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Current News             Issue Archive             Article Archive E-Photo Newsletter   Issue 147   8/4/2008

Phillips Single-Owner Sales Hit Some Bumps

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

After the successful Sotheby's spring sales, Phillips de Pury, on the other hand, suffered one setback after another. Its highly touted sale of Diane Arbus photographs of Hubert's Museum--a Times Square freak show and flea circus--scheduled for the evening of April 8 was pulled at the last minute. The work was consigned by Philadelphia book dealer Robert Langmuir, who had bought it from Bayo Ogunsanya, a Brooklyn collector of African-Americana, who had himself originally purchased the material from a sale of unclaimed items from a Bronx storage facility in 2002. Langmuir first purchased a few photographs and other material from Ogunsanya in 2003, found Arbus's hand-written address and phone number in a notebook, did some research and realized the historic value of the material. He went back and convinced Ogunsanya to sell him the rest of the photographs and archive for $3,500.

Ogunsanya is now suing Langmuir, claiming he was duped into selling the photographs for a fraction of their value. The suit relies heavily on a supposed verbal promise by Langmuir to give Ogunsanya additional compensation if the photographs turned out to be worth more than the $3,500 he paid. (The whole story of the find, of Langmuir's battle with depression and drinking--and his salvation, one might say--as well as the machinations of the dark side of the art world, in Langmuir's dealings with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Arbus estate, among others, is brilliantly told in Gregory Gibson's recent book, Hubert's Freaks: The Rare-Book Dealer, the Times Square Talker, and the Lost Photos of Diane Arbus (Harcourt Publishers, 2008, $24.00).

Online, Ogunsanya has many detractors, allegedly for his record of shady dealings. No doubt he has seller's remorse for not doing the research that Langmuir did. And we all know the old saw: "A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on." Certainly some states have laws enforcing verbal agreements where there is proof, like corroborating witnesses. Otherwise, as in this case, it's just a matter of he said-he said. Langmuir's lawyers have called the suit "frivolous." I'm not sure there is much merit to the argument that there should be compensation in a private transaction between an ignorant seller and an informed buyer.

While the New York Times reported the sale was pulled because of the lawsuit, this appears to be incorrect. Phillips is not named in the suit nor was there any court order to stop the sale. Phillips claimed the entire collection was in the process of being sold to a single buyer (an outcome that may yet come to pass, but has not of this writing), but a more likely explanation was that there was little to no interest in the pictures at the over-inflated estimates Phillips was asking ($20,000$30,000 to $80,000$120,000). There are a handful of interesting pictures that show the beginnings of Arbus's mature style, but most of the works are snapshots, or incunabula at best, and many have condition problems.

Lastly, word is that Phillips guaranteed this sale, though no firm figure has been mentioned. That would be yet another blow to Phillips's bottom line, if it proved to be true.

Phillips also took a flyer on the collection of Corbeau and Renard assembled by Gerd Sander. The sale was brokered by Prischka Pasquer, who reportedly secured a $10 million guarantee for Sander. Why Phillips, which had been carving out a niche for itself with contemporary work, thought they could sell the early and modernist European work here, when it is a stretch often even at Sotheby's and Christie's, is a mystery.

Only five of the first 23 lots sold before the Werner Mantz portfolio 10 Photographien brought its high estimate of $37,000. August Sander's Painter Heinrich Hoerle, 1928 ($150,000$250,000) was the most important lot on offer. Although it hammered below its low estimate at $130,000--$157,000 with premium--it was the top lot of the sale. It sold to a phone bidder, who turned out to be collector Michael Mattis, stuck in traffic before he could finally get to the sale. But two other Sanders passed, one at less than one-third of its low estimate. And the Wols portfolio, Photograms ($100,000$150,000), passed at $78,000.

Hans Bellmer's Komposition ($40,000$60,000) brought $46,600 from the phone, but a hand-colored image from Les Jeux de la poupée passed. The abstract Paris II by Jaroslav Rössler doubled its high estimate at $29,800, and Rössler's Abstract Komposition ($10,000$15,000) sold for a healthy $44,200 to Parker Stevenson.

