BOOSTED BY REFCO IMAGES, CHRISTIE'S TAKE IS NEARLY $7.5 MILLION WITH ONLY 12% BUY-IN RATE; SPRING SALE COMING TO A CLOSE ON I PHOTO CENTRAL; BE-HOLD SALE CLOSES ON JUNE 29TH, FEATURES MARILYN IMAGES, PHOTOS OF WAR & CONFLICT; PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS AND CATALOGUES
BOOSTED BY REFCO IMAGES, CHRISTIE'S TAKE IS
NEARLY $7.5 MILLION WITH ONLY 12% BUY-IN RATE
By Stephen Perloff, Editor
The Photograph Collector
Christie's evening sale on April 24 started off with a bang and didn't let up. (The top ten all appeared in the evening sale.) Irving Penn's "Lavender Glory Poppy" ($30,000-$50,000, from an edition of 21) was plucked by a phone bidder for $108,000. Art consultant Turid Meeker added Robert Mapplethorpe's "Parrot Tulip in Black Vase" ($30,000-$50,000) to her bouquet at $72,000. The catalogue for the evening sale was very cleverly sequenced, with pairings on facing pages of similar subject matter (as here) or related formal elements.
The next two pages of the catalogue featured older men: Robert Frank's "Jehovah's Witness" ($20,000-$30,000), who proselytized Peter MacGill out of $78,000, and William Eggleston's "Morton, MS" (the man with a gun on a bed) ($40,000-$60,000), which commanded $72,000 from a phone bidder. Already we can see that the estimates were irrelevant, and while they were somewhat low, they were still often exceeded by healthy margins.
Adam Fuss's Untitled (Dress), a delicate photogram ($30,000-$40,000), went at its low estimate of $36,000 (estimates, of course, do not include the premium) to collector Jack Hastings. Its pair, Robert Frank's Café--Beaufort, South Carolina, the baby and the jukebox with grillwork much like the lacework on Fuss's dress ($30,000-$50,000) danced to its high estimate, $60,000.
A phone bidder dove in for Roni Horn's Still Water ($2,000-$28,000) at $48,000. An order bidder went just over the low estimate at $38,400 for Ansel Adam's Moonrise. Next up were a pair of Irving Penn images. Father and Son with Eggs, Cuzco ($25,000-$35,000) brought $62,400 from the phone. And Jack Hastings came back for "Cuzco Town Photographer with Barefoot Girl" at $42,000 on the same estimate.
At this point--after the first dozen lots had sold--I turned to dealer and appraiser Sarah Morthland, who was sitting next to me, and said, "That's a higher total than Swann used to get for a 300 lot sale just a few years ago." And we hadn't even gotten to any of the top ten yet.
Two Penn still lifes were next. "Frozen Foods", a dye transfer print ($30,000-$40,000, edition of 33), melted the heart--or at least the wallet--of yet a different phone bidder at $60,000. Then another new phone bidder smoked the field for the four-part "Cigarette #69" ($50,000-$70,000) at $144,000, good for fourth place.
Andy Warhol's "Top Gun" ($15,000-$20,000), four prints of an airplane wing stitched together, flew to $43,200. Richard Avedon's important series of 20 prints mounted on newsprint, "The Family" ($40,000-$60,000), was adopted by a phone bidder who outlasted dealer Jeffrey Fraenkel at $228,000, second place on the top ten.
Hiroshi Sugimoto's Yasser Arafat ($40,000-$60,000) found no peace, as it passed. But Peter MacGill snared Diane Arbus's Boy with a straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade, N.Y.C., 1967 ($70,000-$90,000) at $120,000, eighth place.
Ute Hartjen of Germany's Camera Work set a world auction record for William Klein at $144,000 for a possibly unique large exhibition print of Klein's Smoke and Veil, Paris, 1958 (Vogue) ($40,000-$60,000), tied for fourth place. A phone bidder won Horst P. Horst's American Nude ($40,000-$60,000) at $90,000.
