NEW YORK, N.Y.- Sothebys
fall Photographs auction on 5 October 2011 in New York will offer a varied range of material from the 19th to the 21st centuries -- from an early copy of Gardners Sketch Book of the War to Contemporary photographs by Peter Beard, Robert Rauschenberg, and Bernd and Hilla Becher. Of particular note are masterpieces of 20th-century photography by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Pierre Dubreuil, Paul Outerbridge, Imogen Cunningham, Richard Avedon, and Irving Penn, among many others. The pre-sale exhibition opens on 30 September.
As America memorializes the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, Sothebys sale will feature an early copy of Alexander Gardners landmark Photographic Sketch Book of The War (est. $70/100,000,* right) a definitive collection of photographs chronicling this nations conflict. Gardners commanding full-length, seated Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (est. $30/50,000) is one of only a handful of Imperial-sized prints of this image extant, and was taken just eleven days before Lincoln delivered his seminal Gettysburg address.
Classic American photographs featured in the sale include an impressive mural-sized print of Ansel Adamss iconic Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (est. $300/500,000, left), doubly remarkable for its two signatures. Other Adams highlights are a mural-sized print of Leaves, Mt Rainier National Park (est. $70/100,000), from the collection of Adamss son and daughter; and a print of Yosemite Valley, Winter Storm (Clearing Winter Storm) (est. $30/50,000), acquired directly from the photographer in 1959 by a member of the National Park Service, and being sold by her descendent.
The catalogues cover features Modernist innovator Pierre Dubreuils Spectacles (est. $70/100,000, page 1), an expertly rendered image comprised of two of the basic elements of photography: lenses and light. Dubreuils The First Round (est. $150/250,000), one of only two known prints of the image extant, is a cleverly-balanced composition juxtaposing a pair of boxing gloves with the delicate face of a would-be boxer. Other highlights include a complete set of Alfred Stieglitzs definitive photographic periodical Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly (est. $200/250,000, right); and Edward Steichens The Flatiron Building Evening, New York (est. $70/100,000), an icon of pictorial photography and one of the most important images in the photographers oeuvre.
American Modernism is represented by four Paul Outerbridge platinum prints, comprising Sleepy Negro (est. $30/50,000); Waterford Glass Vase (est. $15/25,000); Hudson River Railroad Bridge (est. $30/50,000, left); and An Abstraction in Angles (est. $20/30,000), the last two works informed by the artists awareness of Cubism and other Modern trends in painting. Edward Westons Dummies, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Hollywood (est. $50/70,000) is the best known and most enigmatic image from Westons visit to the MGM Studios in 1939. Other highlights include Tower of Jewels by Imogen Cunningham (est. $30/50,000); and Photographs From Sequence 15 (est. $50/70,000, right) by Minor White, one of Whites seminal sequences in which he explores the themes of physicality and spirituality.
Among the post-war photographs in the auction are several by Diane Arbus, including a rare lifetime print of Viva At Home (est. $100/200,000), which caused a scandal when it was published in the fourth issue of the newly-minted New York magazine, and was a personal gift from Arbus to the artist Tal Streeter. Another print made by Arbus is Charlie Lucas With Giant Buck Nolan, Lady Midget Margharita And Others, Huberts Museum, NYC (est. $15/25,000), part of a recently-discovered group of 27 photographs taken by Arbus at the legendary Huberts Dime Museum.
Modern fashion photography is well-represented by Irving Penns Girl Behind Bottle (est. $80/120,000), a masterfully-rendered platinum-palladium print; Richard Avedons Marella Agnelli, New York Studio (est. $40/60,000) and Stephanie Seymour, Model, New York City (est. $40/60,000); and Horst P. Horsts iconic Mainbocher Corset (est. $30/50,000), among others.
Following the record set for Peter Beard at Sothebys in April, the sale includes an impressive mural-sized print of Maureen Gallagher and Late-Night Feeder, 2.00 AM (est. $120/180,000, left), the most extensively illustrated copy to appear at auction in recent years. Offered at auction for the first time, Robert Rauschenbergs Studies for Chinese Summerhall (est. $40/60,000) is a suite of 28 color photographs taken during the artists 1982 trip to China. Other significant Contemporary works are Bernd and Hilla Bechers Blast Furnaces (est. $70/100,000), a grid of 9 photographs; and large-scale color works by Candida Hofer, Edward Burtynsky, and Richard Misrach.