2036, lot 144
WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Los Alamos, 1965-74
Memphis: Eggleston Artistic Trust, 2002.
ONE OF 75 dye-transfer prints.
Each signed in ink (in the margin); each numbered '2/7' in ink
Los Alamos portfolio copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp (on the verso)
Each 11 7/8 x 17 7/8in. (30.2 x 45.4cm.) or the reverse.
Ed.: '2/7' plus 3 APs.
Contained in five folios, each comprised of 15 images, accompanying title sheet, and colophon numbered consecutively
Folio 1 contains a printed introduction by Walter Hopps
Est.: $350,000-$550,000
Realized: $1,022,500
Lot #144, Christie's, "Photographs By William Eggleston From the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman",
Mon., Oct. 13, 2008
Photo credit: courtesy Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

Sizzle To Fizzle:  2008 Fall Photography Auctions in New York
By Brian Appel


The 2008 fall photography season will be remembered not just for the pictures that were traded but also for a market that slimmed down from $35.6 million in print sales in the spring of 2008 to $15.5 million this October—Sotheby’s from $17.3 million to $5.7 million, Christie’s from $15 million to $7.4 million, and Phillips de Pury & Co. from $3.3 million to $2.3 million.

A precipitous decline in quality consignments—the finest in vintage, provenance, rarity and condition—in combination with the “hurricane of financial destruction” that began in the early summer when collectors and dealers began committing their works to the auction houses for the fall sales took their toll.

The worsening economic climate gathered momentum until “Black October” when the credit and housing crisis finally caught up to the stock market aggravating and accelerating the financial conditions of the bidders in the rooms.

It was this one/two punch combination of too few owners willing to test the market with their trophies and the flattening of prices at the gavel that led to the faltering of the art photography boom.

Only six lots from the big three houses found their way beyond the $200,000 mark compared to 31 lots in the spring. That said, there were some exceptional items for astute buyers with cash at hand.

WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Los Alamos, 1965-1974
75 Dye-Transfer prints (printed in 2002)
each: 11 7/8 by 17 7/8 or the reverse
edition of 7 plus 3 APs
est.: $350,000-$550,000
realized: $1,022,500
CHRISTIE'S, "Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman", #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #144
WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR THE ARTIST


Christie’s
Culled from over twenty-two hundred images photographed between 1965 and 1974, William Eggleston’s 75-print opus “Los Alamos” was the star lot of the fall photography season.

Printed in 2002 in an edition of only seven (with three artist’s proofs), it was the first time that this influential body of work was offered in the New York auction market.

Executed during several “spontaneous and aimless” road trips revolving around the center of his world—Memphis and the Mississippi Delta—and as far west as New Orleans to Las Vegas and southern California ending on the Santa Monica Pier, Eggleston’s work is dedicated to showing the moody, lyrical beauty that surrounds us at all times and in all places.

Particularly coveted because it contains the first color photograph Eggleston made—of a red-haired grocery clerk pushing a shopping cart in the raking, red-hued light at the end of the day—“Los Alamos” repositioned color “photography” as “fine art” among aficionados in the photographic world.

Eggleston’s ‘democratic’ approach to subject matter—soda shops, drive-ins, liquor stores and parking lots—share a roving eye that tends to come up close and concentrate on mundane details that exist in a space that seems built just for it. Printed on dye transfer prints that utilize a process pirated from commercial advertising, the everyday details of Eggleston’s south seem to be soaked with artificial colors that throw into high relief a surreal depiction of small-town America.

The lot—with a pre-sale low/high estimate of $350,000-$550,000— brought a final hammer of $850,000 or $1,022,500 (including buyer’s premium).

2036_103.jpg
WILLIAM EGGLESTON (B. 1939)
Jackson, Mississippi, 1972
Dye-transfer print, printed 1986
13 1/2 by 21 in.
Signed in ink (in the margin); 'William Eggleston's Guide' and edition stamps (on the verso)
Ed.: '2/12'
Est.: $60,000-$90,000
Realized: $158,500
Lot #103, Christie's, "Photographs By William Eggleston
From the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman", #2036, Oct. 13, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008


Other lots from this exceptional single owner sale from the collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman were “Jackson, Mississippi” from 1972—a photograph of an middle-aged matron wearing a red and blue floral dress sitting on a yellow and orange and green chaise lounge with a similar motif. The staid and dignified expression on the woman’s face is in stark contrast to the riot of clashing color and the exposed springs of the sagging mattress on the settee. The show-stopping print—number 2 from an edition of 12—carried an estimate of $60,000-$90,000. The last time it sold at auction in New York was also at Christie’s—in 1990. It brought $1,870. This time out, a gaggle of bidders pushed the take-home price to $130,000 at the hammer or $158,500 (including buyer’s premium).

WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Memphis, c. 1971 / printed 1980
Dye-transfer print
18 by 12 1/4 in.
Signed and numbered in pencil (on the verso)
Ed.: '17/20'
Est.: $60,000-$90,000
Realized: $110,500
Lot #140, Christie's, "Photographs By William Eggleston
From the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman", #2036,
Mon., Oct. 13, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008


“Memphis”, circa 1971—number 17 from an edition of 20 printed in 1980—the utterly unexpected empty space of a green tiled bathroom with a pre-sale estimate of $60,000-$90,000 was the fourth highest lot from the sale landing in at $90,000—$110,500 with premium. The last time this strange beauty sold at auction—some have suggested the photograph has the visual presence of a gas chamber—was in the spring of 2000 at Christie’s, N.Y. It realized $19,975 with an estimate of $8,000-10,000.

The Bruce and Nancy Berman single-owner collection had the best sell-through of the season with 90% of the 60 lots offered sold. The just under $3 million yield—aided by the new world auction record set for the artist with “Los Alamos”— helped to propel the house to an impressive $55,523 per lot average reminiscent of totals from the peak of the market back in the fall of 2007 and the spring of 2008.

Christie’s “Contemporary Photography” and various owners “Photographs” day sales produced results that more closely reflected the grim economic reality.

“Contemporary Photography”, the first such sale offered at Christie’s, yielded just over one million dollars with a 58% sell-through—54 of the 93 lots offered sold.

HIROSHI SUGIMOTO
Seascapes, 1987-1993
3 gelatin silver prints
Each 16 1/2 by 21 1/4 in.
Each with title, date and number and edition blindstamp (in the margin)
Each image from an edition of 25
Estimate: $100,000-$150,000
Realized: $110,500
Lot #61, Christie's, "Contemporary Photographs", #2125
Oct. 13, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

 

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s gelatin silver print triptych, “Seascapes” from 1987-1993—a meditation on sea, sky and memory—was the only lot to move into six-figure territory with a take-home of $110,500. The 2005 Adam Fuss unique photogram “Untitled (Snake Powder)” and Louise Lawler’s riff on On Kawara’s date painting

LOUISE LAWLER
Still Life (Candle), 2003
Digital dye-bleach print on aluminum museum box
12 7/8 by 10 7/8 in.
Signed, dated and numbered '1/5' in ink on the reverse
Ed.: '1/5'
Est.: $25,000-$35,000
Realized: $50,000
Lot #79, Christie's, "Contemporary Photographs", #2125
Oct. 13, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

 

“Still Life (Candle)” from 2003, tied for second place at $50,000. Marilyn Minter, Alec Soth and Scott Peterman also had strong showings but Sally Mann, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Beard and Jack Pierson among others failed to achieve their secret minimums. The sale—which focused on the myth of the medium of photography as an instrument of truth, realism and objectivity—had a modest $18,994 per lot average due partly to the absence of some key contemporary photography masters such as Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger, Matthew Barney, Andreas Gursky, Charles Ray, Mike Kelley, Peter Fischli and David Weiss among others.

The Christie’s various owners “Photographs” sale came with an optimistic $8.3 million pre-sale minimum but yielded just $3.4. Only 138 of the 256 lots were sold. Secret minimums—the amount the consignor and the house agree to as the lowest price point for an item to be sold (usually 10% lower than the low pre-sale estimate published in the catalogue)—seemed like ‘old’ numbers to many of the assembled who felt that the backdrop of the reeling financial markets was not reflected in the presale estimates.

There was a softening in certain sectors—especially for images that had come up to the rostrum before and were sure to appear again.

