Swann Auction Galleries' Monday, October 15th sale of Important 19th & 20th Century Photographs will be held at 2:30 p.m. at 104 East 25th St., New York City. The auction house has not raised its buyer's premium (currently 20%) as have other NYC auction houses.
A collection of 34 nautical photographs by prominent American and European photographers will be featured. The collection was built over the course of 25 years by marine photography enthusiast Charles W. Sahlman of Tampa, FL and has been exhibited at the Tampa Museum of Art.
A strong selection of 19th-century English photographers' works in the auction includes a salted paper print from a calotype negative by the inventor of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot. It is a very early (circa 1842-45) image of the "Hungerford Suspension Bridge", with several docked boats in the foreground (estimate: $15,000-25,000). Lewis Carroll's large format "Fair Rosamond" ($25,000-35,000) shows this noted photographer of children at his very best. This print was exhibited in San Francisco MoMA show's on Carroll and was published in the accompanying book, "Dreaming in Pictures". And Francis Frith's mammoth plate print of "The Temple of Komumboo" ($9,000-12,000) is another prime example of early British travel photography. Displaying the fallen and upright columns of this Egyptian temple, the image has a monumentality that is striking.
Other European photographers are also represented here, including Gustave LeGray's stunning "Brig on the Water", large-format albumen print, 1856 ($25,000-35,000), and two important Eugene Cuvelier photographs, including the unique and rich salt print of an 1862 image of a "Cart on the Road" ($20,000-30,000) and the circa 1860 albumen print of "Glade" ($6,000-9,000)--both incredible bargains against Cuvelier's Spring auction prices earlier this year.
American 19th-century landscape work also features strongly in this auction, including Timothy H. O'Sullivan's "Black Canyon, Colorado River from Camp 8, Looking Above", albumen print, 1871, from the Wheeler Geological Survey of the Western U.S. ($9,000-12,000); two mammoth plate albumen prints by Carleton Watkins--"The Devil's Canyon Geysers" ($20,000-30,000) and "Golden Gate Entrance to Harbor of San Francisco" ($15,000-25,000); a spectacular and perhaps unique panoramic view of a train heading east on the newly reconstructed Rockville Bridge in Pennsylvania by Philadelphia photographer Frederick Gutekunst ($15,000-25,000); and Frederick I. Monsen's sweeping vision of the "Laguna Indian Pueblo, New Mexico" in a brown-toned silver print from the 1890s (($2,500-3,500).
Also featured are Civil War photographers, including George N. Barnard's "Savannah, Georgia No. 2", gold-toned albumen print, 1866, from his photographic documentation of Sherman's Campaign ($2,500-3,500); and a rich, virtually perfect print of " Mortar Dictator, Front of Peterburg, October 1864" by David Knox and from Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War, pl.75 ($2,500-3,500).
Other turn-of-the-century work includes the lyrical English photographer Peter Henry Emerson's "Marshman Going to Cut Schoof-Stuff", platinum print, circa 1885, from his masterwork "Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads", ($4,000-6,000); and the renowned Antarctic photographer Herbert G. Ponting's majestic view of "The Terra Nova Icebound in the Pack", oversize green-toned carbon print, 1914, taken during Admiral Scott's ill-fated expedition ($15,000-25,000).
From the early 20th century are Karl F. Struss's "Sailboats, New England", platinum print, 1910 ($4,000-6,000); Alfred Steiglitz's classic image "The Steerage" that appeared in his publication Camera Work, photogravure on Japan tissue, 1911 ($5,000-7,500); a group of seven panoramic and large-scale albumen and platinum prints of New York City ($6,000-9,000) ; and Eugene Atget's "La Rochelle-Bateau", arrowroot print, circa 1920 ($7,000-10,000).
Modernist examples include master photographer Edward Weston's abstraction depicting the bow of a "Boat in San Francisco Bay", silver print, 1925 ($25,000-35,000); German artist Ernst Scheel's New Objectivity view of "Schiffmaste" from below, oversize silver print, circa 1930 ($10,000-15,000); Margaret Bourke-White's powerful scene of a sailor "Climbing the Mast", warm-toned silver print, 1934 ($9,000-12,000); and Manuel Alvarez Bravo's 1938 Untitled (Window in Wall), a silver print which came from the Andre Breton estate but was not in the auction ($20,000-30,000).
Other striking modernist views include Brassaï's "Regatte sur la Seine", ferrotyped silver print, 1933, printed 1940 ($5,000-7,500); Marta Hoeppfner's 1935 original and unique photographic collage "Sudden Fright" ($3,000-4,000); Brett Weston's 1946 silver print of "Manhattan Bridge" ($4,000-6,000); and Robert Frank's 1956 silver print of "Miami Beach" ($30,000-40,000).
Among journalistic images are Berenice Abbott's "Tusitala, North River and 156th St., Manhattan", silver print, 1937 ($4,000-6,000); and Andreas Feininger's "Brooklyn Bridge and Fulton Fish Market", and "New York, Fulton Fish Market", ferrotyped silver prints, 1940 ($3,000-4,500 each).
The auction also features several important albums, portfolios and books, including Edward S. Curtis' magnus opus, "The North American Indian", with 16 complete portfolios containing his large-format magisterial photogravures and 16 fully illustrated text volumes in handsome morocco bindings ($800,000-1,200,000). Besides the Curtis portfolio, other notable portfolios include Doris Ulmann's "Roll, Jordan, Roll", which was issued with an extra signed photogravure ($25,000-35,000), and a spectacular presentation album of 100 11 x 9-inch cyanotypes of the 1900 Paris Exposition attributed to Albert Levy ($10,000-15,000).
The preview will be held from 10/8, Monday, by appointment; from Tuesday, 10/9 to Friday, 10/12 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10/13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Monday, 10/15 from 10 a.m.-noon. The actual auction hours are on Monday, 10/15 beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Swann Auction Galleries is at 104 East 25th St., New York, NY, 10010; phone: 1-212-254-4710, ext. 21; email: email@example.com . You can order the illustrated catalogue for $35 from Swann, or view it online at http://www.swanngalleries.com .