grabbed the second spot in the sale’s top ten with a $140,000 hammer ($170,500 with premium).

One of only two known platinum prints—the other was given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Stieglitz himself—the work displays the longer tonal scale (with finer gradations in the middle values) and the rich, velvety surface texture that can only be created by a paper and process that is more stable than gold.

Acquired directly from de Meyer by the acclaimed photographer and cinematographer Karl Struus—already a leading figure within the Photo-Secessionist movement and considered one of the finest platinum printers of his era—the image is an exceptional example of a quality print of an iconic image by a major artist with impeccable provenance.

No other photographer is as influential in the post-war period as Robert Frank. The Christie’s sale had an embarrassment of riches of Frank’s images from “The Americans”.

Robert Frank (b. 1924)
Political Rally-Chicago, 1956/"printed 1970s"
Gelatin silver print
11 1/2 by 7 3/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $70,000-$90,000
Price realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #734

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009

“Political Rally-Chicago”, was taken by Frank when he was commissioned by Esquire magazine to visit the Democratic National Convention in 1956. His photographs, which document the hectic pageantry and razzmatazz that surrounded the nomination of Adlai Stevenson as the Democrats’ candidate for President were initially considered too strong and too negative for publication.

The tuba-player—whose face is hidden by the gaping metallic ‘mouth’ of his instrument—provides a surreal image of alienation at the heart of the political circus.

Executed c. 1970-1979, the 11 ½ by 7 3/8” gelatin silver print, realized the low-end of its pre-sale estimate at $70,000 ($86,500 with buyer’s premium).

An exceedingly rare, earlier print of this image—“probably printed prior to 1962”—sold at the “Important Photographs From a Private Collection” sale at Sotheby’s, N.Y. back in April of 2004 realizing $131,200.

Robert Frank (b. 1924)
Fish Kill, N.Y. (a.k.a. Newburgh, N.Y.), 1955/"printed c. 1969"
Gelatin silver print
16 5/8 by 13 5/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $60,000-$90,000
Price realized: $170,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #781

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


“Fish Kill, New York”, 1955 (a.k.a. Newburgh, N.Y.) exhibits a woodsy gathering of an unidentified motorcycle gang.

Apparently surprised by the presence of Frank’s Leica, one of the leather-clad bikers twists around in his seat to stare at us. Vaguely homoerotic, the man who is turning around is a dead-ringer for George Michael whose 1987 “Faith” video utilized Fifties biker rebel iconography through a fetishistic 80s lens.

Frank’s image, pre-dating the George Michael effort by more than thirty years still holds the viewer in awe. Curiously, another attendee standing beside the twisting biker is African-American, indicating that their club, or at least this ‘pow-wow’ is integrated, as few organizations were at the time. It may be that these men were really the proto-hippie, counterculture Beats that Jack Kerouac wrote about or, at the very least, enthusiasts who had been affected by Marlon Brando’s turn as the iconic outlaw biker in Laslo Benedek’s “The Wild One” from 1953.

The very rare to auction oversize print, executed c. 1969, came with the conservative pre-sale estimate of $60,000-$90,000. It took off at $100,000 and quickly rose to its $140,000 hammer ($170,500 with buyer’s premium) matching the price of De Meyer’s “Water Lilies” at the number two slot of the sale.

Another oversize print of this image—printed c. 1970s—sold for $108,000 (incl. buyer’s premium) at the “27 Exceptional Photographs” sale at Phillips de Pury & Co. in April of 2007.

William Eggleston (b. 1939)
Greenwood, Mississippi, 1973
Dye-transfer print
30.8 by 46.8 cm.
Pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000
Price realized: $158,500
CHRISTIE'S, N.Y., "Photographs", #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #799

Photo Credit: Courtesy CHRISTIE'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


An image which quickly entered the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, “Greenwood, Mississippi” (a.k.a “The Red Ceiling”) is still one of William Eggleston’s most talked about images.

Difficult at first to tell what you’re looking at because of the striking use of a raking angle and the elevated position of the camera, “Greenwood, Mississippi”, depicts a naked light bulb on a blood red ceiling while displaying a remarkable chromatic intensity and a subliminally embedded sexuality.

Looking closely at the bottom right of the photograph you can see a small section of a graphic poster of sexual positions, and this, in combination with the passionate, super-saturated red walls and ceiling of the room suggests this image was taken inside a brothel.

One of the many photographers since the 1960s who have been focusing on what something looks like when it’s photographed—as opposed to seeing it with our eyes in its natural environment—Eggleston would say he is merely sharpening our attention to things that we normally would never look at.

An image plucked from the mundane of the ‘real’ world into an object that can be explored on a purely formal level can be interpreted as a movement toward formal purism, and Eggleston’s “Red Ceiling” is an outstanding prime example. Capturing the fragmentary experience of a contemporary subject and reducing it through abstraction to a set of essential characteristics is what the artist does best.

