Lot 210, "Saipan," is not a world-famous image, but it ought to be. The tightly cropped image is a classic war photograph that combines the grime of the foreground figure and his canteen with the tense alertness of the background figure who has his back to the camera, perhaps on look-out and protecting his fellow solider. Taken by W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) in 1944, and printed circa 1960-1969, it is a gelatin silver print that measures 13.3 by 10.6 inches. It has a modest estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It was bought in.After working for local newspapers as a photographer in Wichita, his hometown, Smith got a job at Newsweek magazine but developed a reputation as "a thorny personality" and was fired for not using medium format cameras. He then joined Life magazine but he soon resigned from it and in 1942 he was wounded "while simulating battle conditions for Parade magazine," according to Wikipedia entry, and, after working for Ziff-Davis Publishing and then Life magazine again and in World War II was hit by mortar fire on Okinawa and then went back to Life magazine from 1947 to 1954 when he objected to how the magazine used his pictures of Albert Schweitzer. He then joined the Magnum photo agency.
He joined the French Army in 1939 as a Corporal in the Film and Photo unit but the next year was captured by the Germans and spent 35 months in prison camps doing forced labor. His third attempt to escape was successful and he started working for the underground and eventually covered the Liberation of France.
At the end of the war he was asked by the American Office of War Information to make a documentary about returning French prisoners and displaced persons, which was released in the United States in 1947 and led to his getting a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art timed with the publication of his first book that was written by Lincoln Kirstein and Beaumont Newhall.In 1947 he became one of the founders of Magum, Capa's brainchild and a cooperative picture agency owned by its members and he was assigned to cover China and India. His coverage of Gandhi's funeral in 1948 received wide notice as did his coverage of the end of the Chinese Civil War.
Kertész emigrated to Paris in September 1925, In Paris he found critical and commercial success. In 1927 Kertész was the first photographer to have a one-man exhibition; Jan Slivinsky presented 30 of his photographs at the "Sacre du Printemps Gallery".
Over the next years, Kertész was featured in both solo exhibits and group shows. In 1932 at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York, the price of Kertész's proofs was set at $20, a large sum of money during the Great Depression.
Kertész and other Hungarian artists formed a synergistic circle; he was featured in exhibits with some of them later in his life. Visiting his sculptor friends, he was fascinated by the Cubism movement. He created portraits of painters Piet Mondrian, and Marc Chagall, the writer Colette, and film-maker Sergei Eisenstein. In 1928, Kertész switched from using plate-glass cameras to a Leica.
Kertész was published in French magazines such as Vu and Art et Medecine, for which his work was used for numerous covers. His greatest journalistic collaboration was with Lucien Vogel, the French editor and publisher of Vu. Vogel published his work as photo essays, letting Kertész report on various subjects through images. The photographer was intrigued with the variety of topics assigned by Vogel.
In 1933 Kertész was commissioned for the series, Distortion, about 200 photographs of Najinskaya Verackhatz and Nadia Kasine, two models portrayed nude and in various poses, with their reflections caught in a combination of distortion mirrors, similar to a carnival's house of mirrors. In some photographs, only certain limbs or features were visible in the reflection. Some images also appeared in the 2 March issue of the "girly magazine" Le Sourire and in the 15 September 1933 issue of Arts et métiers graphique. Later that year, Kertész published the book Distortions, a collection of the work.
The couple arrived in New York on 15 October 1936, with Kertész intent on finding fame in Americ. Kertész found life in America more difficult than he had imagined, beginning a period which he later referred to as the "absolute tragedy" Deprived of his artist friends, he found that Americans rejected having their photos taken on the street. Soon after his arrival, Kertész approached Beaumont Newhall, director of the photographic department at the Museum of Modern Art, who was preparing a show entitled Photography 1839–1937. Offering Newhall some of his Distortions photographs, Kertesz bristled at his criticism, but Newhall did exhibit the photographs. In December 1937 Kertész had his first solo show in New York at the PM Gallery.
The Keystone agency, who had offered him offsite work, instead required him to stay in the company's studio. Kertész tried to return to France to visit, but had no money. By the time he had saved enough, World War II had begun and travel to France was nearly impossible. His struggles with English only compounded his problems. Years after learning to speak French in Paris, it was difficult for him to confronted another new language. The lack of fluent language added to his feeling like an outsider.
Frustrated, Kertész left Keystone after Prince left the company in 1937. He was commissioned by the magazine Harper's Bazaar for an article on the Saks Fifth Avenue department store in their April 1937 issue. The magazine continued to use him in further issues, and he also took commissions from Town and Country to supplement his income. Vogue invited the photographer to work for the magazine, but he declined, believing it was not appropriate work for him. He instead chose to work for Life magazine, starting with a piece called The Tugboat. Despite orders, he photographed more than just tugboats, including works on the entire harbor and its activities. Life refused to publish the unauthorized photographs. Kertész resented the constraints on his curiosity.
In 25 October 1938, Look printed a series of Kertesz photographs, entitled A Fireman Goes to School; but credited them mistakenly to Ernie Prince, his former boss. Infuriated, Kertész considered never working with photo magazines again. His work was published in the magazine Coronet in 1937, but in 1939 he was excluded when the magazine published a special issue featuring its "Most memorable photographs". He later severed all ties to the magazine and its editor Arnold Gingrich. After being excluded from the June 1941 issue of Vogue, dedicated to photography, Kertesz broke off relations with them. He had contributed to more than 30 commissioned photo essays and articles in both Vogue and House and Garden, but was omitted from the list of featured photographers.
In 1941, the Kertesz couple were each designated as enemy aliens because of WWII (Hungary was fighting on the side of the Axis powers). Kertész was not permitted to photograph outdoors or to have any project related to national security. Trying to avoid trouble because Elizabeth had started a cosmetics company (Cosmia Laboratories), Kertész ceased to do commissioned work and essentially disappeared from the photographic world for three years.
On 20 January 1944, Elizabeth became a US citizen; with her husband's being naturalized on 3 February. Despite competition from photographers such as Irving Penn, Kertész regained commissioned work. He was omitted from the list of 63 photographers Vogue's identified as significant in its "photographic genealogical tree". But, House and Garden commissioned him to do photographs for a Christmas issue. In addition, in June 1944 Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, director of the New Bauhaus - American School of Design offered him a position teaching photography. Despite the honour, he turned the offer down.
In 1945, Kertesz released a new book, Day of Paris, made up of photographs taken just before his emigration from France. It gained critical success. With his wife's cosmetic business booming, Kertész agreed in 1946 to a long-term, exclusive contract with House and Garden. Although it restricted his editorial freedom and required many hours in the studio, the pay of at least US$10,000 per annum was satisfactory. All photographic negatives were returned to him within six months for his own use.]
Kertész worked in the settings of many famous homes and notable places, as well as overseas, where he traveled again in England, Budapest and Paris. During the 1945 to 1962 period at House and Garden, more than 3,000 of his photographs were published in the magazine, and he created a high reputation in the industry. With little time for his personal work, Kertész felt starved of being able to exercise more artistic creativity.
In 1946, Kertész had a solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, featuring photographs from his Day of Paris series. Kertész said this was one of his greatest times in the United States. In 1952, he and his wife moved to a 12th-floor apartment near Washington Square Park, the setting for some of his best photographs since having immigrated to the US. Using a telephoto lens, he took a series of snow-covered Washington Square, showing numerous silhouettes and tracks. In 1955 he was insulted to have his work excluded when Edward Steichen's The Family of Man show was featured at MOMA. Despite the success of the Chicago show, Kertesz did not gain another exhibit until 1962, when his photographs were shown at Long Island University.
Toward the end of 1961, Kertesz broke his contract to Condé Nast Publishing after a minor dispute, and started doing his own work again. This later period of his life is often referred to as the "International period", when he gained worldwide recognition and his photos were exhibited in many countries. In 1962 his work was exhibited in Venice; in 1963, he was one of the invited artists of the IV Mostra Biennale Internazionale della Fotografia there and he was awarded a gold medal for his dedication to the photographic industry.
Adams is best known for his photographs of the American West but his early career was focused on music as he had taught himself piano at the age of 12. With Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs and the work of those to whom he taught the system. Adams founded the Group f/64 along with fellow photographers Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham, which in turn created the Museum of Modern Art's department of photography.
In 1927, Adams contracted for his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, in his new style, which included his famous image Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, taken with a view camera using glass plates and a dark red filter to heighten the tonal contrasts.
According to his entry at Wikipedia, "On that excursion, he had only one plate left and he "visualized" the effect of the blackened sky before risking the last shot. As he stated, "I had been able to realize a desired image: not the way the subject appeared in reality but how it felt to me and how it must appear in the finished print".
