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Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Etienne Jules Marey works highlight Bonhams Fall Photographs Auction
Ansel Adams (1902-1984), Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word. In Memory of Russell Varian, San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1963, an edition of 260. a portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints, each mounted, signed in ink on the mount, the portfolio label and number '34' in red ink on the reverse, in individual letterpress wrappers, 1943-63; text inserts, numbered '34' in red ink on the colophon. folio, gilt-lettered grey linen portfolio with flaps and ties. Sizes vary to 9 x 11 1/2in or reverse. Est. $40,000 - 60,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.
NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams announced its October 30 Photography auction, to be held in New York and simulcast in San Francisco, featuring 130-plus images from photographic pioneers and masters, including Ansel Adams whose Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian will be on offer (est. $40,000-60,000). The 1963 portfolio comprises 15 gelatin silver prints, mounted and signed in ink on the mount.

Also leading the sale is an image that gave a face to the Great Depression. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California captures the face of a poverty stricken mother pensively looking off as her two children turn from the camera. Taken by Dorothea Lange in Nipomo, Calif., during the Depression, this photograph is estimated at $30,000-50,000. Also by Lange is Funeral Cortège, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, California, 1938 (est. $10,000-15,000), which captured a women looking out a circular car window.

Of great note in the sale are Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Self-Portrait at Age 23, a 1905 platinum print (est. $30,000-50,000) and Etienne Jules Marey’s Motion Study - Man Walking, an 1890s Gelatin silver bromide print, mounted to tan paper mount (est. $15,000-25,000). Like his contemporary, Eadweard Muybridge, Etienne Jules Marey, a physiologist, was similarly interested in the science of human movement. By 1882, he had developed a single camera method that he called chronophotography, which allowed him to make images of human and animal movement. His camera was the forerunner of the motion picture camera. Marey's chronophotographs were some of the first images to illustrate the exact process of body movement.

Also of importance is Henri-Victor Regnault’s Sèvres, ses environs, Bords de la Seine.. vue prise de la Rive Gauche, d'aval en amont, au pied de la terrasse de Bellevue, an 1852 salt print from a paper negative (est. $15,000-20,000), one of two Regnault negatives on offer in the sale. Regnault was one of the most important photographers of the so-called 'primitive' era. His work is not widely known, is now considered rare, and is often not in the best of condition. Fortunately, his negatives have survived and are preserved in the collections of the manufactory at Sèvres and the Société Française de Photographie. In 1852, Regnault became director of the porcelain manufactory at Sèvres, and resumed photographing images there that he had begun in 1847, producing a series of beautiful large-format studies of which those on offer are exceptional examples.

Additional highlights in the auction will include Classic Torso with Hands by American photographer Ruth Bernhard, which features just that, a beautiful image of sitting woman’s torso and delicately crossed hands taken in 1952. Classic Torso is another stunning image available, same as described above, but with one crossed arm (est. $6,000-8,000).

Garry Winogrand, known for his street photography, is also represented in the auction with New York City, from Women are Beautiful, 1968. This playful image features a woman who has thrown her head back with laughter (est. $7,000-9,000). Also in the sale is Robert Mapplethorpe’s highly recognizable image Patti Smith with Doves, 1979 (est. $8,000-12,000) and Cindy Sherman’s Self-Portrait as Lucille Ball, 1975 (est. $8,000-12,000).

Rounding out the sale will be Margaret Bourke-White's South African Gold Miners, a 1950 Ferrotyped gelatin silver print, with the photographer's LIFE credit stamp, two LIFE stamps and other TIME-LIFE stamps (est. $7,000-9,000) and Mieczyslaw Berman's Circus II, a 1928 mixed-media photocollage and gouache, containing original cut-out photo-offset prints with hand-drawn elements (est. $10,000-15,000). Mieczyslaw Berman was Polish graphic artist, born in Warsaw. He began making his first constructivist photomontages in 1927 at the School of Decorative Art. His skills in photomontage were directly attributable to the influence of his friend, the Dadaist, John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfeld). From the beginning, Berman employed his artwork for satirical purposes, wittily poking fun at authority figures, particularly those of a certain political persuasion. Works by Berman are considered rare.

To view the full auction, and to purchase a catalogue, please visit bonhams.com.

Sale Date: October 30 in New York and San Francisco
Sale Preview: October 20-22 in San Francisco and October 27-29 in New York



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