By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector
(with some assistance from Alex Novak, Vintage Works and I Photo Central)
To say that the Fall New York City photography auctions were like a roller coaster ride is not to convey the nuances of the actual experience. Given the long decline in values on the stock markets and what seemed in late October to be a more precipitous rush to war with Iraq, uncertainty and a few jarring bumps along the way were to be expected. The prices below include buyers' premiums.
Swann Galleries was first up. Swann is usually somewhat insulated by the fact that they reach a slightly different audience by having lower-priced and quirkier material that often appeals to a crossover market. Alas, that was not to be the case this time. Most of their featured lots did not sell: the daguerreotype of the equestrienne, the Civil War photographs of Andersonville Prison, the cover lot of Herbert Bayer's Smoking Knight, the Horace Bristol Grapes of Wrath portfolio, Coburn's The Cloud, Cunningham's Amaryllis, and Curtis's The North American Indian Portfolio X. And, of the top lots that did sell, most went below low estimate: Johnson's views of the Delaware and Lehigh Canal ($29,900), which Steve White told me he purchased over the phone; Edward Weston's Boat ($29,900), which went to a collector in the room; and the Robert Cornelius daguerreotype ($20,700), which went to the phone. Richard Prince's untitled diptych of Cindy Sherman and himself passed in the auction but sold afterward for $39,675 on an estimate of $60,000-$90,000.
The crowd was relatively small--thinning out even more after the break--and lethargic, with relatively little active bidding in the room. Phone and order bidders took most of the top lots. Swann's buy-in rate was a disheartening 52% at the sale (10 pictures sold right afterward to bring the overall rate to 49%). For 19th-century material the buy-in rate was 63%; for 20th-century 48%; and for contemporary 65%. Of the 159 lots that sold at the sale, 99 sold below low estimate and only 20 sold above high estimate. The 10 that sold afterward were at the reserves and so all below low estimate.
Even some of Swann's usually reliable material faired poorly, like the marvelously kitchy cheesecake pictures of Bettie Page. The only moment of real energy was when a Chelsea military antiques dealer made his presence known by jumping increments a couple of times and walking off with one group of Civil War pictures and two portraits of Custer.
Daile Kaplan, Swann's Photographs Specialist, said, "The performance of Swann's sale, which was chock-full of great photographs, was mixed--a consequence of economic uncertainties and the inordinate number of lots at auction in New York this week." It was probably an accurate assessment, especially about the inordinate number of lots at auction.
(Copyright © 2002 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 weighed in with the largest single sale of the season--428 lots--with a number of significant pictures under the hammer. But their decent total of $2,438,685 was also offset by a sobering 53% buy-in rate. One of the highlights of the sale was a group of 73 pictures from the Houston-based collector Alexandra R. Marshall, but these images seemed to be a little too aggressively estimated, perhaps because of some unhelpfully high reserves, and bought in at an even higher rate of 62%.
One of the few 19th-century lots offered by Christies' was a Julia Margaret Cameron of Paul and Virginia, which sold to an absentee bidder for $23,900.
The first significant lot offered was Alexander Rodchenko's Okhotnyi Row, 1932, which went to German dealer/collector Hendrik Berenson for $77,675 over a phone bidder, the fourth highest price of the sale. Then Rodchenko's Ball Bearing Plant brought $57,360, under the low estimate, but good for sixth place. The phone snagged this one over former Christie's photo head Rick Wester.
Next came pictures from the Marshall Collection. A complete set of Camera Work passed at $80,000 (estimate $100,000-$150,000), but there was strong after-sale interest. Man Ray's Untitled (Mannequin with sphere and cone) also passed ($40,000-$60,000). Then his Calla Lilies, a striking solarized image, was fought over intensely with Thea Westreich, who was on one phone, snagging it for $185,500, well over the high estimate of $100,000, and taking home the title of top lot of the sale. She had to battle another persistent phone bidder to get it.