"In New Mexico," the entry continued, "he was introduced to notables from Stieglitz's circle, including painter Georgia O'Keeffe, artist John Marin, and photographer Paul Strand, all of whom created famous works during their stays in the Southwest. Adams's talkative, high-spirited nature combined with his excellent piano playing made him a hit within his enlarging circle of elite artist friends. Strand especially proved influential, sharing secrets of his technique with Adams, and finally convincing Adams to pursue photography with all his talent and energy. One of Strand's suggestions which Adams immediately adopted was to use glossy paper rather than matte to intensify tonal values. Through a friend with Washington connections, most likely Francis P. Farquhar, Adams was able to put on his first solo museum exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in 1931, featuring 60 prints taken in the High Sierra....In 1932, Adams had a group show at the M. H. de Young Museum with Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston and they soon formed Group f/64, which espoused 'pure or straight photography' over pictorialism (f/64 being a very small aperture setting that gives great depth of field). The group's manifesto stated that 'Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form.' Following Stieglitz's example, in 1933 Adams opened his own art and photography gallery in San Francisco which eventually became the Danysh Gallery after Adams's commitments grew too burdensome....In 1935, Adams created many new photos of the Sierra and one of his most famous photographs, Clearing Winter Storm, captured the entire valley just as a winter storm relented, leaving a fresh coat of snow. After courting Stieglitz for three years, Adams gathered his recent work and had a solo show at the Stieglitz gallery "An American Place" in New York in 1936....In 1939, he was named an editor of U. S. Camera, the most popular photography magazine at that time. In 1940, Ansel put together A Pageant of Photography, the most important and largest photography show in the West to date, attended by millions of visitors....In September 1941, Adams contracted[ with the Department of the Interior to make photographs of National Parks, Indian reservations, and other locations for use as mural-sized prints for decoration of the Department's new building. Part of his understanding with the Department was that he might also make photographs for his own use, using his own film and processing. Although Adams kept meticulous records of his travel and expenses, he was less disciplined about recording the dates of his images, and neglected to note the date of Moonrise, so it was not clear whether it belonged to Adams or to the U.S. Government. But the position of the Moon allowed the image to eventually be dated from astronomical calculations, and it was determined that Moonrise was made on November 1, 1941, a day for which he had not billed the Department, so the image belonged to Adams. The same was not true for many of his other negatives, including The Tetons and the Snake River, which, having been made for the Mural Project, became the property of the U.S. Government. Adams was distressed by the Japanese American internment that occurred after the Pearl Harbor attack. He requested permission to visit the Manzanar War Relocation Center in the Owens Valley, at the foot of Mount Williamson. The resulting photo-essay first appeared in a Museum of Modern Art exhibit....In 1945, Adams was asked to form the first fine art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts....In 1952 Adams was one of the founders of the magazine Aperture....In 1974, Adams had a major retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art."
Lot 345, "Two Barns, Dansville, New York," by Minor White, gelatin silver print, 1955, printed later, 9.4 by 11.9 inches, signed
Lot 345 is a rather haunting image of "Two Barns, Dansville, New York," taken in 1955 by Minor White (1908-1976). A gelatin silver print that was printed later, it measures 9.4 by 11.9 inches. It has an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500. It sold for $7,500.
Lot 338, "Grand Prix de l'A.C.F., automobile Delage," by Jacques Henri Lartigue, gelatin silver print, 1912, printed circa 1970-1979, 8.6 by 12.6 inches
Lot 338 is a marvelous photograph of a car race by Jacques Henri Lartique (1894-1986). Entitled "Grand Prix de l'A.C.F., automobile Delage," it is a gelatin silver print shot in 1912 and printed circa 1970-1979. It measures 8.6 by 12.6 inches. It has an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $10,000.
The website, www.lartique.org, provides the following biographic information:
"Jacques Lartigue was born in Courbevoie on June 13, 1894. He took his first photographs at the age of six, using his father’s camera, and started keeping what would become a lifelong diary. In 1904 he began making photographs and drawings of family games and childhood experiences, also capturing the beginnings of aviation and cars and the smart women of the Bois de Boulogne as well as society and sporting events. An unfailingly curious amateur, he tried out all the available techniques, tirelessly recording the fleeting moments and meticulously arranging his several thousand images in large albums. However, it would seem that photography was not his true vocation. In 1915 he attended the Académie Jullian: painting was to remain his professional activity and from 1922 onwards he exhibited in the salons of Paris and southern France. His acquaintances in the world of the arts included Sacha Guitry and Yvonne Printemps, Kees van Dongen, Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau, while his passion for movies saw him work as still photographer with Jacques Feyder, Abel Gance, Robert Bresson, François Truffaut and Federico Fellini. Although Lartigue occasionally sold his pictures to the press and exhibited at the Galerie d’Orsay alongside Brassaď, Man Ray and Doisneau, his reputation as a photographer was not truly established until he was 69, with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the publication of a portfolio in Life....Worldwide fame came three years later with his first book, The Family Album, followed in 1970, by Diary of a Century, conceived by Richard Avedon. In 1975 he had his first French retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. For the rest of his life, Lartigue was busy answering commissions from fashion and decoration magazines."
Lot 46, "Mouth (New York)," by Irving Penn, dye-transfer print, 1986, printed 1992, 18 3/4 by 18 3/8 inches, signed
Penn worked for many years doing fashion photography for Vogue magazine and was among the first photographers to pose subjects against a simple grey or white backdrop and used this simplicity more effectively than other photographers. His subjects include Pablo Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, Martha Graham and Georgia O'Keeffe.