Often maligned, often praised, Eggleston has made known that the composition of this image reminded him of the linear appeal of the Confederate flag. Given his predisposition for shooting in the south—“Advance the flag of Dixie, Hurrah! Hurrah!”—this could very well be more than a thinly disguised ironic barb.

Due to slight problems (thin scratches) with the condition of the surface of the photograph, “Red Ceiling” hammered at $130,000 ($158,500 with buyer’s premium) missing its pre-sale low estimate by $20,000.

Rare vintage prints in pristine condition of the same image carry a heftier hammer price. A “printed in 1973 or 1974” photograph with Harry Lunn provenance (a pioneering force in the contemporary photography market) sold at Phillips de Pury & Co., N.Y. in April of 2004 for $217,440 (with buyer’s premium).

Sotheby’s
Denise Bethel, Senior Vice-President, Director, Sotheby’s Photographs Department and Christopher Mahoney, Senior Vice-President, Senior Specialist have been two of the pivotal figures in the development of the international market for fine art photographs since they started working together some 14 years ago and have been responsible for blockbuster sales like the February, 2006, “Important Photographs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Including works from the Gilman Paper Company Collection” which established a record ($14,982,900) for a single-owner collection of photographs sold at auction.

But since the spring of 2009, when much of the photography market’s top-tier images carved out a resting place deep in dealers and enthusiasts’ collections for a more financially favorable moment to reappear, catalogues have slimmed down precipitately and expectations have become more realistic.

As at Christie’s, one of the surprises at Sotheby’s this season is the resilience of Robert Frank’s works at auction even in an atmosphere of a deflation-prone economy.

The faltering demand for fine art photography hasn’t touched the robust Frank market—especially images associated with what is considered his life’s premier work: the seminal 83-image series, “The Americans”.

Although originally reviled by critics, and met with poor sales, the impact of Frank’s “The Americans”—a body of work that opposed the images of a bright, sunny America that dominated magazines such as “Life” and “Look”—had an impact on the taste and standards of artists that is still hard to overestimate.

Robert Frank ( b. 1924)
McClellanville, S.C. (a.k.a. Barber Shop Through Screen Door), 1955
"Probably printed in the 1960s"
Gelatin silver print
8 5/8 by 12 7/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $182,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #146

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


In April of 2003, at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, the prestigious, Phyllis Lambert curated “Seagram Collection of Photographs”—one of the very first corporations to embark upon a collection of photographs (the first was the Hallmark Collection begun in 1964)—Robert Frank’s signed and dated “McClellanville, South Carolina”, (a.k.a. “Barber Shop Through Screen Door”) from 1955 and printed in 1973 (with the Light Gallery, N.Y. as provenance) came on the block.

The artist’s haunting photograph of an empty chair in a barber’s shop seen through a screen door came with a meager $5,000-$7,000 pre-sale estimate. It realized $26,000.

Just three years later in February of 2006, at the above mentioned record holding, single-owner “Important Photographs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art , Including Works from the Gilman Paper Co. Collection” sale at Sotheby’s, a circa 1977 print with the artist’s dealer—Pace/MacGill—as provenance, quadrupled its hammer price at $100,000 ($120,000 with buyer’s premium). It came with a $20,000-$30,000 pre-sale estimate.

In the present sale, an earlier, slightly smaller print—“probably printed circa 1960s”— of the same image sold for $150,000 ($182,500 with buyer’s premium) amidst heated bidding and the added glow from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s homage to Frank’s “The Americans” with their blockbuster, “Looking In” (Sept. 22nd, 2009-Jan. 3rd, 2010).

“Barbershop Through Screen Door”, evoking the broad history of small towns in a rapidly changing America, ended up being the #1 single image of the Sotheby’s sale and the #4 lot of the entire N.Y. fall season.

Man Ray (b. 1890, d. 1976)
Lee Miller And Friend, c. early 1950s
Gelatin silver print
8 7/8 by 6 3/4 inches
Pre-sale est.: $60,000-$80,000
Price realized: $98,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y., "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #116

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Just behind Frank’s “sad poem right out of America” is the undeniably erotic Man Ray photograph of his lover and muse, Lee Miller locked in a kiss with an unidentified woman.

Taken in the early 1930s in Paris, the picture suggests a cooler, more androgynous sensuality than what one would expect in a photograph taken by a male photographer shooting an extreme close-up of two women in such close proximity.

As is typical of Man Ray’s best work, the photograph is more complex than it would appear at first glance. Due partially to the fact that the ravishingly beautiful Lee was used to being objectified by men from her high-fashion modeling days in Manhattan in the late 1920s, she manages—no doubt with Man Ray’s active reinforcement—to project a certain snag-froid that allows the lips of one to melt into the other creating what might be construed as a vagina.

“Lee Miller & Friend”, the subliminally embedded, sexually oriented 8 7/8 by 6 ¾ inch gelatin silver print landed at the high end of its $60,000-$80,000 pre-sale estimate taking home $98,500 (with buyer’s premium included).

Pierre Dubreuil (b. 1872, d. 1944)
Elephantaisie, 1908
Warm-toned, matte-surface printing-out-paper print (framed)
9 3/4 by 7 1/2 inches
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $92,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #45

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Pierre Dubreuil was perhaps the most accomplished Pictorialist photographer of his day, in terms of the sheer imagination inherent in his images and his technical mastery of the photographic medium.

“Elephantaisie”, taken by the artist with the Dallmeyer Bergheim lens—
the first soft-focus telephoto lens with variable focal length capabilities—allowed Dubreuil to take this image from quite a distance, and effectively compress the space between the elephant sculpture and the Eiffel Tower in a way that would have been novel in 1908.

While Dubreuil exhibited his work widely, there were exceedingly few surviving examples of his work. "On the eve of the second World War, experiencing financial difficulties and concerned for the safety of his life’s work, Dubreuil sold his negatives and many of his prints to the Gevaert photographic company in Belgium. The Gevaert factory was subsequently bombed during the war, and Dubreuil’s work was completely destroyed." (Sotheby's catalogue, p. 25)


It is believed that this warm-toned, matte-surface printing-out-paper photograph is one of only two prints that exist of this image. The other—an oil print with the photographer’s monogram on the image, on a layered quintuple mount of gray, brown, and buff-colored papers—sold at Sotheby’s, N.Y. on October 10, 2005 for $132,000.

The unsigned proof above did better than its high estimate of $70,000, landing in at $92,500 (with buyer’s premium).


Anonymous photographer
The Gaucho, circa 1840s
Half-plate daguerreotype with a modern seal, cased
Pre-sale est.: $15,000-$25,000
Price realized: $62,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #74

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Half-plate daguerreotypes continued to bring huge numbers this fall. Bringing in double its high estimate at $50,000 ($62,500 with buyer’s premium), “The Gaucho”, circa 1840s could be described as a loose equivalent to the North American “cowboy”. Known as colorful, although frequently solitary characters who essentially lived on horseback, the gaucho frequented the South American pampas, chacos, or Pantagonian grasslands. Found principally in parts of Argentina, Uruguay, Southern Chile, and Southern Region, Brazil, the gauchos made up the majority of the rural population, herding cows on the vast estancias, and practicing hunting as their main economic activities.

"The portrait shows its subject in authentic gaucho habiliments. Over his greatcoat, the subject wears the characteristic poncho. His trousers are the typical loose-fitting bombachas, over which is layered a protective cloth garment called a chiripa. These are fastened with a wide leather belt, festooned with silver coins, known as rastra, and in it the gaucho carries his long-bladed facon knife, more typically worn on the back. In his hand, the gaucho holds the end of a type of whip called a rebengue." (Sotheby's catalogue, p. 36)


The photographer has allowed the viewer to attach themselves to this character, dig in and let the gaucho tell a tale and situation. The gaze on the face of the subject suggests he has seen just about everything there is to see but on closer inspection, the sitter might be just seventeen years old.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (b. 1895, d. 1946)
Fotoplastik (The Benevolent Gentleman), 1924
11 1/8 by 8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $50,000
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #139

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


"Laslo Moholy-Nagy first began making photomontages in 1922 or 1923, calling them “fotoplastiks” to differentiate them from work that had been done in the medium up to that point. He continued making them throughout the 1920s producing them in quantities roughly equal to his photographs and photograms." (Sotheby's catalogue, p.69)


Moholy-Nagy saw his “fotoplastiks” as an extension of the photomontages created earlier by the Dadaists which he regarded as “unruly” and “far too individual to be readily conceivable”. In contrast, Moholy-Nagy saw his “fotoplastiks” as compositions ‘directly towards a target: the representation of ideas.’

"Moholy’s “fotoplastiks" involved the combination of cut-out photographs within a hand-drawn background on paper. As in “The Benevolent Gentleman”, the photographic figures are juxtaposed dynamically with the graphic elements, creating a cohesive, if somewhat abstract constructed environment." (Sotheby's catalogue, p.69)


The “Benevolent Gentleman” is distinctive among the “fotoplastiks” for the presence of the series of multiple arcs in the centre of the composition; the arc is a key compositional preoccupation in Moholy-Nagy’s paintings and drawings of the early 1920s.

This 11 1/8 by 8 inch work was first published in “Die Buhne in Bauhaus (The Theatre of the Bauhaus)” in 1925, reproduced with Moholy-Nagy’s chapter, “Theatre, Circus, Variety”, and titled “The Benevolent Gentlemen (Circus Scene)”. For Moholy-Nagy, the original paper collage composition represented the penultimate stage to completion. It was only when the collage was photographed and realized as a photographic print that it constituted the finished “fotoplastik”. It hammered right in the center of its pre-sale estimate at $40,000 ($50,000 with buyer’s premium).

