Issue #204  7/1/2014
Christie's Special Ansel Adams Auction Brings in $2.15 million

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Christie's began their auction on April 3 with a sale they titled "The Range of Light: Photographs by Ansel Adams" that consisted of 25 lots. Although they didn't break their top ten lots out separately between their two catalogues, Adams pictures took the top three spots.

The sale began with a Moonrise, Hernandez, Northern New Mexico, 1941, printed 1973, that went at low estimate to the phones at $62,500. Then a British gallery bought four lots, all mural prints, and all in a row: Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California, 1941, for $545,000 (the top lot in the sale); Clouds, Yosemite Valley, 1945, at $365,000, third place; and Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite Valley, California, 1939, at $533,000, second place (the consignors of this picture were sitting in front of me and were quite pleased with the return on their investment, which had been purchased in 1982); and Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958, for $106,250, tenth place on the top ten.

El Capitan, Merced River, Yosemite Valley, 1948, went to the phones at $100,000. And our British buyer claimed Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word in Memory of Russell Varian at $68,750.

The sale totaled $2,144,875 (with our British buyer accounting for $1,511,750, or 70% of the total!) with only three lots failing to sell, a 12% buy-in rate, a bit under $100,000 per lot sold.

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/.