Josef Sudek's In the Workshop fetched $47,800 from a phone bidder over collector Danny Castro. And a Frantisek Drtikol pigment print nude from 1929 sold, also to the phone, for $62,140, the fifth highest price of the sale. And the last of the big lots from the Marshall Collection, Irving Penn's Man Lighting Girl's Cigarette burnt up the charts as it topped out at an inexplicable $50,190 on an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
The small group of Ansel Adams prints had mixed results as a 16"x20" Moonrise passed--at barely half its low estimate of $50,000--as did Portfolio VII. But Portfolio IV brought $53,775, well over its high estimate. Then Edward Weston's Sunrise, Dunes, Oceano, passed ($50,000-$70,000), but Howard Greenberg wrestled Weston's Egg Slicer ($25,000-$35,000) away from Carol Ehlers, who was presumably bidding for the LaSalle National Bank Collection, for $50,190. And just before lunch Jill Quasha made off with the under-appreciated Lisette Model's 42nd Street--Modern Tempo for $14,340, just over the high estimate.
The afternoon session also had its moments. A 1940-ish print of Lange's Migrant Mother found a home with an order bidder for $141,500, the second highest price ever paid for this image and the second highest lot of the sale. A printed-later Alfred Eisenstaedt of Children at a Puppet Theater in Paris was the subject of an intense phone battle. Before the dust had cleared, one of them had paid an astounding $26,290. I do not know, but that may be a world record for a printed later print.
A Philippe Halsman of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor Jumping brought $21,510 from a phone bidder, which was at the high edge of the estimate range. This edged a previous record for this image set by Christies' in 1999 when it brought $17, 250 for a much larger version. A phone bidder also snatched Penn's Black and White Vogue cover away from Peter MacGill for $57,360, over the high estimate and good for seventh place. Some Penn prices seem definitely on an ascent.
But William Eggleston's Graceland portfolio ($180,000-$280,000) is still in the house, after passing a $170,000, along with his portfolio Troubled Waters ($80,000-$100,000), which passed at $50,000.
Pictures of women fared better as Deborah Bell seduced Garry Winogrand's portfolio Women Are Beautiful away from collector Michael Mattis, for $28,680. And Helmut Newton's unique diptych "Sie Kommen" (Dressed) & (Naked), Paris, went home with a phone bidder for $95,600 (third place).
Among contemporary work, Michael Rovner's unique digital print, Border, brought almost four times its high estimate at $41,825, as seven separate phone bidders were in play for the piece.
Leila Buckjune, the Head of Christie's Photographs Department, had a live-to-fight-another-day attitude. After all, Christie's did relatively well with most of their big lots, but the economic doldrums--and that 800-pound gorilla coming up that very evening--took their toll.
Sotheby's evening sale of material from the Museum of Modern Art drew a large and expectant audience. Here was an opportunity to acquire some outstanding work--and some interesting if not outstanding work--with impeccable provenance, for all that provenance is worth (not much, once an item has auctioned). Like the first MOMA sale, condition was sometimes an issue with this material, but that did not seem to stop the bidders.
And for the first time, Sotheby's photography department had to guarantee a consignor a minimum price, apparently under pressure from competing bids this time around from both Christies' and Phillips auction houses.
While the sale was marked by numerous strong prices, it was also helped immeasurably by reasonable estimates and very reasonable reserves, many well less than the traditional 80% of low estimate. This is getting to be a trademark for Sotheby's, and it works.
Harry Callahan's Wells Street, Chicago, was the first picture to break through its high estimate ($8,000-$12,000) as a phone bidder moved in at $29,875. Edwynn Houk, who was the most frequent buyers at the sale, walked off with László Moholy-Nagy's Sand Architects, No. 2 ($10,000-$15,000) also for $29,875, and followed that up with Moholy-Nagy's In the Swim for only $7,170 on the same estimate. Then Houk bested Michael Senft for Man Ray's Untitled (Rayograph with lock of hair) ($100,000-$150,000), parting with $130,500 in the process. It tied for third highest lot of the sale.
