NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
October 7 & 8 Photographs sales totaled $7,484,100. Four sales: The American Landscape: Color Photographs from the Bruce and Nancy Berman Collection, Photographs by Sally Mann from a Private Collection, Washington, D.C., The Miller-Plummer Collection of Photographs showcased the very finest in the medium, from historical 19th century works through to contemporary prints, and set numerous auction records.
Philippe Garner, International Head of Photographs, commented: The solid results and numerous records achieved for the group of sales confirm the on-going appetite for quality works with interesting provenance and reflect the breadth of connoisseurship that so effectively drives this market. The single-owner sales of the Bruce and Nancy Berman Collection, Photographs by Sally Mann and the Miller-Plummer Collection of Photographs performed extremely well, demonstrating the strength of this field in its many facets. The Christies Photographs team proved once again their versatility and understanding of the many different strands that constitute the fascinating subject of photography.
The two days of sales kicked off on October 7, with The American Landscape: Color Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman, which achieved $1,544,625 and sold 96% by value and 88% by lot. The Collection of Photographs of Bruce and Nancy Berman, perhaps the largest and most important of its kind, is singular in its volume and depth. This sale presented works from 1955 to the present day by major artists who focused on all aspects of the American landscape and who have contributed to the transformation of the genre of color photography. A portfolio of works by Bruce Davidson, Subway, 1980, achieved the top price, selling for $146,500 and setting a new world auction record for the artist. An auction record was also set for Richard Misrachs Untitled (#13 2002), which sold for $68,500. Works by William Eggleston, Mitch Epstein, Robert Polidori, and Stephen Shore also commanded strong prices.
Photographs by Sally Mann from a Private Collection, Washington, D.C. featured 59 photographs by the artist, many from Manns best known body of work, Immediate Family, depicting her children when they were young, as well as landscapes of her native South from the series Deep South. The sale totaled $667,625 and sold 87% by value and 80% by lot. The top lot of the sale was Manns Candy Cigarette, 1989, which realized $68,500 and set a world auction record for the artist.
On October 8, The Miller-Plummer Collection of Photographs, distinguished for embracing mid 19th century masterpieces and modernist works, achieved $1,832,625 and sold 90% by value and 76% by lot. Brought together principally in the 1970s and 80s, this comprehensive collection was inspired by a commitment to assemble a discerning ensemble of seminal works that illustrate the history and practice of the medium. Among the highlights was the sales top lot, an early work by the renowned Philadelphia daguerreotypist Marcus Aurelius Root (1808-1888), Anthony Pritchard, 1850, which set a world auction record for the artist and sold for an impressive $350,500. Also by Root was a poignant portrait of his slumbering infant against an American Flag, Albert Pritchard Root Asleep by the Flag, which realized $74,500.
The Various Owners auction of Photographs was led by two magnificent works. The first was an exceedingly rare platinum print from 1906 by Adolph de Meyer, Water Lilies, which sold for $170,500 and set a world auction record for the artist. An oversized print by Robert Frank Fish Kill, New York, 1965 also sold for $170,500, and a rare combination print by Frank, Mary and Pablo NYC, 1951 and 1954 fetched $52,500. Furthermore, Edward Curtiss complete set of The North American Indian, sold immediately after auction for $775,000.
Of the contemporary color photographs on offer Greenwood, Mississippi by William Eggleston achieved the third highest price of the sale, $158,500. A contemporary work Hope 5, 2005, by Erwin Olaf set a new world auction record for the artist at $40,000. The sale totaled $3,439,225 and sold 91% by value and 74% by lot.