A Richard Avedon gelatin silver triptych of Andy Warhol with members of the Factory—taken in 1969 and printed in 1975, the same year the original mural sized print was included in the “Richard Avedon: Portraits” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002—reached only $35,000 before being passed. Printed in an edition of 50 (only 25 were realized) its presale low estimate was $60,000. In October of 2007, at an earlier Christie’s sale (“On Artists—Photographs from the Collection of Rex, Inc.”) another triptych from the same edition fetched $73,000 with a $30,000-$50,000 pre-sale estimate.

A Neil Selkirk printed Diane Arbus photograph, “Teenage Couple on Hudson Street”—from an edition of 75—realized just $22,500 as compared to $39,400 from last spring at Christie’s as part of the “Photographs By Diane Arbus From the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman” and $31,200 at Phillips de Pury & Co. in their April 27th, 2007 “Photographs” sale in New York.

ROBERT FRANK
Covered Car - Long Beach, California, 1956 / printed 1970s
Gelatin silver print
8 1/2 by 12 7/8 in.
Signed, titled and dated in ink (in the margin)
Est.: $40,000-$60,000
Realized: $62,500
Lot #280, Christie's, "Photographs", #2106,
Tues., 14th Oct., 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

 

“Covered Car—Long Beach, California”, a key Robert Frank photograph from his seminal series “The Americans” from 1955-1956 (printed 1970s) realized $62,500 with a $40,000-$60,000 pre-sale estimate. Just one year ago, at a Christie’s various owner’s sale, another print from the same negative (also printed 1970s) realized a robust $79,000 with a smaller $30,000-$50,000 estimate.

Good material—excellent quality classic works that reach the auction block infrequently—were snapped up at prices that deflected the “new” recession mentality.

LEE FRIEDLANDER
Haverstraw, New York, 1966
Gelatin silver print / printed 1970s
8 5/8 by 13 in.
Signed, titled, dated and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp (on the verso)
Est.: $10,000-$15,000
Realized: $15,000
Lot #391, Christie's, "Photographs", #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

 

A Lee Friedlander homage to road photography—“Haverstraw, New York” from 1966 (printed 1970s)—rolled out for $15,000 including its 25% buyer’s premium. A rare to auction image from his first book, entitled “Lee Friedlander: Self-Portrait”, a Haywire Press publication from 1970 that some say may be his most influential body of work—came with a $10,000-$15,000 pre-sale estimate.

Casting himself as the quintessential American loner staring out into space through the windshield of his pick-up truck, the artist explores role-playing and artifice as well as the hard-boiled, inky realities of film noir. The image last came up at auction in 2004 at Christie’s in New York with a ‘printed later’ (c. 1980-1989) impression that sold for $3,585 with premium.

CLAUDE CAHUN
Self-Portrait, c. 1927
Gelatin silver print
9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in.
Est.: $30,000-$50,000
Realized: $110,500
Lot #249, Christie's, "Photographs", #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

 

Made to promote her 1930 book, “Aveaux non avenues”, the androgynous poet Claude Cahun’s surrealist portrait of her face against a mirror reached $110,500. Very rare, most of Cahun’s photographs exist only as contact prints. The 9 5/8 by 7 5/8 inch gelatin silver print (circa 1927) had a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000 and set a world auction record for the artist.

“Women are Beautiful”, Garry Winogrand’s 85-image encyclopedic collection of pictures of women in public places (edition #24/80) reached $116,500. Seven years ago, edition #69/80 sold at Christie’s for $22,600.

EDWARD WESTON
Tina, 1923
Gelatin silver print
7 by 9 1/2 in.
Initialed and dated in pencil (on the mount); dated and numbered '67N' in pencil (on the reverse of the mount)
Est.: $40,000 - 60,000
Realized: $116,500
Lot #288, Christie's, "Photographs", #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008

 

“Tina”, a gelatin silver print of Tina Modotti—an Italian film actress taken by Edward Weston in 1923—had multiple bidders that took the lot to $116,500. The flattened perspective and knife-edged shadows made it a precursor to the artist’s 1936 studies of Charis Wilson on sand dunes.

Irving Penn seems “out of sync” with the reality of the chilly financial down-turn. Despite the down-sizing of the fine art photography market, Penn took the number one ($266,500) and number two spot ($134,500) in Christie’s top ten various owners’ sale.