Cindy Sherman (b. 1954)
Untitled #95, 1981
Chromogenic print (mounted and framed)
23 1/2 by 47 3/4 inches
Ed.: '9/10'
Pre-sale est.: $100,000-$150,000
Price realized: $92,500
SOTHEBY'S, N.Y.: "Photographs", N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #203

Photo Credit: Courtesy SOTHEBY'S IMAGES, LTD., 2009


In 1981, following the success of her “Untitled Film Stills”, (1978-1980), Ingrid Sischy, the managing editor from “Artforum” magazine solicited Cindy Sherman to create a fresh series of photographs for a double-page spread in its publication.

"Ruminating on the glossy photographic narratives in mainstream pornographic magazines, Sherman produced a series of horizontal, chromogenic images that mimicked the “centerfold” format of girlie magazines with a now expanded, larger-than-life scale of CinemaScope." (Sotheby's catalogue, p.99)

Some of the images from the series exude a real sense of threat or danger that was latent in the “Untitled (Film Stills)”; the catatonically staring or dead-eye subjects are perhaps being held against their will as the camera’s eye looms over them with malicious intent.

Not all of the “centerfolds” suggest past or incipient violence, however, other examples show the characters waiting for the phone to ring or, as in the present lot, sitting in the middle of a bed in a darkened space, dramatically lit from the rear while daydreaming about a future romance, or perhaps mourning a lost one.

This series, from which the photograph offered here comes, was immediately condemned as misogynistic and it is a measure of how much times have changed that “Artforum” rejected them for publication, fearing that the wrong message would be seen.

“Untitled #95”, (1981) sold for $75,000 at the hammer ($92,500 with buyer’s premium), $25,000 off the low estimate given in the Sotheby’s catalogue due possibly to the slight fading of the Chromogenic print. But it was still $22,000 more than the last time another print of this image—it was executed in an edition of ten—sold for in London on the 23rd of June, 2003, also at Sotheby’s.

Phillips de Pury & Co.
Phillips new owner, Mercury Group, a Russian retailing luxury goods giant that acquired a majority share in the privately held auction house at the beginning of the economic downturn, have repackaged its fall photography sale to dovetail more closely with their trendier and livelier contemporary art sales in New York.


The hope is to target a larger, hipper audience with a hunger for a broader spread of categories including photographers like Thomas Struth, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rineke Dijkstra, Massimo Vitali, Marilyn Minter, Gregory Crewdson, Ryan McGinley, Cindy Sherman and a host of others whose work has jumped ship from the often confining parameters of classical photography into the more mainstream realm of contemporary art.

Phillips’s New York Director of Photographs, Vanessa Kramer, and her team of specialists sold a respectable 73% by lot and 81% by value as compared to Sotheby’s 74.3% and 81.1% and the Christie’s various owners sale of 74% and 91%.

Robert Mapplethorpe (b. 1946, d. 1989)
Lisa Lyon, 1981
Gelatin silver print
From the Collection of Lisa Lyon
15 1/4 by 15 1/4 inches
Ed.: 'AP 1/2' from an edition of 10 plus 2 artist's proofs
Pre-sale est.: $7,000-$9,000
Price realized: $31,250
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Photographs" NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #1

Photo Credit: Courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & Co. IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Fashion photography proved its strength at Phillips with Robert Mapplethorpe’s study of and homage to, the power, beauty and grace of Lisa Lyon, the first World Women’s Bodybuilding Champion with a hammer almost triple its high estimate.

The 15 ¼ by 15 ¼ inch gelatin silver print merging feminine curves with masculine musculature in her legs, sheds light on the small community of female bodybuilders that in the 1980s seemed to many to exist somewhere in the space between male and female.

The image presents a female form unlike so many other images in the era by using a classical form—a form that allowed Lyon and Mapplethorpe to jointly challenge the female stereotype while glorifying the human body. The print, an artist proof acquired directly from the artist by Lisa Lyon herself, carried a low/high pre-sale estimate of $7,000-$9,000. Bidding quickly rose to three times its high estimate landing in at $31,250 (including the buyer’s premium).

Another print of this image (from an edition of ten) hit the rostrum at Sotheby’s in London in October of 2008, but it didn’t come with the all-important added luster of the Lisa Lyon/Robert Mapplethorpe provenance. It collected less than half at $13,107.

Albert Watson (b. 1942)
Kate Moss, Marrakech, Morocco, 1993
Archival pigment print (printed later)
30 by 24 inches
Ed.: 'AP' from an edition of 25 plus artist's proofs
Pre-sale est.: $10,000-$15,000
Price realized: $32,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Photographs" NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #145

Photo Credit: Courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & Co. IMAGES, LTD., 2009


An interest in gender ambiguity and androgyny is also found in Albert Watson’s seductively foreign photograph of the then ‘it girl’ model Kate Moss.

The image, taken in Marrakech, Morocco in 1993, introduces a more solemn and pensive gaze that belies more traditional patriarchal versions of women as portrayed in fashion.

The artist’s proof from an edition of 25 archival pigment prints came with a conservative $10,000-$15,000 estimate. With buyer’s premium the take-home ticket was $32,500.

Thomas Struth (b. 1954)
58th Street at 7th Avenue, 1978
Gelatin silver print
14 1/4 by 20 inches
Ed.: '2/10'
Pre-sale est.: $6,000-$8,000
Price realized: $11,250
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Photographs" NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #181

Photo Credit: Courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & Co. IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Taken in the late 1970s, Thomas Struth’s sober and rigorous black-and-white streetscapes present a frontal, eye-height view of the urban landscape with little or no optical distortion to disrupt the impression that this is a neutral, objective recording of reality.

The artist has been described by more than one critic as “astonishingly conventional.” In contrast to Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky, two other high profile students of the famed Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Dusseldorf Kunstakadiemic, Struth approaches his subject matter with much consideration and gravity, chooses the “perfect” moment to make his exposure, and fixes it on film. Montaging or altering the negative before printing it is to Mr. Struth the destruction of the indexical relationship between picture and reality.

In part, a polemical return to the ‘straight’ aesthetics and social themes of the 1920s and 1930s and in response to the “gooey and sentimental” subjectivist photographic aesthetics that arose in the early post-war period, Struth’s systematic photography of functionalist architecture brought him recognition as a conceptual artist as well as a photographer of what came to be known as the ‘Becher school’.

Struth’s 1978 photograph of 58th Street at 7th Avenue in Manhattan does not hide or exaggerate or depict anything in an untrue fashion. Indeed, the ‘point of view’ or ‘grammar’ developed in this series has gained a significant measure of dominance within contemporary art practice by providing an alternative to the affective look given in the sentimental identification and adopted by his humanist predecessors.

In our consumer age of ironic distance where the viewer suspects both the reality of the photograph, and the intensions of the photographer, Thomas Struth provides a sensitive and ample vision of reality without artificial techniques which would divert viewers from the ‘real’ meaning that the photograph has to communicate.

Views of banal buildings, prospects of streets without qualities, anonymous facades—these are the characteristics that first strike us, but by observing more deeply these pictures, we begin to realize the omnipresent relationship to time and to history and the role human perception and phenomenological experience play in architecture.

“58th Street at 7th Avenue, New York” (a.k.a. 58th Street, New York [Midtown]) hammered at $9,000 just over its $8,000 high pre-sale estimate ($11,250 with buyer’s premium).

Edward Weston (b. 1886, d. 1958)
Nude, 1927
Gelatin silver print
6 1/2 by 9 1/4 inch
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$40,000
Price realized: $40,000
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Photographs" NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #244

Photo Credit: Courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & Co. IMAGES, LTD., 2009


In 1924, Edward Weston, lauded for his romantic, Pictorial photographic style entirely abandoned the use of his soft-focus techniques and started his precise studies of natural forms.

Modern and unsentimental, “Nude” of 1927, a close-up of dancer Bertha Wardell’s knees, is arguably Weston’s first successful study in corporeal abstraction.

This photograph displays many of the formal elements that Weston went on to refine in the 1930s including an absolute command over every step of the photographic process, exploitation of photography’s capacity for variation of tone and highly defined detail, and carefully conceived composition and crispness of printing with a gelatin silver emulsion. All of these features are characteristics of the photographic practice proposed by the photographers who labeled themselves the f/64 group.

The fragmentation and formal purism of the repeated curve of the thigh and the calf turns this detail of the human body into a still life and a meditative study in form that is pivotal in Weston’s oeuvre.

The 6 ½ by 9 ¼ inch print landed comfortably within its low/high pre-sale estimate taking in $40,000 (with buyer’s premium included).

William Eggleston (b. 1939)
Cadillac Portfolio, 1966-1971 /printed 1999
Thirteen color coupler prints
Each: 23 by 23 inches

Ed.: 15 plus six artist's proofs
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $62,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Photographs" NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #194

Photo Credit: Courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & Co. IMAGES, LTD., 2009


The Phillips sale also included 13 large-scale square-format color photographs from the portfolio “Cadillac” by William Eggleston. The images date from 1966-1971 but were not printed until 1999—after being overlooked in the studio for more than 25 years.

Although the artist captures what is right in front of him—the afternoon light falling across an ivy-covered tree, a deserted storefront plastered with advertisements, and a rusted-out sign from an abandoned Cadillac dealership—he does so in a synthetic gorgeousness that iconizes the nonchalance of what seems like inconsequential markers or traces left behind by the departed.

Previous portfolios have been traded for as much as $83,300 (Christie’s, London, May 31, 2007) and as little as $46,000 (Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, N.Y., April 15, 2002) but the November 14th sale brought $62,500 (with buyer’s premium) right at the low end of the $50,000-$70,000 pre-sale estimate.

