This is the granddaddy show of them all: AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers), which will be held once again at the Hilton Hotel in New York City, but with larger booths and fewer dealers (this year a total of 85 booths) than last year, a move to make the show more Art Fair-oriented. The Hilton site had reopened as a possibility when the hotel management changed its plans about converting the second floor space into offices. Make your hotel reservations now. If you mention the AIPAD show, you can get a discounted rate while the rooms are still available.
This year the show opens on Thursday, February 14th (my birthday) and runs through Sunday February 17th. Regular hours for the show are Friday and Saturday, 12-8 pm and Sunday, 12-6 pm. Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass and $30 for a three-day pass. Both tickets include a very fine catalogue of the show with a great cross-reference of photographers and photo dealers. This is a MUST show and again I urge everyone to try to attend--especially this year, for obvious reasons. Vintage Works, Ltd. will exhibit, although we will be in a slightly different location than last year. You can find us again on the second floor, but in booth 236. Just turn left after you get off the escalators to the second floor and then right down the aisle towards the back.
Swann has been producing their most interesting photo auction around AIPAD now for the past two years and this year's sale is no exception. Scheduled for 10:30 am on the Tuesday morning after AIPAD (February 19), this auction is the one to preview and be at if you have any money left over from AIPAD itself.
This time the sale features 100 very seminal and important images, including a half plate gold-mining daguerreotype, a unique version and a vintage print of Ruth Bernhard's Nude in the Box; Julia Margaret Cameron's Sir Galahad and the Pale Nun; Eugene Cuvelier's Glade, or Clearing in the Woods; Gustave Le Gray's Tombeaux des Mamelouks; Eugene Smith's Tomoko in Her Bath; another Alfred Eisenstaedt print of La Scala (which Swann set a record with a few auctions ago); a Frederick Evans' Study of Aubrey Beardsley; a stunning Double Locomotive Train on Mountainside in Cape Horn, CA by Carleton Watkins; two volumes of Frith prints of the Middle East (which Swann seems to do well with); Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother 1936, printed early 1960s; Cindy Sherman's Untitled (Black Bra, Film Still #6); Charles Marville's Cascade from his rare 1858 "Le Bois de Boulogne" Series; a scarce nude portfolio by William Mortensen; an early vintage print by Aaron Siskind (Tabernacle City #2); the very rare panorama--most panoramas have been broken up--of the Palace of the Governors at Uxmal by Desire Charnay; a portfolio entitled Photographic Atlas of the Stars with 180 celestial photographs by Johann Palisa and Max Wolf; two important vintage Alexander Rodchenko images; a rare and early paper negative and another positive of Agra, India by Dr. John Murray; Man Ray's portrait of George Platt Lynes; Edward Weston's Three Fish Gourds; Tina Modotti's Four Birds 1926 (a companion print to Weston's image); some excellent images of Italy by Carlo Naya, Bisson Freres and Gabriel de Rumine; and other very good images by the likes of Hill and Adamson, Lewis Hine, Capt. Frank Hurley, Adolphe Terris, Ansel Adams, August Sander, Alfred Stieglitz and Louis De Clercq.
Swann also offers a more reasonable 15% buyers fee than the next auction house's steeper buyers' commissions.
For catalogues or information, call 212-254-4710. Swann has also a new website at www.swanngalleries.com where you can order the catalogue or subscribe for the year.
Well, I lied: apparently it is not called Christie's East any more. Everything has now been moved and consolidated into Rockefeller Center. However, the portion of Christie's formerly called Christie's East is holding an auction in the afternoon of Tuesday, February 19 at 2:30 pm.
Apparently still in search of an approach and trying to cash in on Swann's success in this time slot, the auction will still largely focus on the late printed images that it has been known for in the past, including Robert Doisneau's Kiss and Last Waltz and Bernice Abbott's El at the Battery and Department of Docks and Police. There are a couple of decent mid-level vintage prints of a snowy MacDougal Street by Andre Kertesz and a pair of Irving Penn nudes from the 1970s. The auction will also apparently feature the work of many Photo League photographers.
Estimates--for the most part--appear to be reasonable at both the Christie's and Swann auctions. There may be some good buys at both auctions, as there were in October, although clearly Swann has the class of the material in this outing.
We have put up several hundred great new items for sale on the website, and we will be putting even more images up after we get back from Photo LA, as fast as we can get them inventoried.
As we mentioned in the last newsletter, some of the more recent highlights (but certainly not all) include the following: the most wonderful Charles Clifford images that we have ever handled (just fabulous prints); a great new Maurice Tabard; a super Ceylon group by Scowen and Skeen; some new and reasonably priced autochromes; a group of Man Rays from the Electricite portfolio; some important Auguste Salzmanns; a magical Lewis Carroll of Hugh and Brooke Kitchin; a vintage print by Horst of one of his most important images (Barefoot); one of only four known Mexican images of Palenque by Desire Charnay made from a paper negative in a very rare uncropped version; several published salt prints by Cuvelier; the best Jean Dreville modernist image we have seen; an Auguste Bertsch microscopic image of an insect in a salt print; several very important new Baldus images; four new Watkins Yosemite images; historically important and ever so timely 19th century images of Afghanistan, including the infamous image of Major Cavagnari with Sindars of Kabul and Kunae just before he was murdered; a bizarre Nude with Masks and Shadows by Albert Rudomine; a large new group of good images by Charles Marville, including the famous Route de Suresnes from his 1858 Le Bois de Boulogne Series; a fabulous Otto Steinert exhibition-size print of Pont Neuf, Paris; lots of images from Tibet, India, and Japan; and a number of new hard images, both dags and ambrotypes, including some contemporary daguerreotypes by Michael Robinson, whom we have just started to represent through CT dealer Chris Wahren. More on Mike Robinson when we come back after Photo LA.
Plus you don't want to miss the wonderful groups by Eugene Atget, Leonard Misonne and James Anderson that we recently added to the website.
You can find them all at http://www.iphotocentral.com/search/search.php Just remember that we are gone to LA for the show from January 16-January 21. We will try to handle all email requests for items that come in during this time as soon as possible after January 22nd.
While you are there at the site, you might want to check out the large group of articles on photography collecting that we have up on the site at http://www.iphotocentral.com/collecting/collecting.php Remember to scroll down the page to see the entire list of articles. Or if you have missed any of the past newsletters just go to the news and archives page, which is at http://www.iphotocentral.com/news/news.php You can even search the archives by using the key word search for articles containing those subjects.
Yesterday the Associated Press reported that Sotheby's ex-chairman Alfred Taubman had his attorneys ask for a new trial to try to overturn his conviction last month on price fixing. His lawyers are arguing that a prosecutor unfairly used an 18th-century quote from economist Adam Smith in his closing argument.
Taubman was found guilty of conspiring with former Christie's head Anthony Tennant to fix sellers' commissions, which resulted in $400 million in commissions stolen from sellers at the two auction houses. Taubman, who is 76 and apparently fond of naps and lunch (at least according to his own attorneys' defense), is seeking to avoid up to a three-year prison term (a long nap perhaps, but apparently the food is not up to Taubman's normal standards) and millions of dollars in fines.
Prosecutor John Greene quoted the following passage from a book by Adam Smith: "People in the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but a conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or in some contrivance to raise prices."
Taubman, through his attorneys, is contending that the quote might have led jurors to assume that he might have done something wrong just by meeting with Tennant.
"The risk that the jury might make the impermissible leap from the mere fact of the meetings to Taubman's guilt was exponentially increased when the government decided to use quasi-expert testimony from renowned economist Adam Smith," Taubman's lawyers contended in court papers filed.
Taubman's defense team says that the jury should then have been instructed that it is lawful for competitors to meet.
Of course, the jury would have also had to ignore the testimony from the former presidents of Sotheby's and Christie's, the diaries and memos of Tennant and other damaging evidence to only rely on this "impermissible leap", but then the same words might be used for a defense such as this one.
