PART III: NY AUCTIONS: CHRISTIE'S REGULAR SALE HAS FIRST PHOTO LOT TO BREAK $1 MILLION; WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE PHOTO MARKET AT AUCTION? AN ANALYSIS; PLEASE VISIT US AT PARIS PHOTO NEXT WEEK; RICHARD PRINCE PHOTO SELLS FOR NEARLY $1-1/4 MILLION AND SETS NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORD; BASSENGE PHOTO AUCTION SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 7; END-OF-YEAR SALE CONTINUES ON I PHOTO CENTRAL WEBSITE; TWO NEW SPECIAL EXHIBITS GO UP ON I PHOTO CENTRAL SITE; OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
CHRISTIE'S REGULAR SALE
HAS FIRST PHOTO LOT TO
BREAK $1 MILLION MARK
It did not look like it would be a good day for Christie's. The weather was a brisk 52 degrees Fahrenheit, but what really made the day suck was the torrential rain coupled with high winds that turned umbrellas inside out with ease. After I got to Christie's completely soaking wet, I had a look around. There were only a few pioneering spirits who had made the trek to Rockefeller Center--about 35 in all as the auction began on this last day of the New York Fall photo auctions. But the low initial turnout (people kept drifting in as the auction proceeded) did not put a damper on the day's auction results. In fact, Christie's did very well indeed: $5,841,880 and 82% of the lots sold. And many records, including the highest priced lot in a photography auction, were set here. But a lot of the action came from the phone bank or from commission bids, although the room did occasionally make its presence felt. With a lot of the buying on the phone or at the podium, being in the audience didn't add a lot to your sense of drama.
All prices below include the buyer's premium. For sake of brevity, I will only report on lots above $40,000, although there were a fair amount of even low four-figure photographs in this auction, unlike most of the previous auctions this fall.
Christie's had a group of very nice Ansel Adams prints to kick off the sale, and they all did very well. Lot 2, Adams' "Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite", sold at nearly twice the low estimate at $57,600 to a phone bidder. Lot 4, a pre-intensification print of Moonrise, had been gravely underestimated at $30,000-50,000. It had a slight overmat burn on the mount, but it was a good, early print. But no outright steal here, as the print went to a phone bidder for $78,000--still a good value for this early a print.
Lot 8, a Talbot salt print of a tree, would have gone well over its estimate, but the seller pulled it from the sale. Too bad.
But the real drama of this dreary day was on lot 12, a copy of the Edward Curtis portfolios and volumes of "The North American Indian". I thought the last time it sold was at Bearne's auction in the U.K. in May 2001 for just over the equivalent of $702,000 to a group of U.K. book dealers. That set was then resold to Seattle-based Curtis dealer Lois Flury for a bit more. Curtis dealer Andrew Smith corrected me on this. Apparently two sets were sold at auction after Bearne's: one at Christies in 2002 (bought by Donald Heald and
Bill Reese) and one at Christies in December, 2004 (bought by Matthew Zucker)--both in Christie's book department. I don't generally get the Christie's book auction catalogues and the normal auction sources of information--Gordon's, etc.--also did not list these sales in their photography auction results.
The Christie's set was decent but not perfect by any means. However, complete sets are getting rather scarce. This set was estimated at a very low $400,000-600,000.
The battle lines were drawn early, as the bidding settled down to Tucson photography dealer Terry Etherton, who was bidding in the room for an institution according to my sources, and the phone, who was apparently an American collector. As the bids went up and up, the room became still. This was one of the few high dramas that really played out as such in the room. When the smoke had cleared, the phone bidder had bought the single most expensive photography lot ever to be auctioned at $1,416,000. The Met sale at Sotheby's had been preempted this honor (although they will certainly set the record for a single photograph and maybe even the first photography lot to break $2 million). And, of course, this was the top lot of this sale.
I talked over a late but very pleasant lunch with Minneapolis dealer Christopher Cardozo, who is the preeminent Curtis expert. He told me that he would have been in it to a $1 million hammer price, but that the condition of the material held him back from going higher.
Completely switching gears, lot 22, a Man Ray nude torso, sold to a phone bidder for above the estimate range at $84,000. That was good enough for tenth place on Christie's top ten list of highest priced lots.
William Eggleston finally broke through on lot 31, "Huntsville, AL". Santa Monica photo dealer Rose Shoshana ran up an American collector on the phone to $120,000 before having to retire from the field. The price put the lot into seventh place in the top ten. A commission bid by a European dealer picked up Eggleston's Southern Suite, which had been featured on the cover of the Christie's catalogue, for its low estimate of $96,000. That price put the lot into eighth place in the list of top lots at this sale.
One comment: the Thomas Struth flowers in this sale were something any amateur has in their collection of slides. This series is just plain mediocre and not worth the thousands of dollars showered on it from bidders who should know better. A name does not make a good piece of art. Stop buying signatures and start buying significant art. I think Struth does do some fine work, but this group is not a part of it.
Robert Mapplethorpe, on the other hand, does have a unique feel for flowers, even if I am not enamored of them. His "Orchid" (lot 43) sold to New York City dealer Jayne Baum for $54,000, who promptly left the room after she got the image. The phone underbid her.
New York dealers Bruce Silverstein and Peter MacGill got into a tug of war over lot 64, Robert Frank's "City Fathers--Hoboken, NJ". Silverstein took this one, but at above high estimate at $45,600.
Diane Arbus vintage prints continued to do well. Lot 70, "A Family One Evening in a Nudist Camp, PA", sold just above the low estimate at $307,200 to New York dealer Peter MacGill. That put the lot in third place in the top ten. And lot 71, "Xmas Tree in a Living Room in Levittown, L.I.", managed to get to about the midpoint in the range at $204,000. It sold to German dealers Camera Works (or it might have been just the chairman's purchase on this one) and placed fifth in the top ten highest priced lots of the sale.
Peter Lindberg's fashiony kitsch "Vogue US, Beach Los Angles" sold to the room for $42,000.
Lot 102, Nan Goldin's "Lola Modeling", was a slow motion battle between phones. They bid so agonizingly slow that you wanted to yell, "Bid already!" at them both. And the auctioneer wasn't any help on this one, even though he was the usually suave and efficient Philippe Garner. At the end Christie's only managed to milk $8,400 from the winning phone bidder. Why spend what felt like half the auction on this one, not particularly expensive, lot? It just turns off the room, and results in an auction with no life. I guess the auctioneer would argue that he is at the mercy of the bidders, but you can always hurry them along on a lot like this one. It is understandable to use this technique when the bids are $10,000 each, but hardly worth it when most of the bids are $100, or $500 each.
Irving Penn continued to bring in the bucks for Christie's. On the next two lots, "Cocoa Dress (Balenciaga)" and "Mermaid Dress (Rochas)", the same commission bidder won out over the phones at $48,000 and $78,000 respectively.
Then we had Robert Mapplethorpe's very X-rated, "X Portfolio" sell to a phone bidder for well over the high estimate at $45,600. Actually most of the Mapplethorpe's did quite well here, as he seems to be experiencing a bit of a revival.
Penn's "Two Guedras" (lot 125) sold for double high estimate as battling phones made the price soar to $72,000. An American collector on the phone bought the next lot, another Penn of "Picasso at 'La Californie', Cannes", for well below the low estimate at $90,000. That still put the lot into ninth place in Christie's top ten of the day.
"Liz (After Warhol)" by Vik Muniz (lot132) sold at its low estimate to the phone for $48,000.
The next lot was Lee Friedlander's "Galax, Virginia", a particularly strong image of a baby's head appearing on a TV set at the bottom of a wooden bed. It quickly flew above its high estimate of $30,000, and then some. The apostles (or were they two-thirds of a folksinger trio?) and fellow dealers Peter (MacGill) and Paul (Kopeiken) provided much of the action. LA dealer Kopeiken had to go to $60,000 to take this one. At that price, I sure hope it was vintage.
MacGill was back on the next lot, a vintage print of Robert Frank's "Chicago, 1956", and I tried to do battle on this one. But this time MacGill took home the prize, but at nearly double the high estimate at $57,600.
The next lot, a rather confused and murky Charles Sheeler "Buggy (Bucks County), bought in for $70,000 (plus premium). It was simply overpriced, even though it was the basis for a Sheeler drawing.
At this point there were fire alarms going off and we were all wondering whether or not we should be fleeing the building. But Garner soldiered on. It did turn out to be a false alarm that went off one additional time for good luck.
Robert Frank, who continues on a hot streak, showed well on lot 136, three "Gas Station Attendants", which sold to a phone for $72,000. Frankly, only the middle overweight guy looks anything like the characters that pump my gas (that is when I am in New Jersey, where they still have gas attendants).
Frank's "Fourth of July--Jay, New York" in a later and small print (probably the 1977 that Frank dated the print when he signed it, rather than the c.1970 that Christie's put in the description) sold to the phones for $50,400--well over the high estimate.
But leave it to Mapplethorpe to provide some excitement toward the end of the auction. Lot 141, his "American Flag", one of three produced but the only one signed and undamaged, was estimated at a strong $140,000-180,000. The phone bank blew that estimate away, more than doubling the low estimate at $352,000. That set a new world auction record for the artist and broke the one that Christie's had set just two days before. It also made the object the second highest priced piece of the auction. Oddly enough, a European collector purchased the piece.
You might think that on the next lot there would be some let down, but, no, Ansel Adams' printed-later "Aspens, Northern New Mexico" sold well over the high estimate at $48,000. It was a very nice print, but a bit expensive. An equally nice print, also printed later, of "Moonrise, Hernandez" (lot 150) sold to the phones for $60,000.
After lot 159, Paul Strand's "Mullein, Georgetown, Maine" went unsold at $48,000 (plus premium), Edward Steichen's "Lotus, Mount Kisco, NY" (printed later in the 1920s) became the eye of a hurricane of bidders. Estimated at $40,000-60,000, lot 160 soared to 2-1/2 times the high estimate, finally selling to an American dealer on the phone at $168,000. That price put the image into the sixth spot in the top ten most expensive lots of the day.
Hiroshi Sugimoto's images provided most of the rest of the auction's high-level action. Frankly, like Michael Kenna's work, while I don't find Sugimoto's images offend the eye or spirit, neither am I terribly excited by them. I am afraid that, for me at least, they are so predictable that they have become pedestrian--well-made commercial formula art that sells well. And well they did sell. Lot 166, "Sea of Japan, Hokkaido I, Summer" sold to a Japanese man on a phone for $45,600. London dealer Michael Hoppen then picked off the next two Sugimoto lots (167 and 168), also sea studies, for $57,600 and $48,000 respectively. Then Sugimoto's out-of-focus "United Nations Building" sold for the high estimate of $42,000. I have the feeling that these large editions of 25 plus artist proofs have hit close to their ceilings at these prices; but because they make safe wall presentations, they may still add a few dollars to their market value.
Edward Weston's "Pepper No.35" (lot 202) could not find any buyers even at $65,000 (estimated at $100,000-150,000). The estimate seemed too aggressive and probably scared off potential bidders. San Francisco dealer Paul Hertzmann picked up the next lot, a lovely Weston ("Wind Erosion, Dunes, Oceano"), for $48,000.
The next lot, Alfred Stieglitz's "Georgia O'Keefe" (with African Sculpture), became the focus of a donnybrook between the phone bank and collector Michael Mattis. Estimated at $100,000-150,000, Mattis had to go to $240,000 to take home this lot. It was the fourth highest price paid during this auction and the last of the major pieces.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE
PHOTO MARKET AT AUCTION?
The question that begs to be answered is: how does a print go up 275% in value (as the Edward Weston "Breast" did) in just one year? Or even, how does an image go up 300% (as the Dorothea Lange "Angel, Breadline" appeared to go up in price)? Or the many Avedons, Newtons, Arbus's, Penns, etc. that have also soared by many multiples over previous records in these auctions? Or the Richard Prince copy of a Marlboro ad that wound up selling for nearly $1-1/4 million (see story below). Obviously, the answer is: when there are two or three (or more) players with a lot of money willing to pay any price (detached from any previous price marks) for certain images.
With the stock market going sideways, some big money appears to be dropping in this little pond with the encouragement of a handful of key dealers and auction people. But this money seems focused on certain iconic and--at least some--semi-rare (but not really unique) images. One major photo dealer actually said to me that the "middle market is dead" and that he would currently rather have one $500,000 image than five $100,000 images! Imagine, if you would, that the mid-market is now considered by some as $100,000. And the auction houses seem to be supporting this notion with their new cut-offs that appear to be around $40,000. But never fear: what was a $100,000 photograph literally yesterday may be a $500,000 image today.
This same effect of a very thin group of people buying at the top could have been seen in earlier auctions with Diane Arbus' work. When there was finally a good "Twins" at auction, two billionaires decided they wanted one, and, hence, the market for Arbus was built at a new level. Before then a Twins rarely sold for over $65,000 (and I am not talking about a later-printed Selkirt, which now sells for double that amount), but immediately afterwards was selling for nearly $500,000. Other images quickly followed suit, moving up rapidly in value.
It remains to be seen if this latest spurt in late 20th-century fashion/erotica and certain other 20th-century icons will create the same coattails. Christie's expert Phillippe Garner thinks it might for a good, if simple, reason. In referring to the recent Prince record price at Christie's, Garner felt that it was "symptomatic of a significant shift across the art market to focus on the more recent past. The second part of the 20th century seems to be the hottest section of the art market at the moment. I suppose that the time is close enough that collectors can connect to it."
San Francisco collector Paul Sack and I also had an interesting email discussion about this market price phenomenon through writer Brian Appel, who was preparing a story on these photography auctions for the website ArtCritical.com. I was a bit critical and concerned about the long-term prospects of these sharp upward movements unattached to any other market variable.
Paul seemed more sanguine about this and noted how hard it is to determine whether this is a bubble or a real, lasting change in the market dynamics. He appeared to feel that a number of committed collectors with deep pockets could indeed change the market and the effect might even drop down the chain of values, as the top icons disappeared from the market. Paul noted that the supply of top images is very small and the new players may supply all the demand necessary. He pointed out that the supply of iconic trophy prints could not, by definition, expand--except in, what I had called in earlier articles, 'the edgy decorator' category, which Paul seemed to imply had the weaker underlying premise.
He also argued that even more trophy hunters will be attracted to photography from the art market, "where", as he said, "new things by this year's flash artist sell for more than photographs whose position in art history has long been established."
As I responded in my own email, I hope Paul is right, but I suspect that eventually the pyramiding by just a handful of dealers and collectors may have a sudden and expensive stop, like most such adventures. Just where in that trajectory it hits apex is still unknown, but I think we are within perhaps about two-three years of it (or one good economic downturn that affects more than the stock market). You cannot see the same images double or even quadruple in a year or less and say what is happening at the New York auctions reflects a "reasonable" market. Price increases like these are not continually supportable, and the auction market is too thin to find a lot of new buyers at this level for the market for these specific objects to be continually sustainable for long at these extreme levels. That is a "greater fool" strategy that never works long term. Only slower, sustainable growth built on a broad market can be depended on for the long term. That is what I define as "market basics".
I would rather see the dealers and auction houses try to build a broader group of buyers that can grow gradually in their purchasing power, rather than what is happening now. Some dealers would argue that this high level market has been there all along--that there have been buyers at mid-six figures and even seven figures, only buying privately. Perhaps, but the activity at that level seems to have taken a sharp upturn recently.
History is important to learn from. Market peaks are always marked by frantic buying at what some might feel are unreasonable prices. Does anyone out there recall the "Internet Stock Boom" of just a few years ago? I think any major economic indicator going the wrong way may shock this market back the other way. What goes up, can come down, which is something many in this field have felt for most of its existence was largely impossible. But as the market prices on some key pieces have climbed to stratospheric levels akin to the art market, the photography market will start to act in similar ways to its sister market. And, believe me, the art market has suffered some intense downs.
Many of the images in these auctions, and I am not talking about any specific image now, appear to be bought more for "investment", rather than love of photography. Yes, we all want our images to go up in value, but investment is not the ONLY reason most of us purchase photographs. Many of the new buyers sure look like this is the ONLY reason for their buying pattern (well, perhaps some also want to impress their friends with their purchases). Worse, they have not educated themselves about the market and are paying extremely high (some would say outrageously high) multiples, based on the fact that they must feel someone else will pay even higher multiples.
Some have suggested that photography is cheap compared to the art field. I think they are comparing it to the wrong segment. Photographs are usually a multiple print of some kind. If you compare photography to other graphic multiple prints, you will see quickly that photography is not undervalued versus its real competition in the art field.
Perhaps I am being too pessimistic and these are simply well heeled patrons of the arts, whose love of photography is matched by the largess of their purse. If that is the case, mea culpa. But I have grave concerns about how this affects the overall market. The auction houses have rushed to give up their normal role as market wholesaler and liquidity provider, and become the ultra-retail market for these new buyers, taking over that traditional role from dealers, designers and galleries, who have more and more been relegated to consultative or artist reputation-building roles--particularly at these extreme price levels. I have even recently heard of a case where an auction house attempted to contact the client directly on an after-sale, instead of working with the dealer who brought the client to the house.
All of this may eventually come back to haunt us, if the economy turns down sharply at some point. What happens to a true mid-market for instance, if the auctions are no longer taking photographs under $40,000-50,000 in value--a very real possibility and largely what happened at Sotheby's and Christie's (except for the latter's multi-owner sale, and then mostly for contemporary art pieces) this outing? What happens when dealers understand that auctions make photographers' prices? No temptation to manipulate markets there, right? The market is purely altruist and honest, right? That has never happened before in the art market, right? And what happens to a market, if the dealers who built and build it are forced out by the monolithic auction houses?
Over the course of the last year, the auctions have been rather consistently higher in price by about 10-40% than photo dealers and galleries with the same material. Of course, then the galleries often follow the upward trend of the auctions later. Pace-MacGill was one of the exceptions, having reportedly raised its prices substantially on Irving Penn earlier this year, although I suspect that Peter MacGill may go back and make a few more adjustments upward after these auctions.
If collectors are truly interested in finding key pieces at more reasonable prices, I would suggest they start by price comparing and checking dealers and past auction records. One major dealer told me he had offered the underbidder of a very expensive Irving Penn, a price substantially under the one paid at Christie's for the same exact item. When I say substantially, I mean exactly that. The underbidder turned the dealer down, saying that they were just "caught up in the auction action."
Likewise Penn's "Woman with Roses on Her Arm", which had sold to an American collector at Christie's Elfering sale for $204,000 (momentarily holding the world's auction record for Penn), sold in a virtually identical print at Sotheby's for only $81,600 to Penn dealer Peter MacGill--that is $122,400 negative difference in only two days. Or, to put it another way, the collector who bought the first print paid 2.5 times what an experienced dealer did two days later. What do you think is the right price?