A phone bidder bested Robert Koch for Josef Sudek's pigment print, Glass and Egg ($30,000$50,000), at $79,000, then held out over Howard Greenberg, Ute Hartjen, and Koch for Sudek's White rosebud ($10,000$15,000) at $35,800.

Two Drtikols, Torso and Composition, both sold below low estimate, at $67,000 and $41,800 respectively. Philadelphia collector Fred Denenberg snagged Drtikol's Nude Study, Prague at $32,200. Robert Koch finally snared a prize as he almost doubled the high estimate for Jaromír Funke's Light Abstraction at $67,000. And lastly, a phone bidder almost doubled the high estimate for Lisette Model's First Reflection, NYC at $35,800. The sale totaled $1,529,850 with a buy-in rate over 50%. The rest of the collection was sold in London at Phillips's new auction facilities a month later.

(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 (overseas airmail is $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Phillips Various Owner Sale Hit Just Under $1-3/4 Million With High 37.3% Buy-in Rate

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Phillips's various owners sale got off to a good start as a phone bidder paid $46,600--two-and-a-half times the high estimate--for Andreas Feininger's The Photojournalist (Dennis Stock). Another phone bidder went to the high estimate--$181,000--on a vintage print of Arbus's Child with a toy hand grenade, but the print was clearly stained.

The portfolio Avedon/Paris ($150,000$200,000) passed at $120,000. But Peter Beard's Giraffes in mirage on the Taru Desert, Kenya, more than doubled its high estimate at $325,000, by far the highest price of the day.

Vik Muniz's diptych, The Raft of Medusa from Pictures of Chocolate, sailed to $103,000, just over the low estimate, and his Sigmund doubled its low estimate at $63,400. Two Hiroshi Sugimoto's passed: Salvador Dali ($150,000$250,000) at $85,000 and Bay of Sagami ($400,000$600,000) at $280,000. The estimates were obviously too aggressive.

The bid for the cover lot--Chuck Close's Kate Moss, six digital inkjet prints comprising nine images, 2003/2005--was a little thin at $121,000, under the low estimate. Lastly, Thomas Ruff's Nude Vol 18 hit its low estimate at $61,000.

The sale totaled $1,739,550 with a worrisome 37.3% buy-in rate. Only six lots sold in the room.

Thus the total for the two sales was $3,269,400. That's a long way down from the $10 million sale Phillips had before they fired Rick Wester and Lisa Newlin Galeano, but still respectable.

(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 (overseas airmail is $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Christie's Photo Book Sale Big Success:Brings in $2,602,450 With Only 8% Buy-Ins

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Christie's kicked off the first of their five sales with Fine Photobooks from an Important Private Collection. We can reveal the name of the collector: Richard Fray, a real estate developer who amassed this impressive collection in just the last few years. Arguably the finest collection of its kind offered at auction to date, this sale realized $2,602,450 against an estimate of $1.5$2.2 million. Almost without exception, every book in this collection was distinguished by superb condition and provenance. Most of the books offered were signed or inscribed by the photographers, linking some of the key figures of 20th-century photography. Highlights included Jindrich Styrsky, Emilie prichazi ka mne ve snu, (Emily Comes to Me in a Dream), 1933 ($60,000$90,000), which sold for $193,000 and A complete set of artist's books, 19631978 by Ed Ruscha, ($60,000$90,000), which sold for $121,000, both to the same dealer on the phone. Hans Bellmer's Les jeux de la poupée (The Games of the Doll), 1949 ($60,000$90,000), sold for $115,000 to Parker Stevenson over Harper Levine, the latter a frequent buyer at this sale. Stevenson also took Bellmer's La Poupée, 1936, at the low estimate, $73,000, over surrealist dealer Adam Boxer.

Roger Parry's Banalité went to 1739--an active phone bidder at this sale--for $67,000. El Lissitzky's Industriia Sotsializma, 1935 ($20,000$25,000) produced a bid of $79,000, with Harper Levine the underbidder. Levine came back to win Georges Hugnet's La Septième face du dé (The Die's Seventh Face), 1936, for $49,000.

Weegee's Naked City brought two-and-a-half times its high estimate at $37,000. Robert Frank's The Americans, a first American edition in fine condition, brought $32,200.