IRVING PENN
Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950
Gelatin silver print, printed 1984
17 1/4 by 15 1/4 in.
Signed, initialed, titled, dated in ink, 'Penn/Condé Nast' copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamps (on the reverse of the flush-mount)
Ed.: 16
Est.: $150,000-$250,000
Realized: $266,500
Lot #403, Christie's, "Photographs", #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Christie's Images Ltd., 2008
Copyright held by the artist

 

Setting a new world auction record for a gelatin silver print of his classic “Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York” from 1950—printed 1984 in an edition of 16—it smashed the previous $66,298 figure set in London in May of 2005. “Poppy: Glowing Embers, New York”, a dye transfer print exposed in 1968 and printed in 1989 in an edition of 19 was just shy of its present record set just last April of this year also at Christie’s New York.

Sotheby’s

MAN RAY
Jacqueline Goddard, circa 1930
Negative print
11 1/2 by 9 in.
Studio stamp, and numerical notations on the reverse, matted
Est.: $250,000-$350,000
Realized: $374,500
Lot #21, Sotheby's, "Photographs", N08475,
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Sotheby's Images, 2008
Copyright 2007 Man Ray Trust/ Artists Rights Society (ARS);
ADAGP, Paris

 

Man Ray’s “Jacqueline Goddard”, a negative portrait executed in 1930 was the top lot this fall at Sotheby’s. It realized $310,000 at the hammer—$374,500 with buyer’s premium. Printed from an autochrome—a color process that yielded a positive color transparency on glass—Man Ray innovatively appropriated the diffused luminosity and Impressionistic graininess typically associated with the soft colors and Romantic sensibility of the Pictorialist tradition of photography, wedding it with the Surrealist technique of the negative portrait.

Literally standing the image on its head—Man Ray rotated the image 90 degrees—Goddard appears in the finished print to float in space with her hair streaming behind.


ANSEL ADAMS
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941 / printed circa 1946
Gelatin silver print
13 7/8 by 19 3/8 in.
Signed and dated '1942' by the photographer in pencil on the mount
Est.: $200,000-$300,000
Realized: $362,500
Lot #26, Sotheby's, "Photographs", N08475,
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Sotheby's Images, 2008
Ansel Adams Copyright Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

 

Ansel Adam’s most celebrated image—“Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”, 1941, printed circa 1946—took the number two spot for the house. One of only four other known prints executed before he re-processed the negative because it was so difficult to print—the image depicts a twilight scene—as opposed to the stark night-time appearance of Adams’s later prints. The photograph reached $362,500 incl. premium. A mid-1970s print of the same image sold later at the day sale for just under $35,000. The artist’s record for Moonrise remains at $609,600 also at Sotheby’s, N.Y., during their “Photographs” sale of Oct. 17, 2006).

EDWARD WESTON
Tina On The Azotea, circa 1924
Gelatin silver print
8 1/4 by 6 7/8 in.
Signed by the photographer in pencil on the image
Mounted to heavy buff paper
Est.: $250,000-$350,000
Realized: $302,500
Lot #7, Sotheby's, "Photographs", N08475,
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Sotheby's Images, 2008
Copyright 1981 Arizona Board of Regents, Center for Creative Photography

 

Edward Weston’s “Tina On The Azotea” from 1924, a rare surviving signed print from a series of nude studies of Tina Modotti captured the third spot at Sotheby’s. Taken on the terrace of their small house outside Mexico City it landed at $302,500 (incl. premium) with a pre-sale estimate of $250,000-$350,000. The image had remained out of the public eye in a private collection since the 1970s.

The gelatin silver print, taken with a lens that could stop down to a narrow aperture allowed Weston to capture his subject in sharper detail in the intense Mexican light. The work—taken outside the controlled confines of the photographer’s studio, and incorporating the roughness of the terrace and the disarray of the blanket on which the model rests—is coveted for its lack of atmospheric affects or suggested narratives. This was a step away from the more romantic style in which Weston had photographed Modotti earlier in the decade.

RICHARD PRINCE
Untitled (Girlfriend), 1993
Ektacolor print
40 by 60 1/2 in.
Signed, dated and numbered '2/2' by the photographer
Ed.: '2/2' in an edition of 2 plus one AP
Est.: $200,000-$300,000
Realized: $302,500
Lot #54, Sotheby's, "Photographs", N08475,
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Sotheby's Images, 2008
Copyright Richard Prince

 

Tied in third place and landing dead-center in its pre-sale estimate, a rare-to-auction Richard Prince mural-sized “Untitled (Girlfriend)” from 1993 got a lot of attention. A re-photograph of a scantily-clad ‘biker chick’ sent in to a U.S. motorbike magazine by her boyfriend, the image conveys the power relations of the unseen camera operator while providing a critique of the hidden psychological tone and the cliché gender roles they perpetuate.