Also, one of Prince's Marlboro men was bought-in at Phillips at a mere $115,000, instead of the $1,248,000 that the one at Christie's sold for. Of course, the one at Christie's was a slightly smaller edition size (3 total versus 6), but come on now!
I have told many clients that the auctions are sometimes the absolute worse place to buy, especially for the inexperienced. Prices at auction are often, if not most of the time these days, over inflated by naïve and overexcited bidding, and prices vary widely from auction to auction. Perhaps some dealers may even be occasionally contributing to this trend by encouraging what I would call "wild" bidding, so that they can get a commission on the higher hammer prices or boost prices on their own artists. It is possible. I am not saying it has happened--yet. But a dealer needs to be responsible when discussing the value of a particular lot with a client before the auction. And collectors need to know that the "at least someone was willing to pay the last increment to what I won it for" concept is quite bankrupt. The auction stops when there is only one bidder, so the next time out, the price could be considerably lower--and often is, as witness the Penn above.
In a recent phone conversation, Christie's auction expert Philippe Garner called my categorization of an "edgy decorator" market, "a little harsh in assessing the material and the motivations of the buyers," although he did temper that critique by saying, "well, maybe some of them." Garner really feels that the second half of the 20th century's fashion and magazine photography "represents a very important chapter in the history of photography," and that most of the buyers "seriously believe in the work." He also feels that having work that is "scarce but not impossible to find that satisfies a hungry segment of buyers" is good for the market. He also notes that the market for classic photography has not grown as quickly as this other market.
Perhaps Philippe is correct in his assessments. Time will tell. Personally I think much of the work currently touted will look extremely dated and very soon. One advantage of classical photography is that it has a sense of universality and timelessness to it. Not to mention that it is truly rare--not mass-produced in multiple editions of 40 or more prints, as many of the high five and six-figure images were in these auctions.
Meanwhile most of the photography market is chugging along at a reasonable growth pattern, most photography dealers and galleries look reasonably priced compared to the auctions (especially in view of condition), and more and more the auctions seem to be appealing to a smaller and smaller audience--much of it unattached to the larger photography market--but an audience that is extremely well-heeled and uncaring about price. How each affects the other may be anyone's guess at the moment, but this is clearly a moment of change in the photography marketplace.
By the way, if you want to learn more about how to get the best out of your purchases whether at auction or from dealers/galleries, you may wish to read my article on "The Insider's Guide to Buying Photographs", which you can find by clicking: http://www.iphotocentral.com/collecting/article_view.php/7/5/1
PLEASE VISIT US AT PARIS
PHOTO NEXT WEEK
I would like to invite you to visit Vintage Works' booth (G5) in the Le Notre salon in the Carrousel du Louvre when you come to Paris Photo. The show is open from November 16-20, 2005. We have taken one of the largest booths at the fair to better exhibit some of the high points of our inventory of masterwork vintage and contemporary photography.
The vintage masterworks will include images from Edward Steichen, Gustave Le Gray, Roger Fenton, August Salzmann, Man Ray, Horst, Ilse Bing, Brett Weston, Eugene Atget, Brassai, Andre Kertesz, Julia M. Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Peter Henry Emerson, Walker Evans, Louis De Clercq, Edward Curtis, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Charles Marville, Charles Negre, Eugene Piot, Edouard Boubat, Christophe Pruszkowski, Southworth & Hawes, Linnaeus Tripe, Otto Steinert, Sabine Weiss, Clarence White, Adolphe Bertsch, Laure Albin-Guillot, Robert Doisneau, Joel-Peter Witkin, Garry Winogrand, Sherill Schell, Berenice Abbott and Eduoard Baldus--just to name a few.
Among the contemporary artists that we represent and will feature at the fair are Marcus Doyle, Joel D. Levinson, Ray Bidegain and Lisa Holden.
If you do come to Paris Photo, you are invited for a glass of champagne at the booth on Friday night from 7-8:30 p.m. (19:00-20:30 for my European friends). Photographer Marcus Doyle will also be on hand on Friday and Saturday night from 5-8 p.m. to sign and inscribe copies of his new color photography art book "Night Vision: Intimacies of an Unblinking Eye". Both the softbound copies ($39.95) and the hardbound and slip-cased limited edition of 100 copies with print ($500.00) will be available at the show.
With a little luck my mobile phone for Paris will be working. The number when dialed from Paris is 0698925018. If you are calling me long distance, you must drop the first zero and add the country code "33" in front plus your country's international calls number (in the U.S. it would be 011; in Europe 00). Of course, you can also always reach my assistant director Marthe Smith at our normal number: 1-215-822-5662.
