photograph is the bi-monthly USA guide to photo-based art with listings of exhibitions, private dealers and resources. There are also columns, a calendar of events, and illustrated advertising from galleries, museums, dealers, auctions houses and photographers.
Phillips de Pury and Company kicked off the fall auction season on October 4 with two sales: a general owners photographs sale and a sale it described as “a private East Coast collection” called the Arc of Photography. The private-owners sale fetched $2,345,375, and the general photographs sale made a total of $4,583,875. Together, the sales presented works ranging from the historical -- Pierrot with Fruit, a salt print by Nadar and Adrien Tournachon, 1854-55, which brought $542,500, well above the $200,000 high estimate – to the contemporary -- Candida Hofer’s Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal Den Haag III, 2004, from her “Libraries” series, which brought $104,500. The top lot in the general sale (and that sale’s cover lot) was The Beatles Portfolio, psychedelic dye-transfer prints of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, by Richard Avedon, from 1967, which sold for $722,500.
Sotheby’s photography sale in New York on October 5 totaled $4,754,376 and was 71.5 percent sold by lot. The top lot was a complete set of Camera Work, which sold for $398,500, an auction record for a set of Camera Work journals. Pierre Dubreuil’s The First Round, a close up of a very young, fresh-faced boxer holding up his gloves, brought $314,500, a record for that artist at auction. And Ansel Adams’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, perhaps his most famous image, brought $362,500. Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook of the War sold for $158,500 to a private collector.
The first Christie’s photography sale at which Debra Bell was at the helm was 73 percent sold by lot and brought $4,811,625. Works by two of the medium’s masters, Ansel Adams and Robert Frank, peppered the top ten list, but ten prints from Vik Muniz’s series The Best of Life, 1989-1995, brought the second highest price, $170,500. The photographs are of drawings Muniz made from memory based on famous Life magazine covers. Adams’s Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, five gelatin silver prints from 1961, was the top lot, bringing $242,500. Robert Frank’s London, of a child running down the street, away from the open door of a hearse, 1951 (printed in the 1970s), sold for $116,500. On October 7, Christie’s held the fifth sale of the Bruce and Nancy Berman Collection, this one focused on American landscapes. The sale totaled $1,001,938, with 80 percent sold by lot. The top lot was Dorthea Lange’s The Human Face, 1933, of a young boy, his hair falling into his face, sold for $40,000, well above the $7,000 high estimate.