Next, auctioneer Denise Bethel advanced Man Ray's Untitled (Rayograph with flowers and ferns) (estimate $150,000-$250,000) in tension-building $5,000 increments up to $300,000 ($339,500 with premium), a record for a Rayograph at auction and the top lot of the sale. The battle was between two phones.
There was a lot of negative comment about the museum selling off this image. The rationale for these sales by MOMA was always that MOMA was selling off its duplicates or lesser-valued images to make other purchases. But this was a print that was not only a unique print, but came from major trustee and patron James Thrall Soby. It was clearly a very important image by a major photographer. Some of the more cynical in the back rows were quipping that soon you will be able to buy the museum's Picasso's and Monet's Lilly Ponds next, or worse. This kind of image is a major work and clearly should not have been sold in the view of most observers that I talked to. What is astonishing is that there is not even a squeak of controversy in the New York press about it.
Collector Michael Mattis got a Man Ray Nude for $46,605, a below-estimate bargain. Robert Burge, consulting on a cell phone, took Man Ray's Meret Oppenheim in Bathing Cap for $29,875. Kaspar Fleischmann of Galerie zur Stockeregg outbid collector Kenn Wynn for Drtikol's luscious print, The Bow, setting an auction record for the artist at $76,480. Charles Isaacs made off with the next nude, Edward Steichen's Dolor ($70,000-$100,000), for just a tad less, $74,090. He overbid Howard Greenberg.
A platinum print of the Colorado River from Hermit Point by Alvin Langdon Coburn sold to the phone for $62,140, considerably under the estimate of ($70,000-$100,000).
Alfred Stieglitz's Venetian Gamin went well over its high estimate at $31,070, but the iconic Apples and Gables (but in a weak unsigned print) passed at only $54,000 on an estimate of $100,000-$150,000. Several of the cloud studies by Stieglitz did sell to the phone and order bids for just under the low part of their estimate range: lot 45 brought $22,705 and lot 46 got a bid of $33,460.
Dealer Charles Schwartz got one of the bargains of the day when he bid $5,975 (within the estimates) for John Paul Edwards' lovely 1920s pictorialist street scene, The East Side, New York. Then the Sherrill Schell of Wall Street, NY sold for nearly $18,000 in the room.
An Edward Steichen of Gertrude Lawrence, which was printed later by Rolf Petersen, went well over estimate at $35,850 to the phone. The image had featured in much of Sotheby's promotion around this event, even though it probably set a world record for a Rolf Petersen-printed image.
Charles Isaacs and Edwynn Houk battled it out for Charles Sheeler's Modernist masterpiece Pulverizer Building, Ford Plant, Detroit ($70,000-$100,000). Isaacs was left standing, but $130,500 lighter.
Then a little run of important Walker Evans pictures came up to end the evening. Sashi Caudill, bidding on the phone for a private collector, bought Evan's Alabama Cotton Tenant Farmer Family, for $62,140, just over the high estimate and Howard Greenberg's persistent paddle in the room. And Evans' Negro Barbershop Interior was finally sold at $95,600 (fifth place) to a man in the room. Next, heavy phone bidding for the cover lot, Evans' Breakfast Room, Belle Grove Plantation, ended at $141,500, again going to Caudill at a bit below the low estimate, but still good for the second highest price of the sale. Peter MacGill then completed the shopping with Evans' Country Store and Gas Station for $64,530. He had to compete with bids from the phone and the room on this one.
Sotheby--and everyone else in the photography community--had to be pretty relieved by the active bidding and the low numbers of buy-ins. Especially Sotheby's, who had guaranteed a certain amount to the seller.
Prices remained steady the next day with fewer big lots, but still a few good prices. Michael Mattis outlasted Howard Greenberg for Clarence White's haunting picture The Mirror ($10,000-$15,000), bidding an auction record $62,140. Edwynn Houk went over high estimate to wrest Stieglitz's portrait of Dorothy Norman away from Deborah Bell for $11,950, but Norman's two portraits of Stieglitz passed at only $2,000-$3,000.
Houk battled David Raymond, consulting with a client (we suspect the Getty Museum, which he has bid for in the past) on his cell phone, for Charles Sheeler's Coke Ovens--River Rouge (estimate $10,000-$15,000). Houk finally prevailed at $57,360. A couple of lots later, they staged a rematch on Sheeler's Generator ($5,000-$8,000), with the same outcome at the same price. I think both were still good buys.
Mack Lee waged a similar tussle with David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek, taking two Eliot Porter landscapes for $17,925, three times the high estimate, although Scheinbaum and Russek bought two other color groups by Porter, including one of birds, for a song (sorry about that). And Minor White's Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, more than doubled its high estimate at $13,145.
When the session ended everyone was feeling pretty buoyant--and the Modern was feeling $2,691,642 richer (less commission of course). The 21% buy-in rate was minuscule, even for good times.
After lunch the crowds returned for a tight sale of 84 lots of vintage Berenice Abbott prints that were duplicates from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York. Vintage Abbotts are not that rare--and later Abbotts are downright prolific--but there were some beautiful prints here and the provenance was pristine. While the buy-in rate was slightly higher than that for the MoMA sale--24%--if anything the Abbott sale was even stronger. Only 13 lots went below the low estimate while 28 went above the high estimate. Yes, this is not surprising since the estimates for many lots did seem rather low. But then again 10 of those 28 lots sold substantially above their high estimates.
Canyon, Broadway and Exchange Place ($10,000-$15,000) brought $52,580 from a phone bidder. "El" Second and Third Avenue Lines, the cover lot, went to a different phone bidder for $16,730. Charles Isaacs took home the Blossom Restaurant ($7,000-$10,000) for $22,705. Fifth Avenue Bus, Washington Square, Manhattan ($5,000-$7,000) was driven away by Thea Westreich's Art Advisory Services for $16,730.
The most famous image being offered, the Flatiron Building ($20,000-$30,000), soared to $54,970, the highest price of the afternoon, again to Westreich. Collector David Runtz caught the Greyhound Bus Terminal ($5,000-$7,000--admittedly underestimated) for $15, 535. Galerie zur Stockeregg, bidding on the phone, prevailed over Abbott dealer Ronald Kurz to take a lot of two images--Murray Hill Hotel and 112 Park Avenue ($5,000-$8,000)--for $20,315. Kurz did buy four lots and underbid seven others.
Herald Square, also underestimated at $4,000-$6,000, went to a phone bidder, L011, for $14,340. Howard Greenberg gobbled up the Automat ($5,000-$7,000) for $16,730. Carol Ehlers was the winning bidder on the Church of God, 25 East 132nd Street ($5,000-$8,000), also at $16,730. A phone bidder outlasted Ronald Kurz for two Manhattan industrial views ($4,000-$6,000), bidding $14,340. Also Manhattan Bridge, which went to a phone bidder for $20,315, and Tempo of the City, which was hammered down to Thea Westreich for $16,730, both sold over their high estimates.
The total of $669,499 was a nice chunk of change for the Museum.
Sotheby's various owner sale the next day would be a test of the endurance of the market, a slightly shaky undertaking for a sale that had its clunkers as well as its stars. Results were decidedly mixed with a buy-in rate of 41%, higher than usual for Sotheby's, but almost respectable in these conditions. Print condition, as so often during these New York sales at all the houses, was often problematic.
Still, it was disappointing that three of the top four lots passed--Strand's New Orleans ($150,000-$250,000), which was bought later, and Stieglitz's picture of O'Keeffe's car and his portrait of O'Keeffe (both $100,000-$150,000). A couple of people noted some condition problems with the Stieglitzes, but the Strand was a very fine picture just on the edge of his move from Pictorialism to Modernism. It seemed to lose favor for some people because it did not fall squarely into either camp, but you could also consider it seminal in this transition.
Making up for those disappointments was the battle royale over the cover lot, George Hoyningen-Huene's well known Bathing Suits with Horst as one of the models. This was a wonderful vintage print, probably underestimated by close to half at $20,000-$30,000. Howard Greenberg and Michael Senft fought for it, until Greenberg finally prevailed at a stunning $109,940.
