October 8, 2010 10 AM lots 1-200 1PM,
lots 201-411 Sale NY040210
173, "Carrefours Blois," by André Kértesz, 1930. printed later, 14 1/3
by 19 5/8 inches
By Carter B. Horsley
The October 8, 2010 auction of Photographs at Phillips de Pury has more
than 400 lots, many of which are some of the most famous images in the
history of the media and most carry quite moderate estimates.
173 is a masterpiece of composition with the four corners of the
intersection quite askew and different modes of tranportation in each.
Entitld "Carrefours Blois, it was photographed in 1940 by
Kértez (1894-1985) and printed later It measures 14 1.3 by 19
inches. It has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $6,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
The total for the sale was $3,987,800 with 287 of 400 lots selling.After
the auction, Vanessa Krama, director of New York Photographs
department, said that"we are extremely pleased with the results,"
adding that "the competitive bidding on the higher value classic and
contemporary works reflects the gradually increasing confidence in the
market by sellers and buyers alike." She said that "the sale
total is the highest in nearly three years, further highlighting the
market's increasing momentum."
91, "42nd Street Viewed from Weehawken, 1940," by Andreas Feininger,
gelatin silver print, 10 3/8 by 13 inches, numbered 34 of 50
Lot 91 is a great silhouette
shot of midtown Manhattan by Andreas Feininger (1906-1999).
It is entitled "42nd Street Viewed from Weehawken, 1940."
It is a gelatin silver print that measures 10 3/8 by 13
inches and is numbered 34 of 50. It has an estimate of $5,000
to $8,000.It sold for $6,250.
98, "Farewell to Servicement, Penn Station, New York, City, 1943, by
Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), gelatin silver print, printed 1991, 17
5/8 by 13 1/2 inches, estimate of $8,000 to $12,000
of the great urban photographs is Lot 98, "Farewell to Servicemen, Penn
Station, 1944." The men animate the abstract scene but the
of light wafting through the tall cast-iron girders of the waiting room
add a heavenly calm upon the scene made all the more prescious because
we know that this wondrous port of entry was demolished twenty years
later to erect one of the ugliest urban complexes in the history of western
civilization, the nadir of New York City. It was taken by
Eisenstaedt (1898-1995) and measures 17 5/8 by 13 1/3 inches and has an
estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $10,375.
150, "Under the El at the Battery, New York, 1936," by Berenice Abbott,
gelatin silver print, printed 1970s, 10 3/8 by 13 3/8 inches
150 is a fine gelatin silver print printed in the 1970s of a 1936 image
by Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) of "Under the El at the Battery, New
York. Abbott was one of the great photographers of NewYork
in the 1930s and this image is an interesting asymmetrical composition
with a wide range of grays. It has a modest estimate of
$2,200. It sold for $4,000.
339, "Church Gate Station, Bombay, India, 1995," by Sebastiao Salgado,
gelatin silver print, printed later, 21 1/4 by 32 1/8 inches
339 is a marvelous train station scene by Sebastiao Salgado (b. 1944)
entitled "Church Gate Station, Bombay, Incia, 1995." A
silver print that was printed later, it measures 21 1/4 by 32 1/8
inches. Its high vantage point and long time exposure
fortuitously made the crowds at the bottom of the picture very blurred
but those in the distance appeared in focus. It is a very fine
composition and nicely conveys the hordes of India. It has an
estimated of $9,000 to $12,000. It sold for $11,250.
338, "The First Day of installation of the Camp of Benako for the
Rwandan Tutsi and Hutu Refugees, 1994," by Sabastiao Salgado, gelatin
silver print, printed later, 21 by 32 inches
fine work by Salgado is Lot 338, "The First Day of Installation of the
Camp of Benako for the Rwandan Tutsi and Hutu Refugees, 1994."
While some refugee pictures break our heart with their misery
suffering, this exciting composition is a study in contrasts between
the storm clouds above and the grass at the bottom with a fine mix of
silhouettes and bodies and enclosures in between. Salgado
obviously gets around and has a very fine eye. The gelatin
print measures 21 by 32 inches and has an estimate of $12,000 to
$15,000. The slaughter of the Tutsis in 1994 is one of the
world's most outrageous genocides and often the only people willing to
inform us are photographers. It sold for $15,000.
141, "Eighth Street Theater, Frederick Kiesler Architect, 1946," by
Ruth Bernhard, selenium-toned gelatin silver print, 9 7/8 by 13 3/8
Eighth Street Theater was located between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue
in Greenwich Village and was designed by Frederick Kiesler to resemble
the inside of a box camera. Lot 141 shows the famous interior
in 1946 in a selenium-toned gelatin silver print by Ruth Bernhard
(1905-2006). I saw hundreds of movies, many of them foreign,
here in the late 1940s and 1950s when its "shutter" had unfortunately
already been removed. It completed with the Art theater on
East Eighth Street as the premier foreign film theater for New York's
intellectuals. Sadly, both theaters no longer exist in their
original form. Kiesler's became a record store and the Art
was absorbed into a NYU facility. Both served expresso to its
customers in small lounges. This print measures 9 78by 13 3/8
inches. It has an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $6,000.
8, "World's Fair, New York City, 1964," by Garry Winogrand, gelatin
silver print, 8 3/4 by 13 inches
Winogrand shot unattractive photographs of people and became a curator
at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He was a bad
but Lot 8 is probably his finest picture because of the unusual poses
of the people sitting on a park bench. Sadly, the figures at
either end of the composition are cut off so it is not perfect and he
probably did that because they are integral to the perfect picture.
Quite a remarkable group of poses, nonetheless. It
entitled "World's Fair, New York City, 1964," and is a gelatin silver
print and measures 8 3/4 by 13 inches. It has an estimate of
$20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $32,500.
100, "Kings of Hollywood, Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and
James Stewart enjoy a joke at a New York Party at Romanoff's, Los
Angeles, 1957," by Slim Aarons, gelatin silver print, printed later, 15
1//8 by 19 5/8 inches
almost perfect picture is Lot 100, "Kings of Hollywood, Clark Gable,
Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart enjoy a joke at a NewYork
Party at Romanoff's, Los Angeles, 1957," by Slim Aarons (1916-2006).
It is a wonderful picture even if John Wayne would
been better than Van Heflin, who is a little bit too restrainedhere and
it would have been even better if the handsome "nobody" to the left of
Gablewas not in the picture. It is surprising that Gable is
as tall as his conferes but it is wonderful that they all had different
poses. Maybe it was Heflin who told the joke and was enjoying
their reaction. Laughter is important and group laughter is
downright contagious! This gelatin silver print was printed
and measures 15 18 by 19 5/8 inches and is number 117 from a series of
250. It has an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. It sold for $7,500.
"Picasso, Rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris, 1939," by Brassai, gelatin
silver print, printed circa 1970
173 is a famous portrait of Pablo Picasso seated next to a great stove
in a Parisian apartment in 1939. Taken by Brassai
(1899-1984), it was printed circa 1970. Brassai has made
the short Picasso even less significant by having him seat
to a splendid contraption of a stove in front of its looming and giant
shadow. The composition is also nicely enlivened by a few
horizontal "grace notes" It has an estimate of $6,000 to
$8,000. It sold for $6,000.
22, "Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, 1957," by Irving Penn,
platinum palladium print, printed 1978, 19 5/8 by 19 1/2 inches
Penn and Richard Avedon are the great, fashionable photo portraitists
of the latter half of the 20th Century. Lot 22 is "Pablo
at La Californie, Cannes,1957," by Irving Penn (1917-2009).
a platinum palladium print, printed 1978, and measures 19 5/8 by 19 1/2
inches. One wonders how much the fabled artist had to do with
composition that cuts off his hat's brim and his lower face while
emphasized the embossed collar of his elegant jacket and putting us
under the demanding stare of his left eye. This is not the
slightly uncomfortable, not too arrogant Picasso of Brassai, but a
mature, sophisticated old man accustomed to accolades and deference.
It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $182,500.