Harper Levine paid $85,000, almost double the high estimate for Emmet Gowin's rare Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself, 1965, with 14 silver prints. Provoke 1, 2, and 3, the most important publication of the Japanese avant-garde, almost doubled its high estimate at $43,000.

1739 grabbed William Eggleston's Morals of Vision ($28,000$35,000) for $58,600 and Richard Prince's Adult Comedy Action Drama claimed the same price.

The sale totaled $2,602,450 with a meager 8% buy-in rate. Sven Becker, specialist in charge of the sale, said, "Our inaugural auction in New York in the hotly-collected field of photo books saw highly competitive bidding from determined American and international buyers in a busy room and on numerous phones. The enthusiastic support of photograph collectors and the strong results reflect a deepening appreciation of photo books as not only reference, but as significant works of art in their own right."

(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 (overseas airmail is $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Christie's Elfering Sale Totals $4,373,200; Nude of Carla Bruni, Sarkozy's Wife, Draws Heavy Media Attention and Silly Bid

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Gert Elfering, the founder of Berlin's Camera Work Gallery, began as a photographer and became an established collector and tastemaker, promoting interest in fashion, beauty, and high-style photography. The first sale of images from his collection at Christie's in 2005 and the second sale of images by Horst last year were both highly successful. This third sale comprised images he had originally held back for himself.

Christie's saleroom was standing room only while a bank of TV cameras from European media outlets lined the wall at the rear of the room. Richard Avedon's Lauren Hutton, Great Exuma, the Bahamas, October 1968, a gelatin silver print, flush-mounted on linen, printed 1980 ($50,000$70,000) sold for $127,000 to an American collector on the phone (eighth place). Helmut Newton's Tied-up Torso, Ramatuelle, 1980 ($60,000$80,000) was freed by an order bidder at $109,000 (ninth place).

Ute Hartjen, representing the current owners of Camera Work, paid $181,000 for Richard Avedon's vibrant portrait of Brigitte Bardot, 1959 ($80,000$120,000), number four on the top ten. Avedon's Marella Agnelli ($40,000$60,000) brought $85,000 from the phones.

An online bidder grabbed Helmut Newton's color print Domestic Nude IX, Redhead, Los Angeles, 1992 ($30,000$50,000) for $73,000. A platinum print on silk of Horst's Round the Clock ($30,000$50,000) sold to the phones for $97,000. Another phone bidder won Thomas Ruff's Nude #194 ($40,000$60,000) at $79,000.

Then came the lot that the media in the back were waiting for: Michel Comte's nude of Carla Bruni, 1993, which was not unrealistically estimated at $3,000$4,000, given Comte's status in the market when this picture was consigned. However, Bruni had recently married Nicolas Sarkozy, the new president of France, and Christie's had slogged this print brilliantly in Europe. It was hard to keep track of how many phones were bidding, but it was a lot. I've never witnessed an audience laugh throughout the bidding on a lot as they did here as the price went up and up beyond any value but ego. At the end an Asian man in the room cast the winning bid of $91,000 and was immediately surrounded by the media. He claimed he was bidding on behalf of a Chinese collector.

Elfering had originally offered to donate the proceeds of the sale of this picture to Fondation Kantha Bopha, a children's hospital project in Cambodia, but the director refused to accept money from the sale. The proceeds will now go to Sodis, which provides drinking water in poor countries. Beat Richner, the founder of Kantha Bopha, said taking money from the sale of an image of this type would "trivialize the institution of Kantha Bopha, and some regular donors may begin to wonder." I hope those regular donors come up with that extra $70,000 or so that the charity would have received.

A phone bidder paid $97,000 for Irving Penn's Kate Moss ($30,000$40,000). Helmut Newton's Elsa Peretti in a Bunny costume by Halston ($40,000$60,000) hopped to another phone bidder for $79,000. Irving Penn's Frozen Foods, New York, 1977, a dye-transfer print ($50,000$70,000) claimed tenth place, as it sold to a European collector on the phone for $103,000.

Horst's Mainbocher Corset, Paris, 1939, platinum on silk ($30,000$50,000) tied for sixth place at $133,000 with Irving Penn's Picasso (B), Cannes, 1957, platinum-palladium print, flush-mounted on aluminum ($60,000$80,000), which went to French dealer Thierry Marlat. An Asian collector put Irving Penn's Mouth for L'Oréal, New York, 1986, a dye-transfer print ($50,000$70,000) into second place at $205,000.

Helmut Newton's Saddle I, Paris (at the Hotel Lancaster), 1976 ($50,000$70,000) rode to fifth place as a European collector phoned in a bid of $157,000, almost double the high estimate. And Newton's Sie Kommen (Naked and Dressed), Paris, 1981, took the top spot at $241,000, just over high estimate.

Penn's Gisele, New York, April 1, 1999, claimed third place at $193,000, four times the high estimate. Lastly, Penn's Ginkgo Leaves, the cover image of his book Passage, closed out the sale just under high estimate at $91,000.

Photographs from the Collection of Gert Elfering totaled $4,373,200 against an estimate of $2$3 million with a 16% buy-in rate--yet another success for Elfering and Christie's.

(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 (overseas airmail is $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

The Berman Collection Arbus Sale At Christie's Is a 100% Sell Out and Brings in $1,372,000 From The Auction

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

The Bruce and Nancy Berman Collection of Photographs by Diane Arbus achieved $1,372,000 and was 100% sold. Child selling plastic orchids at night, N.Y.C. 1963 ($30,000$50,000) was the sale's top lot and went for $115,000 to Jeffrey Fraenkel, who also captured Headless Woman, N.Y.C. 1961 ($25,000$35,000) for $73,000. A family on their lawn one Sunday in Westchester, N.Y. 1968, ($40,000$60,000) was taken by Rose Shoshana for $91,000. Shoshana was the major buyer, taking 11 of the 51 lots offered. Fraenkel took six lots, as did Howard Read of Cheim & Read.

Joshua Holdeman, specialist in charge of the sale commented, "We are delighted to kick off the sale of the Berman Collection of Photographs with a white glove, 100% sold sale of work by Diane Arbus. This result underscores not only the significance of the Berman name in the world of photographic collecting, but also confirms Arbus's place as one of the important artists of the 20th century. We eagerly anticipate the sale of works by William Eggleston, also from the Berman Collection, this October."

(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 (overseas airmail is $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Christie's Various Owners Auction Totals $4,682,875, But With a High 33% Buy-in Rate

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

In Christie's various-owners sale, Peter Beard's striking Self Portrait for Centre Nationale de la Photographie, Paris, 1996, a collage of gelatin silver prints, chromogenic prints and morphine drip ($150,000$200,000) went to the phone over the bid of Jack Hastings for $217,000. It had sold at Christie's in October 2005 for $192,000, more than the $180,000 hammer price now. It was sixth on the top ten list in this sale.

Elliot Porter's portfolio Trees, which was hardly considered by the market a decade ago, blossomed to $46,600. One sold in 2005 for $20,700.

Irving Penn had numerous works in the top ten in this sale. Moroccan Fanatasia, Marrakech claimed eighth place and sold for $91,000--five times its high estimate. Penn's Black and White Vogue Cover, 1950, a platinum-palladium print in an edition of 34, drew intense interest. Jeffrey Fraenkel, jumped the bidding to $200,000, then $250,000, but stopped at $300,000, the high estimate. Then three phone bidders took over until the lot was finally hammered down at $400,000--$481,000 including premium. It was--briefly--a world auction record for Penn, and ended as the second highest lot of the sale.

A fine vintage print of Henri Cartier-Bresson's Hyères, France, 1932 ($60,000$90,000), with its vertiginous view of a blurred bike rider, is a classic example of the work of the master of the decisive moment. Michael Shapiro and collector Michael Mattis kept exchanging the yellow shirt, but Mattis sprinted first to the finish at $265,000, fifth place in the sale and a world auction record.

A Selkirk print of Diane Arbus's Child with a toy hand grenade ($80,000$120,000), passed at $70,000. It had a stain in the margin, almost touching the image, almost as if someone had spilled coffee on it, which had been stabilized though not removed through conservation.

Richard Avedon's Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent ($30,000$50,000) tied for eighth place at $91,000. Collector Christopher Luce more than doubled the high estimate for Brassaï's Couple d'amoureux dans un petit café at $58,600.