Sotheby's usually does very well with Ansel Adams and while an early print of Monolith, Face of Half Dome brought the low estimate of $35,850, a mural size (37"x58") print of Moonrise, estimated at a reasonable $60,000-$90,000, passed at $48,000. Michael Mattis redeemed Adams though by outbidding California dealer Michael Dawson for Portfolio One at $48,995.
A short run of normally reliable Curtises surrendered as only one lot sold and the best lot was withdrawn. The Frederick Evans prints fared little better as Hans Kraus bought two and the other five passed.
Edwynn Houk pushed Weston's Nude on Sand, Oceano ($6,000-$9,000) to $31,070.
Man Ray's fascinating poster with Rayograph just barely met its reserve at the low estimate, $174,500--enough to be crowned as top lot of the sale, as a phone bidder sailed away with Le Bateau Ivre. But the two parodies of Eakins paintings by someone in the circle of Eakins (both $30,000-$50,000) passed, as did Richard Avedon's portfolio Avedon/Paris ($60,000-$90,000).
The sale total of $1,438,512 was relatively low, but it was later helped substantially when Michael Mattis bought the Strand after the auction. Still, the three-sale, three-day total of $4.8 million was substantial and proved that there was still life--and money--in the market.
Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg closed out the week with an evening and day sale. Their first sale back in the game last April was predictably uneven, helped by a huge price for a Strand. Would the presence of Philippe Garner, who came on board after this sale was mostly formed, play a role? Could Phillips hold the fort? Or would the week end as it began?
Edwynn Houk was active here, too, paying $29,875 for a Watkins. Lange's White Angel Bread Line could have fed a lot of people at $41,825. But Paul Outerbridge's Cheese and Crackers ($60,000-$80,000) passed as did Weston's Dunes, Oceano ($70,000-$90,000).
After a Kertész ($60,000-$80,000) and a Moholy ($40,000-$60,000)--both probably a little aggressively priced for the images--passed, the top lot of the evening came under the hammer. Man Ray's Noire et Blanche ($375,000-$450,000), the only known version on Japanese rice paper (and sufficiently documented to calm any fears), drew a sigh of relief from Phillips when it met its reserve at $300,000-$339,500 with premium--and became the top lot of the evening and indeed of the week.
But that was followed by passes on a Kertész distortion of hands ($60,000-$80,000), Steichen's nude, Dixie Ray ($50,000-$70,000), and Weston's formidable, but overpriced Pyramide del Sol ($250,000-$350,000). Jill Quasha turned the momentum around by buying Strand's Church Doors, New England ($70,000-$90,000) for $81,260. And Thea Westreich went well over high estimate ($14,000-$18,000) in buying Avedon's Noto, Sicily, for $38,240. Jeffrey Fraenkel snatched up Avedon's Andy Warhol and Members of the Factory (on view at the Met as part of the show of Avedon's portraits at the time in a rather larger version) below low estimate at $23,900.
Unlike at Christie's, William Eggleston proved to be a solid draw here. His Jackson, Mississippi ($20,000-$30,000) brought $26,290 and his portfolio 14 pictures ($120,000-$150,000) went to a new bidder unknown to us for $152,500, the third highest price of the sale. That was followed moments later by Avedon's maquette for The Family, an important piece of political history as well as of photography---and also partly on view uptown at the Met. An order bidder took it over the phone for $161,300.
A few lots later Helmut Newton's Big Nude III, Paris sold for just under the low estimate at $130,500 to Rudy Kicken.
At the end of the evening contemporary work did quite well with pictures by Adam Fuss, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pierre et Gilles, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Gregory Crewdson selling nicely. One Fuss went to a phone bidder for $41,825 and Edwynn Houk bested a phone bidder for another at $31,070.
The evening ended with scattered applause. Despite some passes on big items, most people, and the Phillips staff certainly, were relieved at the success of this portion of the sale, which enjoyed some high prices and a buy-in rate just over 29%.