Another phone bidder danced off with Mapplethorpe's Thomas and Dovanna, a platinum print on linen with silk panels at the low estimate, $120,000, tied for tenth place. London gallerist Michael Hoppen went to $50,400, over high estimate, for Avedon's Dovima and Elephants. And a phone bidder hopped to $57,600 for Helmut Newton's Elsa Peretti as a Bunny ($25,000-$35,000). That same phone bidder came back for the next lot, David Bailey's stark portrait of Lennon & McCartney ($25,000-$35,000) at $57,600.
Robert Frank's diptych London ($15,000-$25,000) proved as expensive as the city itself as it soared to $50,400. A vintage print of Imogen Cunningham's "Magnolia Blossom", seemingly with some condition issues, brought $120,000 from an order bidder. That tied for tenth place. A phone bidder won the third highest lot of the sale, Robert Mapplethorpe's Photo Screen, at $204,000, below the low estimate. Three very silvery prints by Mapplethorpe of Lydia went just over high estimate at $74,400.
William Eggleston's Untitled (Peaches) ripened at $90,000, well over high estimate. Howard Read of Cheim & Read, cleaned up Eggleston's "Memphis", showing the inside of an oven, at $42,000. That image was cleverly paired in the catalogue with Penn's "Three Women of Rissani" ($25,000-$35,000), one of whom is holding several large pieces of flat bread. That print tied for tenth place at $120,000. Penn's "After Dinner Games" played out at $84,000.
And then Peter MacGill, bidding for a client with whom he was consulting on a cell phone, set a world auction record for Penn for "Harlequin Dress" (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), doubling the high estimate at $352,000. The print is one from an edition of 30. Howard Greenberg needed to go only 20% over the high estimate to buy Penn's "Woman with Roses" at $72,000.
Two different Mapplethorpe prints of a Calla Lily sold for $78,000 and $57,600 respectively.
Stephan Loewentheil of The 19th Century Shop in Baltimore, paid $144,000 (tied for fourth) for a complete set of Camera Work. A couple of dealers thought he had somewhat overpaid, given some condition problems, but how many complete sets are available?
A phone bidder bested collector Gary Wolkowitz at $138,000 (seventh place) for Arbus's "A young waitress at a nudist camp, N.J., 1963". The print had some foxing and a crease.
Turid Meeker went high fashion as she took Helmut Newton's Sylvia in My Studio, Paris at $48,000 and Peter Lindbergh's Christy Turlington at $90,000, the latter two-and-a-half times over estimate.
Lastly, a Neil Selkirk print of Arbus's Junior Interstate Ballroom Dance Champions ($20,000-$30,000) waltzed to $54,000. Fifty-seven lots, 6 passes, around $4 million in sales. Not a bad night.
The next morning began with a no-reserve sale of about 180 lots from the Refco Collection of contemporary photography. While many of the lots sold, others got little bidding, and bidders clued into the fact that if they waited, the auctioneer would drop the opening bid of, say, $1,000, down to $200. The auctioneer claimed that there was an order bid for that amount, but we suspect it was just Christie's guarantee. The result of this is that while the bidding might eventually reach several thousand dollars, it took a lot longer--A LOT LONGER--to get there. And yet there was sufficient interest that Christie's phone bank was staffed by 22 people, perhaps a record for a photo sale. Also, those phone bidders lost out by not being in the room. Several times they jumped in at the opening bid, whereas if they had been in the room they might have waited for the opening bid to drop.
There is not much to report. An untitled work showing an aerial view of a city by Naoya Hatakeyama (48 color prints mounted on aluminum) ($10,000-$15,000) flew to $72,000. Peter MacGill put together a bid of $42,000 for Robert Frank's "Assembly Line--Detroit". Five bidders, including Rose Shoshana, fought over Bill Owen's complete set of 177 prints of Suburbia, but it eventually went to an order bidder for $90,000, just below the high estimate.
