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Early photographs, classic images, Avant-Garde works among top lots at Swann Galleries
From a group of 78 carte-de-visite portraits of Chinese subjects by various photographers, 1860s-70s. Sold for $60,000 (including buyer's premium).



NEW YORK, NY.- Outstanding results were achieved at Swann Galleries’ auction of Fine Photographs on February 26. The top lot in the auction was portfolio number one of Edward S. Curtis’s masterpiece, The North American Indian, containing 39 photogravures—some of which are among his most famous images—1907. It sold for $78,000*.

Daile Kaplan, Vice President and Director of Photographs & Photobooks at Swann, said, “The success of our sale reflects the global reach of the photography market. Asian collectors focused on rare 19th century images, which realized great prices, while American and European buyers cast a wide net, acquiring iconic images, rare albums and important portfolios.”

Among the Asian albums she referenced are several from the collection of ceramicist and Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Fong Chow. The highest selling of these were a collection of 78 carte-de-visite portraits of Chinese subjects by various photographers including John Thomson, 1860s-70s, which brought $60,000; as well as a group of 14 photographs of China by Thomas Child and Felice Beato, 1875-76, $28,800; and an album of 38 photographs of Korean subjects, 1899, $20,400.

Other notable vernacular or non fine-art examples included a binder containing 35 male physique photographs by Fred Kovert, silver prints, late 1940s, $18,000; and Warden’s Book, San Quentin, November through December 1917, filled with 80 mug shots, $13,200.

Avant-garde works by masters of the medium included André Kertész’s Distortion #128, a mind-bending nude that appeared on the cover of the auction catalogue, silver print, 1931-33, $60,000; Man Ray’s Marcel Duchamp’s “A Regarder d’Un Oeil, De Prés Pendant Presque Une Heure,” carte-postale, 1920, $16,800; and Brassaï’s Transmutations, complete portfolio with 12 cliché verre photographs, silver prints, 1967, $15,600.

Several classic images by the best known of 20th century photographers drew interest, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Trafalgar Square on the Day of the Coronation of King George VI, London, silver print, 1937, printed late 1950s, inscribed to a colleague at Magnum, $24,000, and his portrait of Alberto Giacometti at La Galerie Maeght, Paris, France, silver print, 1961, printed late 1980s, $18,000; W. Eugene Smith’s Walk to Paradise Garden, ferrotyped silver print, 1946, printed 1972, $16,800; Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Children at a Puppet Theatre, Paris, silver print, 1963, printed late 1990s, $15,600; Berenice Abbott’s Pike and Henry Streets (street scene with the Manhattan Bridge), silver contact print, 1936, $12,000; and Helen Levitt’s New York (boys playing over a doorway), silver print, circa 1940, printed circa 1980, $12,000.

More contemporary were Joel Sternfeld’s McLean, Virginia, December 4, 1978, dye-transfer print, 1978, printed 1982, $19,200; Robert ParkeHarrison, Listening to the Earth, complete set of 10 platinum prints, 2004, $18,000; William Wegman, The Puppy Portfolio, with 8 chromogenic prints, 1983-89, printed 1989, $12,000.

Other portfolios of note included Karl Struss: A Portfolio, 1909/29, with 15 platinum prints, printed 1979, $12,000; and Bert Stern’s The Last Sitting portfolio, with 10 chromogenic prints of Marilyn Monroe, 1962, $22,800.










Today's News

March 16, 2013

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Picasso sells; Kanye West, Ronald Lauder and Sheikh Saud al Thani browse $5.2 billion fair

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W Magazine and Dallas Museum of Art hosted a private dinner for Cindy Sherman

Remnants of porcelain set destroyed by rampaging Red Army for sale at Bonhams

Bonhams to sell painting by Derek Gardner depicting last battle of gallant Frenchman

Bonhams appoint Laure Raibaut as Senior Specialist of Modern & Contemporary Art in Hong Kong

Matt Calderwood's first exhibition in a public gallery in the UK opens at BALTIC

First exhibition by innovative designers Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh opens at the Jewish Museum

Early photographs, classic images, Avant-Garde works among top lots at Swann Galleries

Liquid Land: Book of photographs by Rena Effendi shows the barren, liquid land of Absheron

Tate Americas Foundation hosts Third Artists Dinner in New York to be held on May 8, 2013

Franz Liszt letters get record price at Geneva auction

New work by Los Angeles based artist Steve Schmidt on view at Edward Cella Art + Architecture

175 lots of art glass, European ivory, French furniture & fine art prints will be sold at A.B. Levy's sale

Tsar Nicholas II's rare vintages highlight Heritage Auctions' March wine event




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