By the way, the "rioting" in Paris is not actually in Paris itself. Only one car was burned by vandals to date in Paris, but the news media has typically overreacted again. Trust me, you will have a pleasant experience in Paris during Paris Photos and "Beaujolais Nouveau" Week.
RICHARD PRINCE PHOTO SELLS
FOR NEARLY $1-1/4 MILLION AND
SETS NEW WORLD AUCTION RECORD
A Richard Prince photograph (basically a color copy print) set a new world auction record for a photograph. Untitled (Cowboy), taken from the Marlboro cigarette advertising campaign, and, according to Christie's press release, "arguably the most important and iconic example of Prince’s work" sold for $1,248,000, setting a new world record for the artist. It was also the first single photograph to sell for more than $1 million at auction, surpassing the De Prangey record of $922,000+.
The price of the Prince image matched that of several photographs that have sold privately at around this amount.
There are only three prints known of the image and one is in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I spoke with Christie's photography expert Philippe Garner about the image and the price. He told me that he was "thinking quite a lot today and trying to make sense of it. I see a photographer who has managed to probe and explore a pretty major subject that is highly individual, and with an economy of means. The pictures are not just clippings of ads, but questions about America. The irony, of course, is that at the same time he is questioning American values with his images, these images are being bought up at such market prices. It is truly a Warholian twist, which he has achieved.
"What is a great work of art? Is it about skill or technique? Most would say no. It is about the power to make an image that has reach and provokes. Prince is a worthy disciple of Marcel Duchamp. Yes, it is a different time and social context, but the similarities are there: taking the commonplace and ubiquitous and stopping people in their tracks.
"His work has undoubted relevance and we are delighted to have a record for him and to break the record for a single photograph at auction."
Garner went on to make another point about this price and its importance to the market, saying that it was "symptomatic of a significant shift across the art market to focus on the more recent past. The second part of the 20th century seems to be the hottest section of the art market at the moment. I suppose that the time is close enough that collectors can connect to it."
Christie’s evening sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Rockefeller Center totaled $157,441,600 last night, a record for any sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art worldwide, ever.
BASSENGE PHOTO AUCTION
SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 7
The Fall photography auction at Bassenge has over 400 prints from the early days of the medium through to contemporary color photography. It can be found online at: http://220.127.116.11/Bassenge/engl/Katalog.asp?SID=14696417&KAT=F
From the 19th century there are two rare large-format salt-prints by Èdouard Baldus: one showing damage in Lyons after the flooding of the Rhone River in 1856 (low estimate: 3000 euros), the other is a view of the "Viaduc de la Suize", also from 1856 (4000 euros).
There are two interesting prints by Adolphe Braun: "Tulips", 1858 (1200 euros) and "Man and Boy with Cow", 1860s (1500 euros).
A salt print by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, "Rev. Dr. James Julius Wood of Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh", 1845 is estimated at 3000 euros. Two albumen prints of armor by Charles Clifford, circa 1857 (1500 euros), as well as an image by Louis-Emile Durandelle from the series "Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris, Sculpture Ornementale", 1870s/1880s (2500 euros), are classic examples of 19th-century object photography.
Fine examples of 19th century outdoor photography include classic landscapes by Timothy O'Sullivan, "Snake River Cañon, Idaho" (1500 euros), and T.M. Brownrigg, " On a Mountain Stream. Steive Bloom Mountains" (1500 euros), as well as a cityscape by Thomas Annan "Close, No. 136 Saltmarket" (2000 euros), and the Alpine view "La crevasse (Départ)" (2500 Euros) by Auguste Rosalie Bisson.
A wide range of ethnographic material is again being offered, including an image of expeditioners on Easter Island (400 euros), a group of images showing Botocudo Indians and other natives of Brazil and Bolivia by Marc Ferrez (600 euros), two lots with images of Indians in Peru and Bolivia, 1870s (400 and 500 euros), as well as several groups of attractive portraits of people of India by Scowen and Skeen (between 400-500 euros), a group of Arabian portraits by J. Pascal Sebah (500 euros) and images of the West Indies (300 euros). Japan and China are also well represented with several albums, as well as several groups of hand-colored albumen prints, 1870s/1890s (between 300-1500 euros).
Other important 19th-century photographers being offered include: Alinari, James Anderson, Ottomar Anschütz, Samuel Bourne and Charles Shepherd, Wilhelm Hammerschmidt, Georg Koppmann, August Kotzsch, Robert MacPherson, Carl Friedrich Mylius, Robert Rive, James Robertson, Hermann O. Rückwardt, Auguste Salzmann, Giorgio Sommer, Stephen Thompson and Léon Vidal.
The selection of 20th-century prints includes Berenice Abbott's "Flatiron Building, New York", 1938/printed 1960s (5500 euros). An unusual portfolio is "Das Apokalyptische Menu" 1992 by Christian von Alvensleben containing 13 beautiful dye transfer prints (10,000 euros).
Two prints by Eugène Atget are being offered: "Hotel Cheriseau" and "Knife Sharpener", both circa 1910 (1800 euros and 1200 euros).
Ilse Bing's signed vintage print "Looking West, New York", 1936 (2800 euros) should engage New York lovers. Two rich prints by Bill Brandt: "Late Evening in the Kitchen", 1934 and "Vastèrival, Normandy", 1954--both printed in the 1950s--are estimated at 3000 and 4000 euros respectively.
There are some very beautiful prints (all printed 1960s/1970s) by Josef Breitenbach showing the various phases and genres he worked in, such as portraits of Max Ernst (2500 euros) and Josef Albers, Black Mountain College (1800 euros), nudes including "Fanny" (2500 euros), "Female nude from above" (1800 euros) and "Reclining female nude (3500 euros).
Dorothea Lange's "Women packing apricots", 1938 and "Men idling around court house square", 1939 (2000 euros and 2800 euros), Edwin Locke's "Men Sitting Around" (1500 euros), as well as Margaret Bourke-White's "Sign Post", 1938 (3500 euros), are all representative of 1930s rural America imagery.
Jacques-Henri Lartigue's beloved Renée Perle in a brown-toned silver print from 1930 is estimated at 3000 euros.
The classic image of John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono, taken in 1980 at the Dakota by Annie Leibovitz is being offered as a Cibachrome artist's proof (10,000 euros). Robert Mapplethorpe's "Elliot & Dominic", 1979 (4000 euros) is an example of his more explicit work.
There are several vintage prints by Peter Keetman: "Spiegelnde Tropfen", 1950 (2000 euros), a group of unusual abstract images Keetman took using a moving light source, 1949-1952 (3000 euros), and "Autobahn at night", 1956 (1200 euros), as well as a later print of "Munich: Auer Dult", 1965 (3200 euros).
W. Eugene Smith's night view of Pittsburgh (4000 euros) is offered in a large rich print.
The German photographer Umbo is also in the sale with an extremely rare and unusual vintage print of the musical Clown 'Grock', 1928/29 (8000 euros) "clowning around" in his dressing room, as well as a later print of "New York, Third Avenue", 1952 (750 euros).
The original negative of Yva's "Legs" is a rarity and is offered together with an original vintage print, as well as four modern prints from the negative (6000 euros).
Contemporary work by Candida Höfer: "Haus der Natur, Salzburg", 1997 (2800 euros); Thomas Struth: "Sunrise in the mountains near Kiso-Fukushima" 1987 (4000 euros); and Annelies Strba: "Sonja with Samuel-Maria", 1994 (900 euros) are all good examples of more recent color photography.
Other 20th-century photographers include Cecil Beaton, Esther Bubley, Robert Capa, Jewgeni Chaldej, Immogen Cunningham, Madame D'Ora, Frantisek Drtikol, Harold Edgerton, Hugo Erfurth, Wilhelm von Gloeden, F.C. Gundlach, Heinz Hajek-Halke, Philippe Halsman, Raoul Hausmann, Paul B. Haviland, Heinrich Heidersberger, Konrad Helbig, Fritz Henle, Lewis Hine, Ewald Hoinkis, Eikoh Hosoe, George Hurrell, Michael Kenna, André Kertész, Rudolf Koppitz, Franz Lazi, Werner Mantz, Herbert Matter, Digne Meller-Marcovicz, Duane Michals, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Erich Salomon, Jan Saudek, Christian Schad, Gundula Schulze Eldowy, Friedrich Seidenstücker, Edward Steichen, Carl Strüwe, Wolf Suschitzky, Maurice Tabard, Herbert Tobias, Carl Van Vechten, Ica Vilander, André Villers, Weegee, Brett Weston and Paul Wolff.
If you have any questions, need to order a catalogue, or need condition reports, contact the auction's expert, Jennifer Augustyniak: phone: +4930 219 97 277; fax: +4930 219 97 105; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
END-OF-YEAR SALE CONTINUES
ON I PHOTO CENTRAL WEBSITE
Newsletter readers can now see a special End-of-the-Year Holiday sale on I Photo Central brought to you by all six of the website's photography dealers. Over 1,500 images are in the sale. These items are available at special sale prices (from 20 to over 60% off the regular list price) for only a limited time, from now until December 31st. These are all final prices, so no other discounts apply. Shipping/insurance may also be added, and you will be responsible for any customs duty, sales or value-added tax.