Robert Mapplethorpe's silver print of a Calla Lily captured the tenth spot as it went to a European collector on the phone for $85,000, within the estimates. Then Tim Jeffries of Hamiltons Gallery in London plucked the fourth highest lot of the sale, Mapplethorpe's platinum print of a different Calla Lily ($100,000$150,000) for $265,000.

A platinum-palladium print of Irving Penn's iconic Cuzco Children ($250,000$350,000) was the object of a custody battle between phone bidders. The Christie's representatives on the phones seemed to be speaking French. At $529,000 it proved to be not only the top lot of the day, but shattered the record for Penn set in the morning.

Michael Mattis stopped just short of an order bidder for Edward Weston's Fiftieth Anniversary Portfolio at $73,000, just over high estimate. Clemens Vedder bested both Tim Jeffries and Jack Hastings for Irving Penn's Poppy: Glowing Embers, New York, 1968, dye-transfer print ($70,000$90,000) at $145,000 (seventh place). Christie's listed the buyer as "European Private," so perhaps it went to Vedder's own collection rather than to Camera Work gallery, or perhaps to a collector on whose behalf he was bidding.

The penultimate lot in the sale was William Eggleston's Southern Suite ($80,000$120,000). The portfolio set a record for an Eggleston lot at $289,000, three times what it sold for at auction in 2005.

The sale totaled $4,682,875 with a 33% buy-in rate.

(Copyright ©2008 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 $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

Christie's Sale of Ansel Adams Collection Brings in $4,678,000, But Who Will It Go to?

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector

Christie's sale of Photographs by Ansel Adams from a California Collection, which contained numerous mural-sized prints in varying conditions, realized $4,678,000 with only 11% bought-in (though there might have been fewer buy-ins with slightly less aggressive estimates). While the catalogue reproduced correspondence between Adams and the corporation that bought his photographs, Christie's whited out any reference to the corporation. Talk about walking around with a scarlet A! The works were from the collection of Fremont Indemnity, which collapsed amid California's workers' compensation mess and was put under the operational control of the California Department of Insurance in 2003. Fremont is now in liquidation, and according to sources, Fremont transferred the pictures from a subsidiary that was in receivership to a dummy corporation and under court order the receipts of the sale were to be put into escrow until a final legal determination could be made on ownership.

Molly DeFrank, deputy press secretary for the California Office of Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, told us, "The Department of Insurance is actively pursuing the recovery of the proceeds from the sale of the art. There is currently a legal proceeding in place in the California Superior Court to determine where the proceeds will go. Because this is an ongoing legal matter, I cannot provide further detail at this time." This statement certainly doesn't contradict the scenario above.

As mentioned, the prints were in varying conditions, some because they were not quite up to Adams's best standards of printing, some because they had been displayed for many years without UV glass. Yet a few of the prints were spectacular. Nonetheless, it seems that some buyers did not undertake due diligence as the bidding did not always reflect the quality of the work. I wonder how many of the phone or internet buyers actually saw the prints or even the condition reports.

It seemed like half the audience for this sale was new, but slightly older. Bidding was active with about one-third of the pictures selling in the room and the rest on the phones, by order, or to the internet. The major bidders in the room were James Alinder and Howard Greenberg, but Santa Fe dealer Andy Smith was elsewhere in the building and on the phone.

A mural print of Adams's Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite, 1944 ($250,000$350,000) topped the sale at $481,000. It went to the phone over James Alinder, though frankly, it seemed slightly grayer than Adams's best prints and had a few bubbles in the mounting. (All of the top ten were mural prints.) Alinder got the second highest lot of the sale though, Bridal Veil Fall, Yosemite Valley, 1927 ($150,000$250,000) at $277,000. He also bested the phone and dealer Richard Morehouse for number three, Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958 ($150,000$250,000) at $241,000.

Tenaya Creek, Dogwood, Rain, Yosemite Valley, 1948 ($50,000$70,000) went to a phone bidder for $205,000, as did Lake Precipice, Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Kaweah Gap, Sierra Nevada, 1932 ($90,000$120,000) at $193,000. Alinder was the underbidder on Portfolio VII ($80,000$120,000), which went to the phones for $157,000.

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, 1946 ($60,000$80,000) brought $145,000 from yet another phone bidder, while Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite Valley, California, 1938 ($70,000$90,000) sold to the back of the room for $115,000. Howard Greenberg took Vernal Fall, Yosemite Valley, 1948 ($70,000$90,000) for the same price.

Clouds and Hills, Northern California, 1940s ($50,000$70,000) went for $109,000 to the same phone bidder who took Tenaya Creek, Dogwood, Rain. That bidder also got the portfolio, Pamelian Prints of the High Sierras, ($80,000$120,000) for $97,000 and Thunderstorm, Yosemite Valley ($50,000$70,000) for $79,000.

Perhaps the most confounding result was lot 1066, a signed collotype print of Moonrise, aggressively estimated at $20,000$30,000. It sold to the phone for $39,400. This is essentially a very fine, limited-edition poster. It was published by G. Ray Hawkins in the early 1970s. Made by Black Box Collotype of Chicago, without text, the image was printed on a heavy Rives BFK paper in an edition of 50 or 55. Adams signed them at the opening. They sold out in two weeks. Still, the bidder--and underbidder--either didn't realize the difference or suffered from irrational exuberance.

As mentioned, Andy Smith was active on the phone, walking away with seven lots totaling $72,500. Alinder, on the other hand, spent $696,375 on his nine lots. A further unidentified bidder on the phone also bought 19 lots totaling $300,775.

Other successful bidders in the sale--at varying levels--included: California dealer Carol Williams, bidding on the phone, who took a 16 x20 in. Moonrise ($25,000$35,000) at $49,000; collectors David Runtz and Christopher Luce, and dealers Andy Cowan, Robert Mann and Stephen Reinhold.

Totaling an extraordinary $17,608,525 for the five photography oriented sales, the highest total in auction history for the category, Christie's just edged out Sotheby's for the season's overall crown, although at a much lower price per lot.

According to Christie's press office, Philippe Garner, international head of photographs and Joshua Holdeman, international director of photographs, said, "The Christie's photographs department is delighted by the spectacular results achieved this week. We are pleased by the overwhelming response from collectors worldwide and their sustained appreciation for the diversity of the works presented. With these sales the breadth and scope of the market has been brought to new levels, and new auction records were set for numerous photographers, including notably Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and William Eggleston." (I always picture them as a doo-wop duo. How else do they say exactly the same thing at the same time?)

(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 (overseas airmail is $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 for a subscription order form to The Photograph Collector Newsletter, go to: http://www.photoreview.org/collect.htm.

AIPAD Cancels Miami Show and Moves Its NY Armory Show to End of March

The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) has decided to cancel this year's Miami photography show, which was planned for the first week of December in concert with the Art Basel Miami show week. The association just fell a bit short of its goal for the number of exhibitors who paid their deposits, but may consider re-launching the popular show next year.

Last year's show was deemed a stunning first-year success by the art/photography, and local and international media. Numerous dealers in the show claimed mid six-figure sales, which were better than at most of the other shows in Miami; and most attendees proclaimed it the most professional and impressive show of all the other 23 satellite shows that they visited. It appears to be another casualty of the crowded Miami schedule, which has added numerous new shows this year on top of an already oversaturated 2007 show schedule, although many felt that a quality photography media-specific show was the one exhibition that could still do well here. The association's own slowness in getting off the ground with an application process and lack of decisiveness about the show was also cited by many AIPAD dealers who applied to other shows in "self-defense".

The AIPAD show cancellation was a huge disappointment to many members because most of the other major exhibition shows had already closed their application process by the time of the late decision by the AIPAD board in late July. It left some members reviewing their slim choices or simply deciding to take a pass. There may be an option for a group of AIPAD dealers in one of these shows still remaining open to exhibitors, and details will be reported in future newsletters.

Meanwhile AIPAD and the New York Park Avenue Armory have agreed to new dates at the end of March for the association's New York City Photography Show. The show will be the 29th iteration of this world leading art photography venue. The exact dates and further details on the March show and its new schedule will be reported in future newsletters.

Photo Book Review: E.O. Hoppé's Australia

By Matt Damsker

E.O. HOPPÉ'S AUSTRALIA.

Essay by Graham Howe & Erika Esau. 2008, W.W. Norton & Co., New York. $49.95, clothbound; 207 pgs, approximately 200 black-and-white plates. ISBN No. 978-0-393-06611-1. Information: http://www.wwnorton.com .

