Auction of the World's Largest Collection of Original Vintage Glamour Photography

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Auction of the World's Largest Collection of Original Vintage Glamour Photography
Jean Harlow. Photo: Courtesy Profiles in History.

CALABASAS, CA.- George Hurrell’s iconic portrait of Jean Harlow on a white bearskin rug created for Vanity Fair magazine now spearheads the largest auction of Glamour Photography in art history. The original camera negative, as well as a custom print of this incomparable photograph is regarded as Hurrell’s most important portrait and is estimated to sell for well over $20,000. The multi-million dollar Michael H. Epstein and Scott E. Schwimer collection, which contains tens of thousands of the best examples of Hollywood fine art, will be auctioned by Profiles in History March 26-27, 2010. Worldwide bidding begins at 12:00pm (noon) PST both days. Bids can be placed in person, via mail, phone, fax or live on the Internet by visiting or

The Michael H. Epstein and Scott E. Schwimer collection is recognized as the world’s largest collection of George Hurrell and includes over 1,000 original vintage photographs as well as 500 camera negatives. Featured are dozens of the most valuable 8 x 10 camera negatives from Hurrell’s career. Included is the bearskin rug portrait of Ann Sheridan as well as the negatives used for the Hurrell Portfolios together with those of Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake , and Johnny Weissmuller from Tarzan, which is the most symbolic ever taken of a male subject in Hollywood .

The sequence of photographic lots include most of the heralded stars of Hollywood ’s golden age, including Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, and Norma Shearer. Incorporated are two custom photographs of Ramon Novarro taken in 1929 from Hurrell’s first sitting with a Hollywood subject.

In addition to the Glamour photography collection, there are many significant master prints by Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Cindy Sherman, Julius Schulman, Jock Sturges, Howard Zieff and Edward Steichen. Moreover, the collection contains an incomparable assemblage of Len Prince and Mel Roberts works as well as fine art by Andy Warhol, Richard Duardo, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Beatrice Wood and numerous others.

Epstein and Schwimer recently decided to open up their vaults and for the first time will be selling their collected photographic and fine art masterpieces to benefit many of the charitable organizations they passionately support, primarily the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center on which Epstein served as board member for 7 years.

Epstein comments, “It’s time for Scott and me to share the fruits of our 25-year collection with the rest of the world. We want others to enjoy and embrace the most rewarding field of collecting with which we can ever imagine being involved.” Epstein continues, “There is no better organization than Profiles in History to entrust our collection. I am certain that Scott and I will be back collecting once this auction is over.”

Also included in the auction will be several hundred photographs and camera negatives from Hurrell’s contemporaries in Hollywood , featuring a comprehensive sequence from Clarence Sinclair Bull, who was Hurrell’s contemporary and stylistic rival at M-G-M. Included are dozens of master images from Bull’s most important subject, Greta Garbo. There are dozens of rare prints of some of the most important Hollywood subjects including a Louise Brooks from 1925 before she signed with Paramount , Marlene Dietrich by Edward Steichen, and unseen prints of a luminous teenaged Marilyn Monroe.

Len Prince is one of the few master photographers utilizing the large-format 8 x 10 view camera and detailed lighting in the fashion of Hurrell, Bull and Richard Avedon during their peak years. Prince rarely uses the digital format and prefers the "old school" refinement of shadows and highlights achieved by the rigorous demands of 8 x10 view cameras; he is recognized as one of the foremost glamour photographers. Among his celebrated subjects are some of the world's most beautiful women including his most recent muse, Jessie Mann, daughter of acclaimed photographer, Sally Mann. Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst, Teri Hatcher, Kelly Klein and Sarah Jessica Parker are also featured. One of the most comprehensive collections of Prince's work ever to be offered at auction, Epstein and Schwimer's personal collection includes many custom prints created for them by Len and Charlie Griffin. Prince’s prints are almost all in expensive and archival permanent selenium toned papers, which produce rich deep tones.

The Harry Langdon archive includes the life work of a master photographer from the large-format fashion work of the 1960's to the present. He has photographed virtually every Hollywood celebrity from the magical Angelina Jolie at 15, to Ann-Margret, Halle Berry , Cher and Diana Ross at their most memorable. Also included, a young George Clooney, Will Smith, Rock Hudson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, all during their prime. Langdon’s impeccably high standard and style is widely recognized throughout the world. Included in the sale of this vast archive covering forty years of work in black-and-white and lush color includes approximately 50,000 vintage prints, black-and-white and color negatives and transparencies, as well as full copyrights.

The complete Mel Roberts archive will be also sold intact including several thousand vintage prints with many unpublished, black and white negatives and color transparencies, as well as his personal video collection. All reproduction rights and copyrights for his name and photographs will also be part of this archive. First published in a physique magazine in the early 1960's, Roberts took over 50,000 photographs of nearly 200 male models, many of them friends and lovers. They were not the perfectly bodied men common in the physique magazines of the time but tanned in the California sun and casually posed by the pool or beach. In 2003, The New Yorker described his “witty Technicolor pictures” as “capturing all the giddy delights of being young during summertime...” Mel Roberts’ photographs are included in many notable collections in Hollywood .

California | Vintage Glamour Photography | Michael H. Epstein | Scott E. Schwimer |

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