198, "Duchess of Windsor, May 27, 1947," by Irving Penn, gelatin silver
print, 9 1/2 by 8 inches
198 perhaps answers the question of the Picasso portrait in Lot 22 for
here there is not question that the photographer has arranged the
portrait and it is very riveting. The infamous duchess is
into a very light corner of blank walls and there are strings on the
floor. This is the woman that persuaded the King of England
abdicate not only his throne but his opulent palaces and to forever
dominated by his extremely severe and stern-looking dresser.
woman, however, does not appear to be hemmed in and her attitude brooks
no fear. She is the perfect dragonlady. A brilliant
photograph, it has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $21,250.
Lot 64, "Bridgitte
Bardot, Hair by Alexandre, Paris, Studio, 1959," by Richard Avedon,
gelatin silver print, 23 1/4 by 20 inches
64 is a strong portrait by Richard Avedon (1923-2004) by fabled French
actress Brigitte Bardot in 1959 near the height of her fame as the sex
goddess of France, if not the world. Avedon used harsh
to emphasize her pouty lips and double-exposed her blonde mane to
further accent her sensuality. The gelatin silver print
23 1/4 by 20 inches and has an estimate of $100,000 to
It is numbered 1 of 35. It sold for $170,500.
21, "Francis Bacon, Primrose Hill, 1963," by Bill Brandt, gelatin
silver print, 13 3/8 by 11 1/2 inches
21 is a rather haunting and harrowing picture of Francis
the artist, by Bill Brandt (1903-1983). It was shot in 1963
is a gelatin silver print that measures 13 3/8 by 11 1/2 inches.
It has an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $5,000.
"Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Long Pine, California, 1944," by
Ansel Adams, gelatin silver print, 15 by 19 5/8 inches
Adams (1904-1984) is widely considered the greatest black and
white photograph of the American West. Lot 107,
"Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Long Pine, California, 1944," is
not one of his most iconic images but it is terrific. It is a
gelatin silver print that measures 15 by 19 5/8 inches. It
has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It failed to sell.
"Eleanor, Chicago," by Harry Callahan, 1948, gelatin silver print,
printed in the1970s, 7 7/8 by 9 3/4 inches
Callahan (1912-1999) is perhaps best known for his studies of trains
but he did a splendid series of nudes of Eleanor and Lot 84, "Eleanor,
Chicago," is a marvelous and great composition. It was taken
in 1948 andprinted in the 1970s. It is a gelatin silver print
that measures 7 7/8 by 9 3/4 inches. It has an estimate of
$4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $4,375.
89, "G4 T-38 Philadelphia, 1964," by Ray Metzker, gelatin
silver print, 9 by 6 1/8 inches
89 is a great photograph of a man walking on wet pavement by Ray
Metzker (b. 1931). It is entitled "G4 T-38 Philadelphia,
1964" and was printed in 1985. A gelatin silver print, it
measures 9 by 6 1/8 inches and is numbered 13 of 20. It has
an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. It sold for $7,500.
Untitled, by Adam Fuss, 1995, unique dye destruction photograph, 14 by
299 is a striking "unique dye destruction photograph of a few colorful
flowers by Adam Fuss (b. 1961). It measures 14 by 11 inches
and has an estimate of $7,000 to $9,000. It sold for $11,875.
361, "Shipyard #77, Zhejang Province, China, 2005," by Edward
Burtynsky, color coupler print, 22 by 18 inches
Lot 361 is a very fine color coupler print by Edward Burtynsky (b.
1955) of "Shipyard #77, Zhejang Province, China, 2005."
It measures 22 by 18 inches and has an estimate of $5,000 to
$7,000. It sold for $8,750.
"Traffic, New York," by Ernst Haas, dye transfer print, 1992, 17 5/8 by
26 3/4 inches
Haas (1921-1986) was one of the greatest color photographers and Lot 37
is a superb abstract scene of a New York City street taken in 1992.
A dye transfer print, it measures 17 5/8 by 26 3/4 inches.
It has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It failed to sell.
"Roping Rhino, Kenya, 1964" by Peter Beard, platinum-palladium print, 9
by 6 inches,
236 is a spectacular and frightening print of a charging rhino
chased by four men on a truck. It was taken in Kenya in 1964
by Peter Beard (b. 1938). It measures 9 by 6 inches and has
an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $10,000.