The second part of the sale had lower prices, naturally, and also more winning phone and order bidders proportionally to the evening before. A wonderfully graphic image by Margaret Bourke-White, Contour Plowing, Walsh, Colorado, estimated at $4,000-$6,000, drew intense interest from an order bidder and four phone bidders and was hammered down for a stunning $35,580, the only lot from the second session to make it into the top ten.
Contemporary work was again quite strong. One of Sugimoto's theaters, Beacon, New York ($9,000-$12,000) was a hot ticket at $19,120. Andy Warhol's image of four prints of a brocade couch stitched together ($10,000-$15,000) stood out at $20,315. Nan Goldin's Jimmy Paulette and Misty in the Taxi ($6,000-$8,000) was sold for $16,133. DiCorcia's London ($15,000-$20,000) earned $20,315. And one of Crewdson's mysterious cinematic pieces from the Twilight series ($10,000-$15,000) was sold for $17,925.
With $2,181,114 in sales and a 32% buy-in rate (the best of this group of regular auction and not too bad even in good times), Phillips announced its coming of age as a player and indicated that the photography market has reached a stage of maturity that allows it to weather the storms of the current economy.
(Copyright © 2002 by The Photo Review. My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use some of this information. The Photograph Collector is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95 (overseas airmail is $169.95). You can phone 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)
By Maria DiElsi Connolly
Now here is a book that will appeal to the baby boomer generation and others who believe that they have a solid sense of American culture during the 1950's-60's. Hang on kids, this book will surprise, delight, and enlighten. Incredibly rich photographs and great stories, told by a cast of collaborators who gave birth to this book, all swirl together to provide a new insight into an aspect of African-American history which until now has been all but invisible.
"In my wallet there is a tattered black-and-white photograph of my mother." This is how Shawn Wilson's story begins. He takes us with him as he goes back to his hometown to find Mr. Anderson, the man who made this treasured image. This is a book about the almost-lost photographic archives of Henry Clay Anderson, a Greenville, Mississippi photographer/activist who chronicled the life and times of his small southern town during an era of great struggles, segregation and the rising civil rights movement. The content of the 130 photographs beautifully reproduced are each a testimony to a proud and uniquely progressive segregated black community striving, thriving, and successfully living out the American Dream.
The photographs will be familiar, very familiar. And they will be charming in their evidence of a determined collaboration between photographer and sitter to portray the truth about a black society whose values revolved around education, family stability and economic prosperity.
Each image carries with it a host of icons and codes that can only be interpreted as the symbols of middle class status: televisions, cars, stylish clothes, fashionable home furnishings and children, all polished and poised for the future. But there may seem to be a kind of irony that dances around these images. You'll find yourself asking questions like, "How come I have never seen black families portrayed this way before? Are these photographs for real?"
Yes, well, we may just be used to the products of "out of town cameras", a term essayist Clifton L. Taulbert uses to describe northern journalists who came south to take pictures of the cruelty, poverty, ram shackled lives, and weary black faces of field workers living with Jim Crow. I see nothing of that world in Anderson's photographs of the Greenville society. Instead I am confronted by a mirror image of my own white middle-class culture recorded in family albums; classic snapshot subject matter that says, "Look what we have!" and that ubiquitous sense of 1950's optimism.
Taulbert's contribution to the book is an eloquent essay that rocks gently between his memories of rural Mississippi and the sophisticated town of Greenville, all triggered by Anderson's photographs.
Mary Panzer's essay provides a political and historical context to a story Anderson himself tells us about--"one of the most fearsome nights" of his life, a night when he and his camera were witness to high-pitched racist violence and murder. Here Anderson's own words and images are more powerful when they are allowed to float free from Panzer's political anchors. And without a doubt, Henry Clay Anderson's own stories delivered in his vernacular cadence provide the best reading.
This is a gem of a book with plenty of material for the cultural anthropologist to the photographic historian with a handful of images to rival the aesthetics of Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Wee Gee or any of our great photographic documentarians. Henry Clay Anderson, welcome to the annals of photographic history and many thanks to all of those who introduced you.
The book is available through most real bookstores and on-line bookstores for between $24-$35. Published by Public Affairs.