In her sadly pathetic attempt to resurrect herself as a sex symbol atop a pedestal that is the ‘tricked-out low-rider’ motorbike, the ‘trophy’ girlfriend ‘mounts’ her boyfriend’s vehicle and smiles beatifically at the camera. The photograph provides a voyeuristic simulation of the ‘authentic’ experience of the ‘biker-chick’ lifestyle—freedom, unbridled sexuality, individuality—and the scopic pull to the men that covet them.

Alternate variations from the Girlfriend series which come in the 40 by 60 inch Ektacolor print format were selling in the $50,000-$100,000 (including buyer’s premium) just five years prior. All were executed in tiny editions of two with one artist’s proof. As Mr. Prince has pointed out: “Not quite unique but almost”.

LEE FRIEDLANDER
New York City (Shadow On Fur Collar), 1966
Gelatin silver print
5 1/4 by 8 in.
Inscribed 'To Alan From Lee' by the photographer in pencil on the reverse
Est.: $35,000-$50,000
Realized: $68,500
Lot #51, Sotheby's, "Photographs", N08475,
Oct. 14, 2008
Photo credit: Sotheby's Images, 2008
Copyright Lee Friedlander

 

“New York City (Shadow on Fur Collar)”—another key Lee Friedlander image from the artist’s highly regarded 44-image Haywire Press book from 1970—showed legs at Sotheby’s hammer.

Exposed in 1966 and printed in close proximity to the exposure—the lower edge of the print is unevenly trimmed, as is typical of the photographer’s early prints—it is a “vintage” offering of an image that was one of thirty Friedlander photographs chosen by John Szarkowski in the groundbreaking “New Documents” show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967. A very slightly warm-toned print with a surface sheen visible due to a subtle silvering caused by the build-up of inky black tones in print development, the double-weight print has a wonderful presence when held in the hand. Inscribed ‘To Alan From Lee’ on the back of the print, the image—of the photographer’s shadow ‘etched’ on the back of a woman’s fur collar—sold for a robust $68,500 setting a record at auction for the photograph. It had a pre-sale estimate of $35,000-$50,000.

Another vintage print of “Shadow On Fur Collar” came up for auction at Sotheby’s in the spring of 2005. It sold at that time for $38,400.

Despite a smattering of prominent photographs, the house’s Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and afternoon various owners’ auction on October 14th and 15th yielded just 170 sales from the 247 lots offered.

Per lot averages for the house plummeted from last spring’s robust $63,146 to this fall’s $33,331 putting it in arch rival Christie’s per lot territory of $30,254 (Phillips de Pury & Co. fell from $21,230 to $15,036).

Phillips de Pury & Company


PETER BEARD

Lolindo Lion Charge, 1964
Gelatin silver print with collage with paint, blood and objects in artist's original frame, printed later
81 by 24 in.
Signed, titled and dated in paint on the recto
Est.: $80,000-$120,000
Realized: $86,500
Lot #204, Phillips de Pury & Co., "Photographs", NY040508
Oct. 16, 2008
Photo credit: Phillips de Pury & Co.

 

CINDY SHERMAN
Untitled #106, 1982
Color coupler print mounted
48 by 24 in.
Signed in ink on a label accompanying the work
Ed.: One from an edition of 6
Est.: $30,000-$50,000
Realized: $62,500
Lot #158, Phillips de Pury & Co., "Photographs", NY040508
Oct. 16, 2008
Photo credit: Phillips de Pury & Co.

 

Against a backdrop of reeling financial markets and nervous investors Phillips sold a respectable 156 lots of the 225 lots offered or 69.33%. Peter Beard, Irving Penn and Cindy Sherman held the top lots—$86,500 for “Lolindo Lion Charge” and $62,500 for both Penn’s “Two Guedras, Morocco” and Sherman’s “Untitled #106”.