This superb volume follows last year's publication, also by W.W. Norton, of "E.O. Hoppé's Amerika," cataloguing the Silverstein Gallery's groundbreaking survey, in which the great proto-modernist work of German-born Emil Otto Hoppé (1878-1972) was featured in its first retrospective in some 80 years. Hoppé had been the world's most famous photographer when he arrived in America in 1919, having established a London studio in which he photographed the celebrities of the day. Once in New York he turned his lens toward its street life, skyscrapers, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Grand Central Station, yielding first-rate images and accepting a commission to photograph the U.S. from coast to coast--a monumental survey that would anticipate the Farm Service Administration projects of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, et al.

He also visited Australia, arriving in Sydney in 1930 with the intention of staying only a few months. But as Graham Howe and Erika Esau chronicle in their well-researched essay in this new book, he was so profoundly charmed by the cultural richness of the Fifth Continent that he stayed on for close to a year, taking more than 3,000 photographs. The result is a survey to rival his classic American portfolio--more to the point, it's a matchless exploration of Australia's urban heights and rural depths, moving through Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, and the remote Outback.

Hoppé captured the tribal earthiness of aboriginal life in a host of powerfully human images, and he also evoked the modern complexity of Australia's colonial narrative. In his observant, journalistic photos of the cities and its inhabitants, Hoppé reveals a staunch British mercantilism and transplanted culture taking root in a vast, arid frontier, amid a dusty, rolling landscape, gorgeous beaches and hardscrabble towns. He photographed the shanties of the unemployed, the lumberjacking, the mills, the spare shop fronts of the working class, and the idylls of the bourgeoisie--all of it in the context of Australia's harsh sunlight and richness of natural resources.

The greatest of these photos, though, are of Sydney during the epic construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. By then, of course, Hoppé had already established his modernist credentials through his American portfolio, with its views of crisscrossing girders and bridgework in industrial locales, the smokestacks of Detroit's auto factories and shadowed elevated railway structures. In Sydney, Hoppé evoked the Harbour Bridge as an epic presence and symbol of Australia's rise to major urban/industrial status, as he focused on its cables, girders, and the stages of its construction, varying his approach wonderfully. Some images are in close-up, veering on sheer abstraction, while others present the city of Sydney, its geometry of buildings compressed within a tight, high, Cezanne-ish vantage point, with the Harbour Bridge romantically taking shape in the misty distance.

Indeed, Hoppé's Australian survey is a revelation in many ways. On the most basic level, it offers a sprawling vision of Down Under at a crucial moment in its history. It is also nuanced, empathetic, detailed, impeccably composed, open to wonder and instinctively modern in its eye for human figuration at its most candid, and in its grasp of industrial material and urban design as emblems of a timeless world remaking itself into something new. One can only look forward to more popularizing of Hoppé's body of work, for it affirms a superior aesthetic vision along with an encouraging humanism.


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 in the fall of 2005.

He currently reviews books for U.S.A. Today.

(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. Books must be aimed at photography collecting, not how-to books for photographers.)

Photo Review Summer Garden Party

Bid farewell to summer at The Photo Review's Gala Garden Party on Saturday, September 6 from 2 to 7 p.m. (rain date, Sunday, September 7). Enjoy music, conversation, drinks, and delicious food at a fabulous country house in Downingtown, PA, west of Philadelphia.

You'll meet photographers Mark Cohen and George Tice; Katherine Ware, Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Ron Steinman, Executive Editor of The Digital Journalist; and photography dealer Alex Novak of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, among others. Other surprise guests are sure to be there. You can hobnob with Photo Review/Photograph Collector editor Stephen Perloff, relax to music by the Midi Trio, and buy and have your books personally inscribed by our special guests, including Linda and Lothar Troeller and Jill Waterman. You'll also get to look at pictures, as everyone is invited to participate in informal portfolio sharing.

For more information, contact The Photo Review at 140 East Richardson Avenue, Suite 301, Langhorne, PA 19047, or phone 1-215/891-0214 or email at info@photoreview.org .

You can also download an invitation and reply card at http://www.photoreview.org/party.htm .