Irving Penn (b. 1917, d. 2009)
Two Guedras, Morocco, 1971
Platinum-palladium print/"printed 1978"
21 by 17 inches

Ed.: '36/40'
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $56,250
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y., "Photographs" NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #222

Photo Credit: Courtesy PHILLIPS de PURY & Co. IMAGES, LTD., 2009


Irving Penn worked for many years doing fashion photography for “Vogue” magazine, founding his own studio in 1953. He was one of the first photographers to pose subjects against a simple grey or white backdrop driving the viewer’s focus onto the person and their expression.

While a master of the studio flash, most of Penn’s portraits are lit with window light.

When traveling to Morocco to photograph indigenous people, Penn created a portable studio with a skylight deployed facing north. These pictures have the same feel as his portraits of celebrities—his tribal subjects appear as strangely defined models for a 19th century ethnographic investigation. A meticulous craftsman, his photographs display an extraordinary attention to detail, texture and tone, eloquently and forcefully demonstrating that simplicity can be mesmerizing.

His minimalist technique inherently ushered in a new era for commercial photography whose signature timelessness and austere elegance transcended fashion photography into the realm of art.

In the spring of 2007 at Sotheby’s in London, another print from this edition sold for $71,386. In the fall of 2008 a print sold at Phillips de Pury & Co. in New York for $62,500. This time out, “Two Guedras, Morocco” was traded for $56,250.


Thanks go out to www.artnet.com for extending their Price Database to track previous prices on some of the photographs referenced in this article.

PLEASE NOTE:
RESERVES AND BUY-INS: All lots from all sales are offered subject to a reserve, which is the confidential minimum price below which the lot will not be sold. The reserve cannot exceed the low estimate printed in the catalogue. If the auctioneer decides that any opening bid is below the reserve of the article offered, he may reject the same and withdraw the article from sale. The withdrawal is accompanied by the sound of the gavel and the auctioneer saying “PASS” as the hammer goes down on the article. Passed items are also referred to as “Buy Ins” and appear as missing lot numbers on the results page published by the house after the sale.

HAMMER PRICE AND BUYER’S PREMIUM: For lots that are sold, the last price for a lot as announced by the auctioneer is the hammer price. Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Co. charge a premium to the buyer on the final bid price of each lot sold. The buyer’s premium is 25% of the hammer price up to and including $50,000, 20% of any amount in excess of $50,000 up to and including $1,000,000, and 12% of any amount in excess of $1,000,000. Prices in the “TOP 20” list included below include the buyer’s premium. In addition, the buyer shall pay all applicable sales, use, excise and other taxes, whether federal, state or local. Estimates do not reflect the buyer’s premium or VAT.

 

 


Fall 2009 New York Auction Total / $13,992,167

CHRISTIE’S $7,484,100 / 7 six-figure lots / 403 lots sold
“The American Landscape: Color Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman” (#2205) Oct. 7, 2009 / $1,544,625 / 166 lots sold / $9,305 per lot average
“Photographs by Sally Mann” (#2377) Oct. 7, 2009 / $667,625 / 47 lots sold / $14,205 per lot average
“The Miller-Plummer Collection of Photographs” (#2279) Oct. 8, 2009 / $1,832,625 / 88 lots sold / $20,825 per lot average
“Photographs” (2206) Oct. 8, 2009 / $3,439,225 / 102 lots sold / $33,718 per lot average

SOTHEBY’S $3,751,754 / 2 six-figure lots
“Photographs” (N08575) Oct. 9, 2009 / $3,751,754 / 182 lots sold / $20,614 per lot average

PHILLIPS de PURY & CO. $2,756,313 / 0 six-figure lots
“Photographs” (NY040209) Nov. 14, 2009 / $2,756,313 / 214 lots sold / $12,880 per lot average


Top 20

1) EDWARD S. CURTIS
The North American Indian, 1907-1930
Portfolios 1-20; Text Volumes 1-20
(A complete set)
Pre-sale est.: $700,000-$900,000
Price realized: $775,000
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #719


2) MARCUS AURELIUS ROOT
Anthony Pritchard, circa 1850
Quarter-plate daguerreotype
4 ¼ by 3 ¼ inch
Pre-sale est.: $20,000-$30,000
Price realized: $350,000
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #534
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


3) VARIOUS CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHERS
The Master Collection, 1998-2009
The Complete Set of Books and Portfolios
Published by 21st Editions
Folio, the volumes and portfolio cases
(31 volumes, 115 prints)
Pre-sale est.: $200,000-$300,000
Price realized: $218,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #196


4) ROBERT FRANK
McClellanville, S.C. (a.k.a. Barber Shop through Screen Door), 1955/ “probably printed in the 1960s”
Gelatin silver print
8 5/8 by 12 7/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $182,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #146


2-WAY TIE
5) BARON ADOLPH DE MEYER
Water Lilies, 1906
Platinum print
9 5/8 by 13 ¼ inches
Pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000
Price realized: $170,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #819
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


