NEW YORK, NY.-
The top lots at Swann Galleries
October 19 auction of Fine Photographs & Select Photobooks were scarce or unique photographic albums and portfolios that captured cultures on the brink of extinction.
Adam Clark Vromans A Trip to Snake Dance, Moqui-Indian-towns, and Petrified Forests of Arizona, an album with 76 platinum print photographs of southwestern Native American culture, 1895, sold for a record $48,000. The album was once owned by Senator Barry Goldwater.
Another record-setting album was Roman Vishniacs portfolio The Vanished World, complete with 12 silver print photographs of Jews living in Poland from 1936 to 1938. The album, which was printed in an edition of 50 in 1977, brought $43,200.
There was also a suite of 29 portraits of Native Americans by Alexander Gardner, Chas. Bell and others from the U.S. Geological Survey of the Territories, late 1860s to early 1870s, $28,800; a copy of Volume 1 of Edward S. Curtiss magnum opus, The North American Indian, 1907, complete with 78 sepia-toned photogravures, signed and dated by Curtis, a record $15,600; as well as a portfolio of a different kind, Emmet Gowins Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself, with 14 silver prints, 1963-64, printed 1965, one of 100, signed and inscribed and with additional ink embellishment on the cover, $33,600.
Several examples of the earliest photographs were among the highlights, such as a whole-plate daguerreotype of three young sisters attributed to Albert Southworth and Josiah Hawes, late 1840s-early 1850s, $12,000; and a quarter-plate daguerreotype of seven placer miners in Northern California, operating equipment used to separate dirt from gold, early 1850s, $15,600.
Classic 20th-century black-and-white photographic images included Brassaïs Bijou au Bar de la Lune, Montmartre, oversize ferrotyped silver print, circa 1932, printed late 1950s to early-mid 1960s, $11,400; Henri Cartier-Bressons Behind the Gare St. Lazare, silver print, 1932, printed 1980s, $10,200; André Kertészs Washington Square (Winter), silver print, 1954, printed no later than 1967, which brought a record $22,800; Alfred Eisenstaedts Children at a Puppet Theatre II, Paris, silver print, 1963, printed 1994, $12,000; and Josef Koudelkas France, silver print, 1973, printed 1981, $13,200.
Among the many eye-catching nudes in the sale were three images from Ruth Bernhards The Eternal Body Portfolio, silver prints, 1951-1967, printed 1976, $15,600; and Herb Rittss Wrapped Torso, platinum print, 1989, $15,600.
A photograph that attracted a lot of media attention was Annie Leibovitzs portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, New York, cibachrome print, 1980, taken just hours before Lennons death, which sold for $15,600.
*All prices include buyers premium.