Central to the results of the sale was the sweeping sell-through of a group of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs of Lisa Lyon. Providing a little oasis far removed from the grim news of the financial world, all fifteen works achieved what the house referred to as “phenomenal” results—a final total of $225,375 with pre-sale estimates that ranged from $118,000-$170,000.

Moving away from his photographs of the later 1970s where Mapplethorpe explored a number of homoerotic and sadomasochistic images against the counterpoint of plain paper or cloth backdrops, the artist’s collaboration with the pioneering bodybuilder Lyon promoted the classical ideal that had its roots in antiquity. But the images they created together went far beyond the study of pure form. Sexual identity and the attitudes and behavior relative to patriarchy—subjects that both Mapplethorpe and Lyon had challenged separately—were the allegorical backdrop to the strong formal structure and intensity of the subject matter.

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
Lisa Lyon, 1980
Gelatin silver print
14 by 14 in.
Signed, numbered 'AP 1/2' (from the collection of Lisa Lyon)
Ed.: 15 plus 2 APs
Est.: $6,000-$8,000
Realized: $23,750
Lot #127, Phillips de Pury & Co., "Photographs", NY040508,
Oct. 16, 2008
Photo Credit: courtesy of Phillips de Pury & Co.
Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Used By Permission

 

The first Lisa Lyon/Robert Mapplethorpe collaboration is an inky-rich photograph of a solemn Lisa Lyon standing in front of a body of water with her right arm outstretched and covered by the American flag. Harshly lit from behind by the sky which dissects the photograph in half, the flag is made transparent save for the stars and the stripes. Lyon's statuesque gesture is eerily reminiscent of The Statue of Liberty—she stands stoically and bravely as if to uphold the freedom and might that is America.

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
Lisa Lyon, 1982
Gelatin silver print
15 1/4 by 15 1/4 in.
Signed, dated and numbered 'AP 1/2' (from the collection of Lisa Lyon)
Ed.: 10 plus 2 APs
Est.: $10,000-$15,000
Realized: $40,000
Lot #126, Phillips de Pury & Co., "Photographs", NY040508
Oct. 16, 2008
Photo credit: courtesy of Phillips de Pury & Co.
Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Used By Permission

 

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
Lisa Lyon With Snake, 1982
Gelatin silver print
15 1/4 by 15 1/4 in.
Signed, dated and numbered 'AP 1/2' (from the collection of Lisa Lyon)
Ed.: 10 plus 2 APs
Est.: $20,000-$30,000
Realized: $37,500
Lot #130, Phillips de Pury & Co., "Photographs", NY040508
Oct. 16, 2008
Photo credit: courtesy of Phillips de Pury & Co.
Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Used By Permission

 

Mapplethorpe’s seductive nude pictures of Lyon walking in the ocean in ankle-high serf and sitting on a throne-like chair with a Boa Constrictor both play with sexual identity. The combination of Lyon’s curvaceous body with its masculine musculature communicates a visual stimulus that would appeal to both sexes—the snake could be seen as both the loss of innocence and, more obviously, a stand-in for the phallus.


Re-Cap
Paul Sack—“ARTnews” magazine has identified him as one of America’s “Top Ten” photography collectors—has identified the lack of availability of good material on the market and the lack of confidence in the near-term economic future, along with the slowing of buying for investment, as the prime causes for the cooling of the photography market. “What I think has taken the sizzle out of the market is the drastic decline in everyone’s wealth as a result of the meltdown of the stock market.”

After seven years of non-stop appreciation and skyrocketing prices, signature images exemplifying pictures of great visual seduction might just become that much more affordable.

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.

Thanks are also extended to Joree Adilman, from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation for granting me the right to reproduce the three Robert Mapplethorpe photographs of Lisa Lyon for the purpose of 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 a sale.

HAMMER PRICE and the 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 15” 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.


