“The whole business has grown insanely in the last years,” said Reinhart. He modestly calls himself “sort of a film maker,” but declined to declare a job title because his work at WestLicht is so varied.
“First came LeicaShop, founded by Peter Coeln about 18 years ago,” explained Reinhart. “It is not associated with the Leica company, but he (Coeln) has a good relationship with the company and is the only one in the world allowed to use the Leica name in this way.”
The sale of new and vintage Leicas and cameras from every major camera manufacturer expanded to include photographic accoutrement and delightful collectibles such as spy, stereo and panorama cameras, magic lanterns, and even some camera literature and advertising.
Coeln intended a symbiosis between the technical and the artistic, the informational and the creative, when he started WestLicht as a photography gallery in 2001.
“The auctions started about eight years ago and were almost an immediate success,” said Reinhart.
Not that the beginning wasn’t rocky. Twenty minutes before the start of the first auction the auctioneer had a heart attack and had to go to the hospital.
“Usually people are asking, ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’ We had to go out into the audience and ask, ‘Is there an auctioneer in the house?’” recalled Reinhart.
Fortunately James E Cornwall, who had recently closed his own photography auction house in Cologne, was in the audience and volunteered to take over.
“He ended up staying on as auctioneer for 4-5 years, which was a really good transition for the customers of Cornwall’s,” noted Reinhart.
WestLicht conducts camera and photography auctions. Since the first image of reality was captured in 1826, the photographic process has reinvented its self many times: Daguerreotypes, glass negatives, large format film photography, 35mm film, Polaroid, pocket cameras, disc cameras, digital cameras. WestLicht’s customers are as diverse as the medium.
“With the camera equipment, it’s a close, small society of enthusiasts. They have their thing and they communicate amongst themselves,” said Reinhart. “I know people who have to have everything. They have museums in their basements with everything tagged. Others are interested in the antique cameras and lenses because they produce a very special kind of look.”
The photography field, noted Reinhart, is much more open to collectors. Customers at WestLicht photo auctions may be searching for a certain genre such as trains or landscapes; photos taken by a favorite photographer; photos made using a specific photographic process, or even classic photographs as an investment.
The photographic art of tomorrow is being generated today. Reinhart is enthusiastic about the small group of 20-somethings who are very interested in using analog cameras and darkrooms to create their art. He said there is also a resurgence of interest in the Polaroid method.
“Analog photography still exists and people still care about it,” said Reinhart. “There is a return to handcraft in photography – a lot of good work is being done.”
WestLicht will hold separate camera and photography auctions on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Highlight of the camera auction is a black lacquered Leica MP2 with a Wetzlar motor, one of only six examples made in the late 1950s, estimated price 150,000 to 180,000 Euro. A tiny 1890 Lancaster Watch Camera, shaped like a telescoping pocket watch, is expected to fetch 50,000-60,000 Euro ($69,800-$83,760).
The photo auction features an international array of work by Hans Watzek, Elliott Erwitt, Nobuyoshi Araki and many others. To view online auction catalogs, visit www.westlicht.at. For camera retail sales, visit www.leicashop.com
Art and Auctionhouse Herr, Cologne, joins LiveAuctioneers
LiveAuctioneers welcomes art auction house Herr, Cologne, as a new member of our auction-house family. The company has been serving the Cologne area since 1982. Herr Auctions specializes in Jugendstil, Art Déco, Bauhaus und 20th Century Design. Their next auction is on Nov.11. Part one includes handcrafted works of silver, metal, jewelry, porcelain, ceramic and glass, plus sculptures, paintings and prints. A special highlight is the 175-piece private collection of Jugendstil objects, featuring 154 pieces of Jugendstil glass. Part two of the Nov. 20 auction offers 20th-century design furniture, lighting and accessories. For more information please visit www.Herr-Auktionen.de
5.11. Auktionhaus Eppli, Stuttgart: Benefit auction to support the Wildpark Pforzheime. Fine jewelry and wares of every type. www.Eppli.com
5.11. Galerie Widmer Auktionen, St. Gallen: Selected Art Works; 19.11. Paintings by Carl Walter Liner. www.GalerieWidmer.ch
10.-13. 11. Dobiaschofsky Auktionen, Bern: Paintings from the 15th to 21st century. Prints and Adverstisements, Furniture, Antiques and Jewelry. www.Dobiaschofsky.com
11.11. Dr. Fischer Kunstauktionen, Heilbronn: Icons, Russian Art & Fabergé. www.Auctions-Fischer.de
11.11. Von Zezschwitz Kunst und Design, Munich: Modern und Contemporary Art. www.Von-Zezschwitz.de
14.11. Sotheby’s, Geneva: Important Watches; 16.11. Exquisite Jewelry & an Outstanding Pink Diamond. www.Sothebys.com
17.- 20. 11. David Feldman Philatelists, Genf: themed auctions including World Rarities & Collections; Olympics & Tennis; France, Great Britain and the Colonies; Switzerland and Mexico. www.DavidFeldman.com
19.11. Doebele Kunstauktionen, Berlin: Art of the 20th and 21st centuries. www.fine-art-doebele.de
20. 11. Auction Team Breker, Köln: Scientific and Technical; Office Antiques; and Toys and Doll Automats. www.Breker.com
22. 11. Ketterer Kunst, Hamburg: Maritime and North German Art; Valuable Books, Manuscripts, Autographs, Decorative Graphics. www.KettererKunst.de
2.-4. 12. Auktionshaus Kaupp, Sulzburg: Art Handcrafts; Jewelry and Watches; Paintings, Antiques & Furniture; Modern and Contemporary Art. www.Kaupp.de
3.-4. 12. Leipziger Münzhandlung und Auktion Heidrun Höhn, Leipzig. www.Muenzen-Leipzig.de
4. 12. Ketterer Kunst, Munich: Modern Art; After 1945/Contemporary Art. www.KettererKunst.de
4. 12. Schmidt Kunstauktionen, Dresden: Artwork of the 17th to 21st Centuries. www.Schmidt-Auktionen.de
6.12. Sotheby’s, Zurich: Swiss Art. www.sothebys.com
7.12. Quittenbaum Kustauktionen, Munich: Studio Glass; Highlights of Design History VII – Table Culture. www.Quittenbaum.de
9.12. Von Zezschwitz Kunst und Design, Munich: Italien Design. www. von-zezschwitz.de
ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE