Christie's to offer Photographs & Fashion Photographs from the Susanne von Meiss Collection

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Christie's to offer Photographs & Fashion Photographs from the Susanne von Meiss Collection
Marina Abramovic (B. 1946), The Scream, 2013-2014. C-print, 53 x 90 ½ in. Estimate: €30,000-50,000 © Courtesy of the Marina Abramovic Archives /ADAGP, Paris 2022.

PARIS.- Christie’s will present Photographs, an auction taking place in Paris on 24 May. The 124 works by leading photographers from the 20th and 21st century such as Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Nan Goldin, Candida Hofer, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Marina Abramovic are estimated between €1,3 and 1,9 million.

Fashion Photographs from the Susanne von Meiss Collection will be a key part of the auction with works by established fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon, Sarah Moon and Edward Steichen; as well as lesser known artists like Tomio Seike, Franck Christen and Len Prince. This well informed collection, covers the history of this specific genre over the past 80 years.

Eiffel Tower (1974) an iconic print by Helmut Newton will be the top lot of the sale. The work contains all the artist’s motifs: desire, power and sensuality. Much sought after by collectors, the rare large-format copy is estimated at €300,000-500,000. Usually working outside the studio, the artist chose lavish places of opulence for his sophisticated settings whether in the street, in a mansion or in a car. Six other prints typical of Newton’s black and white production will be offered including Iman, Monte Carlo (€12,000-18,000) and Raquel Welch in her garden (€25,000-35,000). Sleek and elegant figures from the fashion world, a seminal influence on the artist’s world, can be seen in each one of them.

A subversive figure in New York during the 60s and 70s, Robert Mapplethorpe revolutionised the medium by combining classical modes of representation (such as remarkable black and white portraits) with an erotic approach. The sale features the photographer’s favourite themes, such as still life, with Lily, 1984 (estimate: €12,000-18,000) and Pheasant (€8,000-12,000), a display of the artist’s unparalleled mastery in using unlimited shades of grey. Mixing beauty and strength, Lisa Lyon (American Flag), a beautiful and sculptural portrait of the famous female bodybuilder holding an American flag will also be offered at auction (estimate: €20,000-30,000).

An essential name in the history of photography, Irving Penn was also a Vogue star photographer. Two of his most iconic series will be highlighted in the sale. In Small Trades, the photographer portrays the 20th-century working class in metropolises such as New York, Paris and London. The exceptional print Station Sweeper, estimated at €70,000-90,000 belongs to this first series. Still life is famously another of his favourite themes. Exploring the visual power of ordinary objects with photography, Irving Penn completely reshaped a genre initially destined for painters. From this body of work, the sale features Cigarettes n°17 and Cigarettes n°42, both estimated €20,000-30,000.

Among contemporary photographers, the Photographs department has selected a work by Marina Abramovic, a forerunner and a beacon of performance art. Well known for her sometimes extreme approach Abramovic tirelessly challenges the body’s status and her relationship with the audience. In 2013, she reinterpreted Edvard Munch’s Le Cri, with The Scream, 2013-2014 (estimate: €30,000-50,000). The photograph was taken at the exact same place where the famous painting was executed – on the heights of Oslo, offering a contemporary vision on the timeless masterpiece.

Bettina Rheims is another female photographer in the sale. Femininity is at the core of her most popular works on sexual identity. In Gina and Elizabeth kissing, 1995, she explores female sexuality (estimate: €10,000-15,000) in a direct reminder of Chambre Close, a book published by Rheims and a parody of the first pornographic photographs.

Fashion photographs from the Susanne von Meiss collection

Another highlight of this auction will be the sale of 113 prints from the Susanne von Meiss Collection. Two vintage photographs by Richard Avedon bought in the 90s were the initial inspiration for the Swiss collector. From her eclectic collection, the works selected for the sale offer the best of fashion photography over the past 100 years spanning from the late 1930s with works by Ilse Bing, Edward Steichen and Erwin Blumenfeld to the early 21st century with works by Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton. Collectors will also be able to acquire an iconic print by Helmut Newton, Yves Saint Laurent, French Vogue, Rue Aubriot, Paris, 1975 (estimated at €30,000-40,000) or a beautiful and delicate image by Horst P. Horst Mainbocher Corset (estimated at €10,000-15,000).

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