There are some great deals, so check them out soon at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/sale/sale.php
If you want to do further sorts on the sale list, you can go to the Search Images page at http://www.iphotocentral.com/search/search.php
and put EndofYearHolidaySale1 into the key word field. Then you can also use the other search fields, such as price range, country, date range, etc. When you have all your choices made, simply hit the Search button (not the Show All Images button). When you put in the key word, you must have the capital letters in properly and no space between the words or the number "1". Also make sure you do not have any extra space after the key word. This way if you are bargain hunting, you can put in a range from $1 to $500, or if you want to focus on the top end, just put in a range from $1000 (or $5000) to No Limit.
TWO NEW SPECIAL EXHIBITS GO
UP ON I PHOTO CENTRAL SITE
Two new Special Exhibits have just gone up on the I Photo Central website.
"Krzysztof Pruszkowski: Photosynthesis" is sponsored by Vintage Works, Ltd. and features the experimental photography work of this important Polish artist.
From 1975 on Pruszkowski worked on developing a new method of photography that he called "Photosynthese". He says that the approach results in "post-conceptual art." His technique of photosynthesis lays images of subjects of a similar type on top of one another to draw attention to the relativity of generalizations and typology. He refuses to use digital techniques in his photosyntheses, claiming that a manual composition of the pictures is more transparent and intellectually more meaningful.
You can see this Special Exhibit at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/showcase/showcase_view.php/75/1/0
"Lisa Holden: Victorial Dreamscapes and the New Technology" is also sponsored by Vintage Works, Ltd.
Lisa Holden is a British-born artist based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She combines digital imagery with hand-painted layers to create 'parallel realities', referring to the exploration of displacement, adoption and the reinvention of identity as a necessity for survival. These are large scale color work, often with unique handpainting and varnishing.
You can see this Special Exhibit at: http://www.iphotocentral.com/showcase/showcase_view.php/81/1/0
You can see these exhibits, along with 46 others at:
We have also continued to change images and add to our essays for all our Special Exhibits, so they are worth another peek, especially if you have not looked lately. In addition, over 70 new images have been added in just the last month to the I Photo Central website.
OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
BARBARA McCANDLESS, curator at the AMON CARTER MUSEUM in Fort Worth, TX, has passed away at age 56 at a local hospital following a lengthy illness. McCandless began as assistant curator of photographs in 1988 and was named curator of photographic collections in 1992. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The museum has established the Barbara McCandless Photography Fund in her honor. Proceeds will be used to acquire works along her lines of interest. McCandless organized a number of photography shows during her time at the museum, including "New York to Hollywood: Photographs by Karl Struss," "Imagining the Open Range: Erwin E. Smith, Cowboy Photographer" and "The Inner Spirit: Art of the American Avant-Garde, 1907-1920." She co-authored Photography in Nineteenth Century America (1991), An American Collection: Works From the Amon Carter Museum (2001) and Celebrating America: Masterworks From Texas Collections (2002). A memorial service is being planned.
DR. WILLIAM EHRENFELD passed away recently after a long bout with a serious nerve disease. Dr. Erhrenfeld, professor emeritus of vascular surgery of the University of California, had focused on India for decades. His vast collection of Indian art and photographs of India was one of the finest in private hands. Part of this large 19th-century Indian photography collection was exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art (Legion of Honor) in 2003-2004. Entitled "Reverie and Reality: 19th-century Photographs of India from the Erhrenfeld Collection, the 115 image selection was also featured in a major catalogue of the same name (see: http://www.iphotocentral.com/news/article_view.php/74/69/357/Ehrenfeld
for a review of this book). The catalogue won several major awards for excellence. Some of his collection was recently auctioned at Sotheby's London. Ironically, Bill had told me when he put the images up at auction that he had outlived his negative prognosis and so needed to raise some funds. Bill was a client and a good friend. Garrulous and generous at the same time, he will be missed by the many in the photography arena who knew him...
OKWUI ENWEZOR has joined the staff at New York City's INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY as adjunct curator. Enwezor, dean of academic affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute, was artistic director of Documenta 11 in 2002 and will serve as artistic director of the second (2006) Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville…
FAY GOLD GALLERY celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. The Atlanta, GA gallery will commemorate its anniversary with a multi-artist blockbuster exhibition...
In response to the devastation of HURRICANE KATRINA, an on-line fine art auction is being organized by CHEIM & READ GALLERY, Christian Patterson of the EGGLESTON ARTISTIC TRUST, and LIVET REICHARD COMPANY, INC. The auction will be on eBay, through the "eBay Giving Works" program, and no commissions or eBay fees will be charged in the sale of donated works. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be distributed by PROJECT HEAL (Help Employ Artists Locally) of the Acadiana Arts Council. All funds raised will be designated to help New Orleans area artists and non-profit arts organizations in immediate need of financial assistance as a result of damages sustained from Hurricane Katrina. The auction will close on Tuesday, November 15, 2005. To bid on items, click on http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZprojectheal
or visit eBay.com and search for "Katrina Art Auction."