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Opening Session of Photographs from the Polaroid Collection 100% Sold
Ansel Adams' "Canyon de Chelle National Monument, Arizona, 1942." Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Tonight at Sotheby’s, bidding began for Photographs from the Polaroid Collection with the opening session bringing a remarkable $7,197,439, well-above expectations (est. $2.9/4.5 million) and with every lot finding a buyer. With more than 300 hundred lots left to sell tomorrow, the running total has already exceeded the low estimate for the entire sale (est. $6.9/10.7 million). Competition was fierce with a full salesroom competing against numerous telephones resulting in as many as ten different bidders vying for certain works. The sale was 100% sold with nearly 87% of the lots achieving prices at or above their estimates. Artist records were set for Ansel Adams and Lucas Samaras, in addition to records for photographs at auction by Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney, among others.

Highlighting the evening session were works by Edwin Land’s great friend and collaborator, Ansel Adams. His iconic mural-sized prints achieved the top five prices of tonight’s offering, led by Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, which sold for $722,500 after a battle between four different bidders. That price was well-above the high estimate and a record for the artist at auction (lot 100, est. $300/500,000). Adams’ Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico sold for $518,500 (lot 94, est. $300/500,000); Aspens, Northern New Mexico was the subject of a battle between a bidder in the room and one over the telephone, finally selling to a client on the phone for $494,500 (lot 88, est. $150/250,000); Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California achieved $482,500 (lot 97, est. $300/500,000); The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming sold for $350,500 (lot 91, est. $250/350,000).

Among the first three lots of the evening’s offering was Chuck Close’s 9-Part Self Portrait, a unique collage of large-format Polapan prints which sold for $250,500, more than four times the high estimate and record for a photograph by the artist at auction (lot 3, est. $40/60,000). The auction record for a photograph by Andy Warhol was broken twice tonight – Self-Portrait (Grimace) a unique large-format Polaroid Polacolor print sold for $146,500 (lot 52, est. $10/15,000) and then, with more than seven bidders competing, his Self-Portrait (Eyes Closed) soared past a high estimate of $15,000 to sell for $254,500 (lot 53, est. $10/15,000). Likewise, the artist record for Lucas Samaras was also surpassed twice in tonight’s session – first with the cover lot – Untitled (Self-Portrait with Hands), a unique large-format Polaroid Polacolor print, which sold for $56,250 (lot 2, est. $10/15,000) and then with his Ultra-Large (Hands) a unique mural-sized Polaroid Polacolor print, which sold for $194,500 (lot 24, est. $20/30,000). Auction records for a photograph were also set for Robert Rauschenberg, whose Japanese Sky I (From The Bleacher Series) brought $242,500 (lot 5, est. $40/60,000) and David Hockney, when his Imogen & Hermione, Pembroke Studios, London, 30th July, a 1982 Unique SX-70 collage sold for $194,500 (lot 6, est. $30/50,000).

Non-Polaroid works from the “Library Collection,” which where were acquired by Ansel Adams on behalf of the Polaroid Corporation beginning in the mid-1950s, were also among the top sellers of tonight’s session. Harry Callahan’s Chicago (Trees in Snow) more than doubled a high estimate of $100,000 to sell for $254,500 (lot 74, est. $70/100,000) and Dorothea Lange’s equally iconic Peapickers Family (Migrant Mother, Nipomo) achieved $218,500, above a pre-sale estimate of $60/80,000 (lot 80). Imogen Cunningham’s Unmade Bed also soared past the pre-sale high estimate of $25,000 to sell for $146,500 (lot 75, est. $15/25,000).

Sotheby's | Photographs from the Polaroid Collection | Ansel Adams |

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