NEW YORK – Fifty famous images produced by the most significant names in photography are offered in a Jasper52 auction dubbed Vintage Gravures: The Premium Sale, which will take place online Wednesday, Nov. 21. Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process used for rich, high-quality photo reproduction. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
A close-up of a woman’s face that is dotted with five round crystals below her eyes is one of Man Ray’s famous images (above). Titled Glass Tears, the image is from a French portfolio printed in the 1930s. Ray, who was born Emmanual Radnitzke on Aug. 27, 1890, in Philadelphia, was a photographer, painter and filmmaker. He was the only American to play a major role in both the Dada and Surrealist movements. The image measures 8½ by 6½ inches and is expected to sell for $2,000 to $2,400.
Another woman’s face in the auction catalog is likely recognized only by ardent classic movie fans as Gloria Swanson. Throughout the 1920s, Swanson was Hollywood’s top box office attraction as well as a fashion icon. Years after her fame had faded, she was cast in the lead role in the critically acclaimed 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, in which she played Norma Desmond, a reclusive silent film star. The portrait of Swanson (below) is by Edward Steichen (1879-1973), an American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator. The 7½-by-9½-inch gravure is from a French portfolio printed in the 1930s.
American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is famous for his black and white landscapes of the American West. The lone Adams image in the auction is titled Bear Valley, California. Rather than a vista of the beautiful Central Sierra Mountains, Adams focused on a window and weathered siding of an old building in the valley. The 10-by-13 image was printed in Switzerland in the early 1970s. This single image is from a limited-edition portfolio, 39/1000. Only the first 50 were signed by the photographer.
Walker Evans (1903-1975) was an American photographer and photojournalist best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration documenting the effects of the Great Depression. Two of his photographs are offered in the auction, the more valuable of which is an untitled abstract showing rich texture. Like the aforementioned Ansel Adams image, this image was printed in Switzerland in the early 1970s. This print is from a limited-edition portfolio, 39/1000 and was hand-signed by the photographer.
Another portrait from this portfolio is Yousuf Karsh’s portrait of Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), who is regarded by many as the father of communications and media studies and prophet of the information age. He is known for coining the expression “the medium is the message” and the term global village, and for predicting the World Wide Web almost 30 years before it was invented. Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) was a renowned Armenian-Canadian portrait photographer. His portraits are distinguished by a “distinct style in his theatrical lighting,” Metropolitan Museum of Art. His subjects include icons of Hollywood, art, literature and politics.
A 9-by-10½-inch photogravure consisting of six similar images of artist Andy Warhol holding a Polaroid instant camera is by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani (b. 1942). The composite portrait was personally signed by the artist and is from the limited edition portfolio numbered 39/1000.
Other famous photographers represented in the auction catalog include Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Karl Otto Lagerfeld, Helmut Newton, Cecil Beaton and Edward Weston.
The Jasper52 auction Vintage Gravures: The Premium Sale will begin Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 4 p.m. Eastern time.