Swann to offer 1907 Edward S. Curtis portfolio at April 14 sale

Edward S. Curtis, Portfolio I, from The North American Indian, est. $60,000-$90,000

Edward S. Curtis, Portfolio I, from The North American Indian, est. $60,000-$90,000

NEW YORK — Swann Auction Galleries’ sale of Fine Photographs, scheduled for Thursday, April 14, will feature a selection of classical 20th-century prints alongside contemporary works. Headlining the sale is Edward S. Curtis’s seminal Portfolio I from 1907 — the first portfolio in Curtis’s monumental project, The North American Indian. It carries an estimate of $60,000-$90,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

From an unfulfilled edition of 500, the portfolio comes to auction complete with 39 photogravures and features many of Curtis’s most important and notable images, including his portrait of Geronimo, Canon de Chelly, A Chief of the Desert – Navaho, Son of the Desert — Navaho, The Vanishing Race, and many more. Also by Curtis is Volume I of the North American Indian, dating to 1907 and estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

An exceptional offering of silver prints by Ansel Adams includes the photographer’s most recognizable images: Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, shot in 1926 and printed 1973-77, estimated at $20,000-$30,000; Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, California taken in 1927, printed 1973-77, and estimated at $10,000-$15,000; El Capitan, Winter, Sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California, dating to 1968, printed 1973-77, and estimated at $7,000-$10,000.

Complimenting Ansel Adams’ classic, stark black-and-white imagery of America’s national parks is the contemporary work Groundspeed (Harrogate Flower) #9 by Australian artist Rosemary Laing. Estimated at $6,000-$9,000, the 2001 chromogenic print is emblematic of Laing’s cinematic style and her focus on the occupation and ownership of land. Additional landscape works include those by Harry Callahan, Edward Weston and Richard Misrach.

In addition to photographs by Barbara Morgan, Bruce Davidson, Lawrence Schiller and Ruth Bernhard, two stand-out images by Horst P. Horst are on offer: Hands, Hands, a platinum-palladium print taken in 1941 and printed in the 1980s, estimated at $18,000-$22,000; and Carmen Face Massage, New York, a platinum-palladium print from 1946 that was printed in the 1980s and is estimated at $12,000-$18,000.

Contemporary photography includes LaToya Ruby Frazier’s Grandma Ruby and Me in Her Livingroom, a 2007 archival inkjet print printed in 2018 and estimated at $4,000-$6,000; an edition of a 1975 self-portrait by Cindy Sherman that was originally created for the Archives of American Art, estimated at $2,500-$3,500; and Yasumasa Morimura’s Daughter of Art History (Little Princess A), a chromogenic print dating to 1990, printed in 2003 and estimated at $1,000-$1,500; as well as works by David Graham, Sally Mann and Annie Leibovitz.

Concluding the sale is a selection of vernacular albums and archives, including important early albums from China and India, as well as travelogs, industrial archives, theatrical cabinet cards and photo-pictorial playing cards. Also of note are selections of important photojournalism with images from the Vietnam War, OJ Simpson’s infamous trial, and portraits of great American labor leaders and writers.


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