TOP 15
1) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Los Alamos, 1965-1974,
75 Dye-transfer prints, each 11 7/8 by 17 7/8 or the reverse
printed in 2002 in an edition of 7 plus 3 APs
est.: $350,000-$550,000
realized: $1,022,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #144
World Auction Record for the Artist

2) MAN RAY
Jacqueline Goddard, 1930
negative print
11 ½ by 9 inches
est.: $250,000-$350,000
realized: $374,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #21

3) ANSEL ADAMS
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941
gelatin silver print (printed circa 1946)
13 7/8 by 19 3/8
est.: $200,000-$300,000
realized: $362,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #26

2-WAY TIE
4) RICHARD PRINCE
Untitled (Girlfriend), 1993
mural-sized Ektacolor print
40 by 60 ½ inches
ed.: ‘2/2’ plus 1 AP
est.: $200,000-$300,000
realized: $302,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #54

4) EDWARD WESTON
Tina On the Azotea, 1924
gelatin silver print
8 ¼ by 6 7/8 inches
est.: $250,000-$350,000
realized: $302,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #7

5) IRVING PENN
Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), 1950
gelatin silver print (printed in 1984)
17 ¼ by 15 ¼ inches
edition of 16
est.: 150,000-$250,000
realized: $266,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #403

6) PAUL OUTERBRIDG, JR.
Still Life of Eggs in a Pie Tin, 1923
platinum print
4 ½ by 3 ¼ inches
est.: $50,000-$70,000
realized: $188,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #30

2-WAY TIE
7) RICHARD AVEDON
Dovima With Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque D’Hiver, Paris, 1955 large format gelatin silver print
19 ½ by 15 ½ inches
est.: $100,000-$150,000
realized: $158,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #44

7) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Jackson, Mississippi, 1972
dye-transfer print (printed 1986)
13 ½ by 21 inches
edition of 12
est.: $60,000-$90,000
realized: $158,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #103

2-WAY TIE
8) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Memphis, 1969-1970
dye-transfer print (printed 1999)
21 ¾ by 14 ½ inches
edition: ‘3/10’
est.: $50,000-$70,000
realized: $146,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #137

8) RICHARD AVEDON
Avedon/Paris, 1948-1957
11 gelatin silver prints
each approx. 14 ¼ by 18 inches
printed 1978
edition: ‘1/75’
est.: $100,000-$200,000
realized: $146,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #40

4-WAY TIE
9) DOROTHEA LANGE
White Angel Breadline, San Francisco, 1932
gelatin silver print (printed no later than 1955)
19 ¾ by 16 inches
est.: $70,000-$100,000
realized: $134,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #34

9) TINA MODOTTI
Bandolier, Corn and Guitar, 1927
gelatin silver print
9 ½ by 7 ½ inches
est.: $120,000-$180,000
realized: $134,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #18A

9) IRVING PENN
Poppy: Glowing Embers, New York, 1968
dye-transfer print (printed 1989)
16 5/8 by 21 ¼ inches
edition: ‘1/19’
est.: $80,000-$120,000
realized: $134,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #376

9) CARLTON E. WATKINS
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River, 1867
mammoth-plate albumen print
20 ¾ by 15 7/8 inches
est.: 70,000-$100,000
realized: $134,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #36

2-WAY TIE
10) EDWARD WESTON
Tina, 1923
gelatin silver print
7 by 9 ½ inches
est.: $40,000-$60,000
realized: $116,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #288

10) GARRY WINOGRAND
Women Are Beautiful, 1964-1973
85 gelatin silver prints (printed 1981 by RFG Publishing)
each: approx. 8 by 13 inches or the reverse
edition: ‘24/80’ plus 20 APs
est.: $70,000-$100,000
realized: $116,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #298

6-WAY TIE
11) CLAUDE CAHUN
Self-Portrait, circa 1927
gelatin silver print
9 5/8 by 7 5/8 inches
est.: $30,000-$50,000
realized: $110,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #249

11) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Memphis, circa 1971
dye-transfer print (printed in 1980)
18 by 12 ¼ inches
edition: ‘17/20’
est.: $60,000-$90,000
realized: $110,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”,#2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #140

11) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Sumner, Mississippi, 1972
dye-transfer print (printed in 1999)
14 3/8 by 21 ¾ inches
edition: ‘3/15’
est.: $50,000-$70,000
realized: $110,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #136

11) SOUTHWORTH & HAWES (Albert S., & Josiah J.)
Flowers, circa 1852
daguerreotype with applied color
quarter plate
est.: $100,000-$150,000
realized: $110,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #416

11) ALFRED STIEGLITZ
The Steerage, 1907
large-format photogravure (printed in 1915)
12 ½ by 10 inches
est.: $50,000-$80,000
realized: $110,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #10

11) HIROSHI SUGIMOTO
Seascapes, 1987-1993
3 gelatin silver prints
each: 16 ½ by 21 ¼ inches
edition of 25
est.: $100,000-$150,000
realized: $110,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Contemporary Photography”, #2125
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #61

12) DIANE ARBUS
A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street, N. Y. C., 1966
gelatin silver print
15 ¼ by 14 ¾ inches
est.: $100,000-$200,000
realized: $104,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
October 14, 2008
lot #53

2-WAY TIE
13) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Untitled (Peaches), 1971
dye-transfer print (printed 1980)
12 ½ by 18 ½ inches
edition: ‘6/20’
est.: $50,000-$70,000
realized: $98,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
October 13, 2008
lot #150

13) Edward Weston
Dunes, Oceano, 1936
gelatin silver print
7 5/8 by 9 ½ inches
est.: $100,000-$150,000
realized: $98,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #320

5-WAY TIE
14) PETER BEARD
Lolindo Lion Charge, 1964
gelatin silver print collage with paint, blood and objects in artist’s original frame, 81 by 24 inches (printed later)
est.: $80,000-$120,000
realized: $86,500
PHILLIPS de PURY & CO., “Photographs”, NY040508
Oct. 16, 2008
lot #204

14) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Sumner, Mississippi, circa 1970
dye-transfer print (printed 2002)
21 5/8 by 15 inches
edition: ‘5/9’
est.: $25,000-$35,000
realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #131

14) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Untitled, Memphis, circa 1972
dye-transfer print (printed 1981)
12 ½ by 19 1/8 inches
edition: ‘9/13’
est.: $30,000-$50,000
realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #106

14) IRVING PENN
Frozen Food (With String Beans), 1977
dye-transfer print (printed 1993)
21 ½ by 17 inches
edition: one of no more than 21 prints
est.: $70,000-$100,000
realized: $86,500
SOTHEBY’S, “Photographs”, N08475
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #50

14) IRVING PENN
Picasso (B), Cannes, 1957
platinum-palladium print (printed 1985)
18 ½ by 18 ½ inches
edition: ‘14/47’
est.: $60,000-$80,000
realized: $86,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #324

3-WAY TIE
15) ANSEL ADAMS
Ansel Adams: Portfolio V11, 1976
11 gelatin silver prints
each 16 by 20 inches
edition: ‘14/115’
est.: $80,000-$120,000
realized: $80,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2008
lot #417

15) WILLIAM EGGLESTON
Biloxi, Mississippi, (from 10.D.70.V2), 1974
dye-transfer print (printed 1996)
12 ¼ by 17 ¾ inches
edition: ‘5/15’
est.: $30,000-$50,000
realized: $80,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs by William Eggleston from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman”, #2036
Oct. 13, 2008
lot #155

15) ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE
Coral Sea, 1983
gelatin silver print
19 by 15 ¼ inches
edition: ‘6/10’
est.: $50,000-$70,000
realized: $80,500
CHRISTIE’S, “Photographs”, #2106
Oct. 14, 2006
lot #377


CHRISTIE’S
Photographs By William Eggleston, #2036 / 13 Oct., 2008
Gross: $2,998,250
Lots offered: 60
Lots sold: 54
Sold by lot: 90%
Average per lot: $55,523
Six-figure lots: 5

Contemporary Photographs, #2125 / 13 Oct., 2008
Gross: $1,020,250
Lots offered: 93
Lots sold: 54
Sold by lot: 58%
Average per lot: $18,994
Six-figure lots: 1

Photographs, Various Owners, #2106 / 14 Oct., 2008
Gross: $3,424,000
Lots offered: 256
Lots sold: 138
Sold by lot: 53%
Average per lot: $24,812
Six-figure lots: 6

Totals
Gross: $7,442,500
Lots offered: 409
Lots sold: 246
Sold by lot: 67%
Average per lot: $33,331
Six-figures: 12


SOTHEBY’S
Photographs, Various Owners, N08475 / 14 & 15 Oct., 2008
Gross: $5,666,313
Lots offered: 247
Lots sold: 170
Sold by lot: 68.8%
Six-figure lots: 12


PHILLIPS de PURY & CO.
Photographs, Various Owners, NY040508 / 16 Oct., 2008
Gross: $2,345,625
Lots offered: 225
Lots sold: 156
Sold by lot: 69.33%
Average per lot: $15,036

 

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