Issue #106  6/16/2006
Be-hold Sale Closes On June 29th, Features Marilyn Images, Photos of War & Conflict

Larry Gottheim's latest Be-hold 47 catalog/internet auction, which closes June 29th, casts a wide net in terms of type of offering, subject and price level. You can contact Larry Gottheim at behold@be-hold.com or at 1- 914-423-5806 to order a copy of the catalogue or for information on the sale.

There is a strong group of portraits of Marilyn Monroe, from the familiar "Black Sitting" by Milton Greene, printed 1978, to a rare early print in fine condition of the famous Halsman LIFE cover. There's a wonderful portrait of Marilyn against a Japanese fabric by Cecil Beaton (said to be her own favorite), and a 1962 print from the series by Lawrence Schiller of MM beside the pool, during the filming of her final project "Something's Got to Give," plus an interesting narrow portrait of Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio by Lee Lockwood.

However it may be a sign of the times that this auction features so many images of conflict and war. These start with the Civil War, including some prints from Alex Gardner's 'Sketchbook,' including an O'Sullivan that shows his photographic wagon. There are interesting images from WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Israel and Northern Ireland. Among the WWII images an important group of original images from Iwo Jima stand out. These include original wire photos, some by Joe Rosenthal. One is the original of the famous raising of the flag image. Included are some very rare "radio" photos that were sent from the battlefield to Guam where they were sent by radio transmission to San Francisco. This group has an immediacy that is missing in later art prints of this material.

Other images of conflict include two 1950s prints of some of the iconic Soviet WWII images by Dmitri Baltermants, and a moving Vietnam war image by Larry Burrow's that appeared in LIFE. There are two powerful images from the conflict in Northern Ireland by Gilles Peress. Even the signed print of Andre Kertesz's icon, "The Broken Window", refers to WWII.

There are many earlier press photographs, including a major archive of 225 vintage photographs of Mexico during the turbulent era of 1923-1940 that included revolution and social experimentation. Other social-historical photographs are by Margaret Bourke-White, Robert and Cornell Capa and others.

One can find a refuge in art. More abstract and art-oriented prints include a "Composition with Archipenko Sculpture" by Marta Hoeffner and two portraits of Albert Giacometti (by Rene Burri and Henri Cartier-Bresson). There are photographs by Weegee (with strong social content), Elliott Erwitt, Eugene Smith, Garry Winogrand, Horace Bristol, Franco Fontana, Jerry Uelsmann and others.

Offerings of 19th-century photography continue to be strong. There are 87 lots of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes. While most attention in the wide collecting community has focused on the most significant and highest-priced daguerreotypes, this is an interesting group of images at much lower price levels. It will give an opportunity for those who already collect in these areas to add to their collections, as well as serve as an easy introduction to the charms of these early images for those who have held back from getting involved.

There are interesting offerings in the other major types of 19th-century photographs, including cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards and stereo views. Of particular note is a group of "spirit" CDV's, including two by Mumler, who started this mode of representation in the U.S., and one by Fredrick A. Hudson, who started it in England (it is a portrait of his medium, inscribed by her). An object of considerable interest is a boudoir card (larger cabinet card) of the major known self-portrait of Carleton Watkins, curiously posed as a 'primitive miner.' A few examples are known as stereo views, but examples in this format are extremely scarce. At the opposite end of the size spectrum is a large 1859-60 panorama of Grenada, Spain by Louis de Clercq.

Photographs of American Indians have always been a staple of these sales, and this one includes six platinum print portraits by F. A. Rinehart and Heyn, in unusually fine condition, as well as a large hand-colored originally framed example of one of Carl Moon's signature photographs. An early 20th-century photograph of a Crow Indian naming ceremony may be the only known photograph of this type of event.

The auction includes many images that are just plain fun, that give these sales a special character even as the range of important 20th-century prints continues to expand.

This is an absentee catalog/internet auction. The auction will be held via eBay Live (hosted by LiveAuctioneers) on June 29th. Information and catalog can be found at http://www.be-hold.com . Or contact Larry Gottheim at behold@be-hold.com or at 1- 914-423-5806 to order a copy of the catalogue or for information on bidding.

All material will be available at preview in New York City at the Affinia 50 Hotel, 50th Street and 3rd Ave., on Thursday, June 22 from 3-9 p.m., all day Friday, June 23, and Saturday morning. There will be a reception on Thursday and Friday evening from 5 p.m. Material can also be seen in Yonkers, NY by appointment.