Other Books and Catalogues Reviewed by Alex Novak
Prince and Other Dogs II, by Libby Hall. This is a sequel to a sweet book of dog images collected by an English woman (of course). You expect the English to like their dogs, and this little book illustrates this point admirably. While not masterworks, the images are cute, and any dog lover (or dog image lover) would appreciate the book as a holiday present. The images are largely 19th and early 20th-century. Published by Bloomsbury. Books and available for under $15.
In Praise of Nature: Ansel Adams and Photographers of the American West, by Alexander Lee Nyerges. This is a beautifully printed book of landscapes of the American West that was conceived to accompany a traveling exhibit of the same name. The images are certainly magnificent and the text is an interesting incite into the photographers and their subject--from the mid-19th century to today. The work of Adams, Weston, Gilpin, Watkins, Muybridge and many others make the book a great reference work as well. Highly recommended. Published by the Dayton Art Institute.
Most of the following have a charge associated with them, but it will be worth it.
The Shape of Survival: Photographs by John Cohen, produced by Stephen Daiter and Deborah Bell. I have always admired the many fine catalogues produced by Steve Daiter, and I feel guilty about not have written about any of them earlier. This one is a joint project with Steve and Deborah Bell, another good friend. While the images are of every-day Peru, that is like saying aliens visit us every day. Cohen, who spent years immersing himself in the Indian culture of Peru, has produced images that make you wonder again. These are a people so strange, yet so familiar. Huancayo, Peru is one such image. The mists of the mountain and time drift over these people that inhabit Cohen's dreams. You can reach Steve in Chicago at 312-787-3350 and Deborah in NYC at 212-691-3883 to find out more about these images.
Joseph Sterling's "Age of Adolescence" by Keith Davis, produced by Stephen Daiter. This is another one of Stephen's fine catalogues (see, Steve, I am trying to make amends) with a long article by Keith Davis, one of photography's most articulate voices. Sterling serves as another of the many photographers influenced by the Institute of Design in Chicago. His work is raw and creative, and worth a look.
Sun Pictures: Catalogue Eleven, by Larry Schaaf and produced by Hans Kraus, Jr. Hans and Larry have continued to team up to produce some of the most important photo literature on English photography available. The catalogues are in my picks of Must Catalogues in my Photo Collector's Library that is published on the I Photo Central web site. This one is no exception. It is ostensively about the early 19th-century team of Hill & Adamson, with side trips to early Australia. What it is really about is how Larry Schaaf's mind works as a researcher: a truly amazing trip. Great reproduction of very rare material and important information on another area of early English photography make this a must-have catalogue--what every photo dealer should strive for. Available from Hans at 212-794-2064. If you are lucky, you might still be able to catch his show on Hill & Adamson with a private appointment. Worth the trip up to the 70s in NYC.
Jamais Deux Fois le Même Regard, a Selection of Photographs from the Leon Herschtritt Archives. Actually Leon published this a year ago, but I am just getting around to thanking him for my copy. It is indeed a treasure feast of images printed in color, and it makes another great reference tool. Many of the images (both 19th and 20th-century) are well known and some are not, but all are iconic. Leon can be reached in Paris at 011-33-1-42-77-53-87.
We will consider other books and catalogues for review, but receipt is not a guarantee that we will review a book or catalogue.
The Photo Review Benefit Auction is once again having a sealed bid auction of unsold lots from this year's late fall auction. The Photo Review is a non-profit group that helps to further photography, so it is all for a good cause; and even better, there is no buyers' fees, so you can save that 20% that you would pay at some NY auction houses.
If you would like to participate, you can view the auction and bid online at http://www.photoreview.org/auction.htm . Only the available lots are now posted. Bidding closes at 5 p.m. EST on December 13, 2002, so that your purchases can reach you in time for holiday gift giving.
Alternatively, you can email the Photo Review and request a list of the remaining lots and their minimum prices.
Photo Review will also honor its "End This Auction" feature through the closing date: bid the high estimate and the auction ends immediately and the
lot is yours.