Two Untitled pictures by Cindy Sherman, #116 and #112, went to the same phone bidder for $45,600 and $57,600 respectively. Penn's portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe standing in his famous corner, brought $44,400.
Peter MacGill usually hosts a lunch for dealers and collectors at his gallery the day of Christie's auction. But while that lunch was going on he had to stay until the end of the very late morning session to bid on an oversized print of Joel Sternfeld's "McLean, Virginia" for a client--or actually, for the brother of a client, as he related. Bidding flamed by the $30,000 upper estimate and MacGill's client finally got it for $96,000.
All told, the Refco Collection garnered $1.9 million and only four lots "sold" for the minimum $200. But the morning session did not end until 1:42 p.m., with the afternoon session slated to begin at 2 p.m. There were just too many lots. At least Christie's delayed the afternoon start until 2:15 p.m.
The afternoon began with a phone bank of only nine, a vast change from the morning. But prices were strong, even lacking any high-end material. Eggleston's "Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, January 1970" brought just over high estimate at $42,000. An Adams Moonrise passed. Ute Hartjen took Larry Fink's 82 Photographs 1974-1982 (Social Graces) at the low estimate, $48,000.
Alex Novak of Vintage Works seduced Irving Penn's "Girl in Bed" ($20,000-$30,000) with a bid of $54,000. And closing the sale, lot 414, Martin Schoeller's large, seductive color print of Angelina Jolie almost tripled its high estimate at $24,000.
When this marathon finally came to its grueling conclusion, Christie's had amassed $7,471,480 with a buy-in rate of only 12%. Yowser!
(Copyright ©2006 by The Photo Review. 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 (overseas airmail is $169.95). 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.)
SALE COMING TO A CLOSE ON I PHOTO CENTRAL
Please visit the Special Spring Clearance sale on I Photo Central, which is brought to you by our photography dealers. 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 only June 21st. Many of the items regular list prices were reduced earlier by over 20%, so the actual net reductions may be well over 40% to 80% in many instances. These are all final prices, so no other discounts apply. Shipping/insurance may also be added. After June 21st prices will revert on these items to the original list price.
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 SpringClearanceSale2 into the key word field. Then you can also use the other search fields, such as price range, country, 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 $1,000 (or $2,500 or $5,000) to No Limit.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.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.
PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS AND CATALOGUES
By Matt Damsker
AUGUST SALZMANN/LUCIEN HERVE/JAMES CASEBERE: DU MINIMAL DANS LA PHOTO D'ARCHITECTURES DES ORIGINES A NOS JOURS.
Exhibition catalogue, published by Galerie 54, 54 Rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris. ISBN No. 2-909726-02-9. 63 pages; approximately 40 plates. Phone: +33 1 43 26 89 96; fax: +33 1 43 29 36 39; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chronicling an exhibition earlier this year at Paris's Galerie 54, this handsome and well-documented catalogue offers a first-rate armchair excursion with three important and complementary photographers from three periods. In each case, the subject is architecture--or, more accurately, man-made form explored in all its detail, geometric complexity, and atmospheric richness. These three artists take different approaches, but share a commitment to the stark representation of architecture's elemental power.
Auguste Salzmann was one of photography's pioneers, of course, and his views of Jerusalem circa 1854 confront the ancient world by way of temple ruins and the dense, weathered detailing of the stone surfaces in which we can read the textural evidence of the past. Salzmann's full-frontal details of the temple walls herald photographic modernism and abstraction, while his shadowed studies of archways and gates are careful available-light portraits. A hundred years later, Lucien Herve brought a similar rigor to his studies of Le Corbusier's iconic architectural modernism, with its emphasis on supporting columns, rough concrete, glass walls, and shading screens. At the same time, he observed the chimneys, fireplaces, and graffiti of Paris in all their charm.
