Issue #146  7/24/2008
Sotheby's April 8th Sale of "Edward Weston's Gifts to His Sister" and Other Photographs Brings in $1.5+ Million

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Sotheby's continued on April 8 with a sale of Edward Weston's Gifts to His Sister and Other Photographs--more than 40 photographs by Edward Weston and nine photographs by his son Brett, all of which had remained with descendants of the Weston family since their making--which achieved $1,530,375 on an estimate of $900,000–$1.4 million. While the best pieces did well and the buy-in rate was only 6%, almost as many lots sold for below their low estimates as above their high estimates (15 to 17).

The top lot was Nude on the Sand, Oceano, which sold for $325,000 ($120,000–$180,000) to a phone bidder. Other top prices were achieved for Dunes, Oceano, which went for $181,000 ($120,000–$180,000), to another phone, and Bananas, which was picked by a European collector on the phone for $85,000 ($80,000–$120,000). A number of rarely-seen Edward Weston photographs from his Guggenheim fellowships and his Leaves of Grass project were offered, setting new benchmarks for this work, including $44,200 for Grand Cañon of the Colorado ($20,000–$30,000), $55,000 for a study of Connecticut Barns ($20,000–$30,000), and $37,000 for Gulf Oil, Port Arthur ($12,000–$18,000), which was bought by San Francisco dealer Michael Shapiro. Brett Weston's Dune, Oceano, was also among the top lots, bringing $44,200 ($20,000–$30,000). Edward Weston's Dunes at Oceano, 1936 ($25,000–$35,000) just topped that at $46,600, going to Connecticut dealer William Schaeffer.

A phone bidder outprayed Paul Hertzmann for Edward Weston's Church, Motherlode (Church Door, Hornitos), circa 1940 ($40,000–$60,000) at $61,000. N. Coast (Wrecked Car, Crescent Beach), 1938 ($20,000–$30,000) clattered to $49,000.

Mark Zaplin, of the Zaplin Lampert Gallery of Santa Fe, bidding on the phone, paid $37,000 ($20,000–$30,000) for Taos Pueblo, circa 1933. And an anonymous phone bidder equaled that for Death Valley, 1937 ($15,000–$25,000).

There was a wide range of other successful bidders in the room, including dealers and collectors Mack Lee, Paul Hertzmann, Scott Nichols, Richard Moore, Michael Mattis, Kenneth Wynn, Jack Hastings and Zelda Cheatle.

(Copyright ©2008 by The Photograph Collector.)

My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use this information. The Photograph Collector, which is a wonderful newsletter that I can heartily recommend, is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95. You can phone 1-215-891-0214 and charge your subscription or send a check or money order to: The Photograph Collector, 140 East Richardson Ave, Langhorne, PA 19047. Or to order The Photograph Collector Newsletter online, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/wordpressindex/shop/.