ROBERT FRANK
Fish Kill, N.Y. (a.k.a. Newburgh, N.Y.),1955/ “printed circa 1969”
Gelatin silver print
16 5/8 by 13 5/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $60,000-$90,000
Price realized: $170,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #781


6) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Greenwood, Mississippi, 1973
Dye-transfer print
30.8 by 46.8 cm.
Pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000
Price realized: $158,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y., “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #799


7) BRUCE DAVIDSON
Subway, 1980
L.A. & N.Y.: Rose Gallery & Howard Greenberg Gallery, 2006
47 Dye transfer prints
Each: 15 by 22 ½ (or the reverse)
Ed.: numbered ‘5/6’
Pre-sale est.: $150,000-$250,000
Price realized: $146,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The American Landscape”, #2205
Oct. 7, 2009
Lot #151
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


8) ANSEL ADAMS
Portfolio Three: Yosemite Valley; Sixteen Original Prints by Ansel Adams, San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1960
16 gelatin silver prints
Each: 11 by 14 inches
Ed.: number 92 from the edition of 200
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $116,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #723


9) MAN RAY
Lee Miller and Friend, early 1950s
Gelatin silver print
8 7/8 by 6 ¾ inches
Pre-sale est.: $60,000-$80,000
Price realized: $98,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #116


4-WAY TIE
10) PIERRE DUBREUL
Elephantaisie, 1908
Warm-toned, matte-surface printing-out-paper print framed
9 ¾ by 7 ½ inches
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $92,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #45


ALEXANDER GARDNER
Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War, 1866
Volumes I & II: Washington D.C., Philip & Solomons
100 albumen prints bound in two oblong folio volumes
Each: approx. 7 by 9 inches
Pre-sale est.: $40,000-$60,000
Price realized: $92,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #521

CINDY SHERMAN
Untitled #95, 1981
Chromogenic print (mounted & framed)
23 ½ by 47 ¾ inches
Ed.: ‘9/10’
Pre-sale est.: $100,000-$150,000
Price realized: $92,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #203


HIROSHI SUGIMOTO
Salvador Dali, 1999
Gelatin silver print (flush-mounted)
58 ½ by 47 inches
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $92,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #144


5-WAY TIE
11) ROBERT FRANK
Political Rally-Chicago, 1956/ “printed 1970s”
Gelatin silver print
11 ½ by 7 3/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $70,000-$90,000
Price realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #734


HEINRICH KUEHN
In Bacino di San Marco, Venezia, circa 1898
Gum-bichromate print
19 7/8 by 25 ¼ inches
Pre-sale est.: $40,000-$60,000
Price realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #609
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


DOROTHEA LANGE
Destitute Pea Pickers, California (a.k.a. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California), 1936
Gelatin silver print
9 5/8 by 7 ¼ inches
Pre-sale est.: $40,000-$60,000
Price realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “”The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #580


THOMAS RUFF
Nude ev19, 2006
Color coupler print, Diasec mounted
56 by 36 inches
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $86,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #93


HIROSHI SUGIMOTO
Austrian Post Office Savings Bank, 2001
Gelatin silver print
58 ¾ by 47 inches
Ed.: ‘2/5’
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $86,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #75


3-WAY TIE
12) ANSEL ADAMS
Leaves, Mills College, Oakland, California, circa 1951/ “printed 1958”
Oversize gelatin silver print in original white wood frame
33 ¼ by 38 ½ inches
Pre-sale est.: $25,000-$35,000
Price realized: $80,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #16


ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
Calla Lily, 1988
Gelatin silver print flush mounted
19 ¼ by 19 ¼ inches
Ed.: ‘7/10’
Pre-sale est.: $60,000-$80,000
Price realized: $80,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9. 2009
Lot #178


ALFRED STIEGLITZ
Camera Work (a complete set)
Numbers 1-49/50 (1903-1917), Special Steichen Supplement (April 1906) and Special Number(s)(August 1912) and (June 1913); dated Jan. 22, 1922
Pre-sale est.: $90,000-$120,000
Price realized: $80,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, N02279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #547


13) RICHARD AVEDON
Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, 1981
Gelatin silver print
32 1/8 by 48 ¾ inches
Ed.: ‘80/200’
Pre-sale est.: $35,000-$55,000
Price realized: $80,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., N.Y.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #17


2-WAY TIE
14) IRVING PENN
Chimney Sweep, London, 1950
Platinum-palladium print/ “printed July 1976”
19 ¼ by 14 ¾ inches
Ed.: ‘21/27’
Pre-sale est.: $10,000-$15,000
Price realized: $74,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #598


MARCUS AURELIUS ROOT
Albert Pritchard Root Asleep by the Flag, circa 1850
Quarter-plate daguerreotype
3 ½ by 4 ¼ inches
Pre-sale est.: $15,000-$25,000
Price realized: $74,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #523