Finally, the 21st-century is represented by James Casebere's theatrical experiments and digital chromogenic prints. Casebere builds tabletop models of anonymous architectural spaces--arched tunnels, monastic cells, corridors--and photographs them with evocative yet subtly staged lighting, sometimes flooding the passages with water. The result is dreamlike and timeless in its depiction of spaces and places that are at once austere and beautifully crafted, always on their own minimal terms. His work is the postmodern destination, it seems, of Salzmann's trailblazing and Herve's disciplined wanderings.
CATALOGUES IN BRIEF
"EIGHTY YEARS--EIGHTY VOLUMES 1854-1934" is the second collaborative effort by Paul M. Hertzmann Inc. (email: email@example.com
) and Margolis & Moss (email: firstname.lastname@example.org
), showcasing published books illustrated with original photographs and photographic albums created around a specific theme or locale. They illustrate the development of the major 19th-century processes: salt print, albumen, cyanotype, platinum, and silver. The books represent 35 countries and range widely, from albums of Armenian Catholic Monks in Venice to photos of Rembrandt etchings, rural Russian views from Mordovia, Peru's Southern railroad, private tour albums of Cuba and Mexico, the California canning industry, and much more arcana.
Paul M Hertzmann Inc. also collaborates with the Michael Dawson Gallery of Los Angeles (on the web at http://www.michaeldawsongallery.com
) for "THE BEAR VALLEY IRRIGATION COMPANY ALBUM" of Southern California landscape photographs by Herve Friend from 1891. Friend's images of the Bear Valley reservoir in Redlands are the only know mammoth plate photos to be made in Southern California in the last decade of the 19th century, detailing how the transfer of water from its distant sources to the arid San Bernardino Valley caused the desert not only to bloom but brought about the vastly habitable modern landscape of Southern California.
"CATALOGUE 33" from Old Japan, the Surrey, U.K.-based purveyor of old and rare photography, offers beautifully reproduced samplings of more than 70 sets and albums of vintage Japanese images from many of the key studios of late 1800s—including Uchida Kuichi, Kusakabe Kimbei, Ogawa Kazumasa, and Felix Beato. These images, many hand-colored, along with numerous cartes-de-visite, portray Japanese iconography that ranges from Sumurai warriors to domestic portraiture, landscape, and city views. Contact by email: email@example.com
, or at the website, http://www.old-japan.co.uk
Two recent catalogues from the Vintage Galeria Budapest (email: firstname.lastname@example.org
, or on the web at http://www.vintage.hu
) chronicle the black-and-white dynamism and gravitas of Hungarian photography of the first half of the 20th century. "MODERN HUNGARIAN PHOTOGRAPHY" features 49 plates, including urban and rural images that span eastern European modernism, from Tibor Csorgeo's elegant explorations of human and architectural form, to Geza Gellert's and Istvan Hanga's experiments with shadow, Kata Sugar's affectionate peasant portraits, and the noble nudes of Angelo, Alajos Martsa, and Denes Ronai.
"HISTORY IN PHOTOGRAPHS--FROM THE PESTI NAPLO ARCHIVES" captures the heyday of Hungary's illustrated journalism, with 65 photos from the Sunday supplement of the Pesti Naplo, a broadsheet launched in 1925. Many of the photos are by Karoly Escher--famed shots such as a priest playing tennis, from 1930, and the contrasting images of the elite at dress balls and charity concerts while the poor masses scavenge for sustenance in the bleak hills. Other photos, mostly from unknown photographers, depict the "wonders" of the modern age, from giant hair dryers to gas masks, and--always--the people who brought hope and dynamism to this briefly innocent period between the great wars.
Matt Damsker is an author and critic, who has written about photography and the arts for the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Philadelphia Bulletin, Rolling Stone magazine and other publications. His book, "Rock Voices", was published in 1981 by St. Martin's Press. His essay in the book, "Marcus Doyle: Night Vision" was published this past November.
(Book publishers, authors and photography galleries/dealers may send review copies to us at: I Photo Central, 258 Inverness Circle, Chalfont, PA 18914. We do not guarantee that we will review all books or catalogues that we receive.)