As most of you found out for the first time in our newsletter (we broke the story in the media), Jammes Sale II (general sale with emphasis on French images) and III (the archive of Charles Negre) are scheduled for March 21 and 22 in Paris at Sotheby's new posh auction facilities. Sotheby's says it will be the largest ever dispersal of photographs from a single collection, with the material presented in two catalogues. That may be a little presumptuous, considering that several major archives of hundreds of thousands (even millions) of images have been sold in the past. And certainly the values associated with the collection might be deemed to be presumptuous.
Perhaps Andre Jammes thinks he will have Sheik Al Thani bidding again at this auction. It certainly seems that way. With estimates on many items that are considerably higher than current gallery retail, this sale will either set new price standards for French material, at least some of it fairly easy to find on the market, or will be another casualty of consignor excess and ego. The gossip on the street is that Jammes was extremely tough in his negotiations this time around with Sotheby's Philippe Gardner. Other sources tell me that Al Thani may either be less active or not active at all in this sale. Apparently his uncle, the Emir, has asked him for some restraint in his purchases. We shall see. Certainly bidders in many instances may only be bidding against what we anticipate will be rather high reserves.
Rumors also had Sotheby's and Jammes negotiating with the Musee de Orsay even into this fall over the Charles Negrè material. The museum reportedly felt that Jammes overvalued the material. Some think the sale is Jammes' way of forcing the Orsay's hand.
Certainly there are some spectacular pieces in the sale. Let us start with what Sotheby's is calling the earliest recorded image created by photographic means: a heliogravure by Nicéphore Niépce. The estimate range without buyers' premium is 500,000-750,000 euros. You can figure that the euros are dollars plus another seven percent after Sotheby's rather steep buyers' premium is added in. I just round it up 10% additional. It is easier to figure the final price.
As the Sotheby's press release indicates (and the below is their language, adjectives and all), items of particular note include:
--a rare series of studies by Victor Regnault in and around the manufactory at Sèvres (estimates between 3,000 and 75,000 euros)
--a fine series of studies in the Forest of Fontainebleau by Gustave Le Gray, and a fine seascape and a rare architectural study from his Mission Héliographique by the same photographer (estimates between 7,500 and 120,000 euros)
--a fine print of Nadar's celebrated portrait of Gustave Doré (estimated at 37,500-52,500 euros)
--an important album of 67 photographs by Charles Marville of a central area of old Paris before its destruction as part of the ambitious rebuilding projects of Haussmann (estimated at 375,000-525,000 euros)
--architectural studies by Edouard Baldus and Bisson Frères and alpine views by the latter (estimates between 12,000 and 45,000 euros)
--rare and important early experiments in heliogravure by Hippolyte Fizeau (estimated at 3,750-9,000 euros)
--a remarkable album of artist's studies including large format nudes and close-ups of plants, from the circle of the sculptor Simart (estimated at 300,000-375,000 euros)
--studies of historic ruins in ancient Mexico and a remarkable series of topographical and ethnographical studies in Madagascar by Desiré Charnay (the latter estimated at 150,000-225,000 euros)
--works by the Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas, foremost amongst these a remarkable, intimate indoor group study including the artist (estimated at 75,000-100,000 euros)
The first part of the sale also includes some 20th century pieces including a series of photographs by Germaine Krull, notably her images of the structure of the Eiffel Tower and a sequence of photographs made from a moving car; studies of steam railway engines by Eli Lotar; a collection of 77 photographs by Robert Doisneau; and portraits of famous French personalities by Laure Albin-Guillot.
The second part of the sale is the Charles Negre archives, which range from the sublime (re: extremely high estimates) to the next to worthless. Images in the former category include: Charles Nègre's "Le Stryge", circa 1853, with its negative, estimated at 180,000-240,000 euros and Charles Nègre's chimney sweeps walking, circa 1851, estimated at 120,000-180,000 euros, although these two will probably bring even more than these already high estimates, especially the Stryge.
You can preview a small portion of this sale at Sotheby's New York from February 14-18 and then the sale itself from March 15-20 at Sotheby's, Galerie Charpentier on 76 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris.