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Phillips announces Auction of Photographs from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
Edward Weston, Dunes, Oceano, 1936. Gelatin silver print, printed no later than 1951. 7 1/8 x 9 1/8 in. (18.1 x 23.2 cm). Initialed and dated in pencil on the mount; signed, titled and dated in pencil on the reverse of the mount; ‘The Art Institute of Chicago ‘collection, label affixed to the reverse of the mount. Estimate $70,000-90,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips launches its Fall Photographs season with selections from The Art Institute of Chicago’s renowned collection that include superb works by many of the leading classic photographers. The Auction features 117 lots with a combined pre-sale low estimate of $1,148,200/ £688,085 / €857,154 and a pre-sale high estimate of $1,659,800/ £994,672 / €1,239,073.

“The sale of Photographs from the Collection of The Art Institute of Chicago presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors to purchase a work with a most desirable provenance. The breadth and caliber of the collection is as much a celebration of the medium as it is of the Art Institute’s vision in building one of the foremost institutional collections of photography in the world.” Vanessa Kramer Hallett, Worldwide Head of Photographs and Senior Director, Photographs.

“This auction represents the first sale of deaccessioned photographs from the Art Institute of Chicago since collecting began at the museum 65 years ago. It is the result of years of careful review, and the proceeds will go exclusively to furthering acquisitions in photography. The choices on offer here point to the terrific history of the museum’s longstanding photography program and will help make possible its future successes.” Matthew S. Witkovsky, Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator of the Department of Photography.

At the helm of the collection is Henri Cartier-Bresson’s rare and early print of Córdoba, Spain, 1933, estimated at $80,000-120,000. Originally from the famed Julien Levy Collection in New York, this charming image captures Cartier-Bresson’s early Surrealist sensibilities, depicting the unexpected juxtaposition of two women, one older and real, the other youthful and made of paper. The image was taken the same year Levy held a show for the budding French photographer, and this print, trimmed and mounted, was almost certainly included in the show. It is one of only a handful of early surrealist prints by Cartier-Bresson to ever be offered at auction. Other outstanding photographs in the Art Institute’s collection include two works by Edward Weston: an awe-inspiring vista of Dunes, Oceano, 1936, estimated at $70,000-90,000, printed no later than 1951 and depicting a favored landscape of the artist, and the majestic Nude, 1936, estimated at $40,000-60,000, printed circa 1953 by Brett Weston; Irving Penn’s timelessly elegant Mermaid Dress (Rochas), Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, 1950, estimated at $80,000-120,000, an homage to his beloved wife and muse; Lewis Wickes Hine’s Sadie, a Cotton Mill Spinner, Lancaster, South Carolina, 1908, estimated at $60,000-80,000, a superb example of Hine’s groundbreaking work on underage laborers in America, a body of work that subsequently led to Federal regulation; André Kertész’s Untitled (Distortion #167), 1933, estimated at $30,000-40,000, depicting a quintessentially Modernist configuration of the human form; Ansel Adams’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, estimated at $30,000-50,000, illustrating the celebrated American photographer’s love for the American West; Robert Heinecken’s multi-media work Cliché Vary/Lesbianism, 1974, estimated at $30,000-50,000; Walker Evans’s Sidewalk and Shopfront, New Orleans, 1935, estimated at $18,000-22,000; Other highlights include Gertrude Käsebier’s Auguste Rodin, 1905, estimated at $20,000-30,000; Robert Frank’s Chicago, 1956, estimated at $15,000-25,000; and Frederick Sommer’s Paracelsus, 1960, estimated at $15,000-20,000.

As expected, many photographers whose work had been championed by the Art Institute of Chicago who are well presented in the collection include Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, Walker Evans, Julia Margaret Cameron and Yasuhiro Ishimoto.

Other works from this collection will be sold in the London Photographs sale on November 18th. Additional works will be sold exclusively online, at, during the month of December.

This sale will be immediately followed by the Phillips Photographs various-owners sale.

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