15) IRVING PENN
Cuzco, Newsboy, 1948
Gelatin silver print
10 ¾ by 9 3/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $15,000-$25,000
Price realized: $72,100
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #732


5-WAY TIE
16) BIEN-U BAE
Sonamoo, 1986
Color coupler print, Diasec mounted
78 7/8 by 63 inches
Ed.: ‘4/5’
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $68,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #88


WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Untitled, 1972, from “14 Pictures”
Dye-transfer print
13 by 19 inches
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $68,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Lot #741


WALKER EVANS
Saratoga, 1931
Gelatin silver print/ “printed 1933”
8 by 6 ¼ inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $68,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #708


SALLY MANN
Candy Cigarette, 1989
Gelatin silver print
18 ¾ by 23 ¼ inches
Ed.: edition of 25
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $68,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs By Sally Mann”, #2377
Oct. 7, 2009
Lot #307


RICHARD MISRACH
Untitled #13-02, 2002, from “On the Beach”
Chromogenic print, flush-mounted on Plexiglas
51 ¾ by 121 ¾ inches
Ed.: ‘4/5’
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $68,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The American Landscape”. #2205
Oct. 7, 2009
Lot #107
*WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST



5-WAY TIE
17) ANSEL ADAMS
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941
Gelatin silver print/ “printed circa 1941”
9 5/8 by 12 7/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $70,000-$90,000
Price realized: $62,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #761


ANONYMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER
The Gaucho, circa 1840s
Half-plate daguerreotype with a modern seal, cased
Pre-sale est.: $15,000-$25,000
Price realized: $62,500
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #74


WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Cadillac Portfolio, 1966-1971
Thirteen color coupler prints/ “printed 1999”
Each: 23 by 23 inches

Ed.: 15 plus six artist's proofs
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $62,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #194


LEE MILLER
Object by Joseph Cornell, 1933
Gelatin silver print
8 1/8 by 6 ¼ inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$40,000
Price realized: $62,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #256


WILLIAM HENRY FOX TALBOT
Sun Pictures in Scotland, London, 1845
23 Calotypes, bound in a large volume;
Each with plate number (on the mount)
Varying sizes from 6 3/8 by 7 ¾ inches
Pre-sale est.: $8,000-$12,000
Price realized: $62,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #533


4-WAY TIE
18) ANONYMOUS AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER
Maungwudaus, circa 1850s
Quarter-plate daguerreotype
With hand-tinting and gilt-detail with a modern seal
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $56,250
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #75


EUGENE ATGET
St. Cloud, 1922
Arrowroot print
7 by 9 1/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $56,250
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #585


DAVID LEVINTHAL
Barbie Millicent Roberts, 1997-1998
3 unique large-format Polaroid prints from the series
‘Barbie Millicent Roberts: An Original’
Ed.: ‘AP’ on the image, mounted
Includes the original Bubble cut Barbie Doll
Each approx.: 28 by 21 inches
Pre-sale est.: $6,000-$8,000
Price realized: $56,250
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #228


IRVING PENN
Two Guedras, Morocco, 1971
Platinum-palladium print/ “printed 1978”
21 by 17 inches
Ed.: ‘36/40’
Pre-sale est.: $50,000-$70,000
Price realized: $56,250
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.: “Photographs”, NY040209
Nov. 14, 2009
Lot #222


2-WAY TIE
19) PETER BEARD
Salaam and Kwahevi. Orphaned Cheetah Cubs,
For ‘The End of the Game’, 1968
Gelatin silver print with ink handwork
15 1/8 by 22 3/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $12,000-$18,000
Price realized: $52,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #772


ROBERT FRANK
Mary and Pablo, N.Y.C., 1951 and 1954
Gelatin silver print/ “printed circa 1971”
13 ½ by 15 1/8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $25,000-$35,000
Price realized: $52,500
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #747


4-WAY TIE
20) LASZLO MOHOLY-NAGY
Fotoplastik (The Benevolent Gentlemen), 1924
11 1/8 by 8 inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $50,000
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #139


PAUL OUTERBRIDGE
Nude With Sculpture Head, 1937
Color carbo print, mounted, overmatted
14 ¼ by 12 inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $50,000
SOTHEBY’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, N08575
Oct. 9, 2009
Lot #99


EDWARD WESTON
Pepper #35, 1930
Gelatin silver print numbered ‘12/50’
9 3/8 by 7 ½ inches
Pre-sale est.: $30,000-$50,000
Price realized: $50,000
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “Photographs”, #2206
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #765


JOEL-PETER WITKIN
Le Baiser, N.M., 1983
Gelatin silver print, with ink handwork
14 5/8 by 14 ¾ inches
Pre-sale est.: $8,000-$12,000
Price realized: $50,000
CHRISTIE’S, N.Y.: “The Miller-Plummer Collection”, #2279
Oct. 8, 2009
Lot #618

 

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