NEW YORK — The Thursday, October 21 sale of Fine Photographs at Swann Galleries will offer exceptional examples from the medium’s brightest practitioners. Works will include those made in the nineteenth century through the modern era. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The sale opens with images from the earliest years of the medium including travel photography from the Middle East and South Asia, as well as images made in the American West. Highlights include Peru, 1947. Congreso Panamericano de Arquitectos, a 1947 presentation album with 104 original photographs, 22 being by Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi. It is estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Also featured is a set of 14 photographs from 1863 of Big River mills and sweeping scenes of Mendocino, California by Carleton E. Watkins, estimated at $30,000-$45,000.
American modernism features photographs by Margaret Bourke-White, with The George Washington Bridge, a 1933 silver print estimated at $40,000-$60,000, and Otis Steel Mill, a 1927-29 silver print estimated at $8,000-$12,000. Group f/64 members Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Ansel Adams are on offer: Weston is present with Dunes Oceano, a 1936 silver print estimated at $18,000-$22,000, which leads a run of key studies of vegetables and shells by Weston that are typical to his oeuvre. Cunningham’s Junk, Oakland Waterfront, a 1933 silver print printed in the 1970s, estimated at $3,000-$4,500, and Adams’ Cathedral Peak and Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, a 1960 silver print printed in 1963 and estimated at $8,000-$12,000, make appearances.
Alma Lavenson will feature with Mooring Ropes, a 1931 silver print estimated at $7,000-$10,000. Also of note are works by the Mexican photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, including Fotografías, Mexico, 1945, an extremely scarce deluxe edition of Alvarez Bravo’s photobook which include three vintage prints: El Ensueno, Luz Restirada, and Dia de todos Muertos. The photobook is estimated at $12,000-$18,000, and a rare Manuel Alvarez Bravo portrait of Frida Kahlo carries an estimate of $5,000-$7,500.
Dorothea Lange’s iconic 1936 silver print Street Demonstration, San Francisco, estimated at $50,000-$70,000, headlines a selection of Depression-era and FSA photography. This period is also represented by Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott and more.
A select group of photographs from the Collection of Aron M. Mathieu, founder of Modern Photography magazine are included in the sale. Most notable is a run of silver prints by Alfred Eisenstaedt including Grand Hotel, Saint Moritz from 1932, estimated at $25,000-$35,000; Premiere at la Scala, Milan from 1934, estimated at $30,000-$45,000; and Woman and Grandson Viewing Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam from 1932, estimated at $3,000-$4,500. Additional works include images by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Ed Feingersh.
Portraiture and studies of the human form include Irving Penn’s 1957 image of Pablo Picasso peering from behind the collar of his jacket, estimated at $20,000-$30,000; Richard Avedon’s 1970 portrait of writer Jean Genet, estimated at $5,000-$7,500; and Gordon Park’s 1966 image of Muhammad Ali, printed in the 1990s and estimated at $2,000-$3,000. Also on offer are two photo booth portraits from Andy Warhol, works that informed his use of photography which demonstrate the intersection of his interests in celebrity, mass consumption, performance and seriality, together estimated at $10,000-$15,000. Studies of the human form include Max Dupain’s Sunbaker, a 1937 silver print printed in the 1970s, representing a rare appearance at auction for the work, which is estimated at $20,000-$30,000; and Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1986 silver print Tridham Das, estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
Groundbreaking color photography will include Stephen Shore’s 2nd St., Ashland, WI 1973 chromogenic print, estimated at $12,000-$18,000; Eliot Porter’s Intimate Landscapes, a 1979 portfolio with 10 dye-transfer prints, estimated at $7,000-$10,000; and The Indomitable Spirit: Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS, taken between 1979–89 and printed in 1989. The curated portfolio features nine of the original 10 prints by Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg and others, as well as the offset lithograph by Barbara Kruger. The lot is estimated at $12,000-$18,000.
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