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Sotheby's announces highlights from its fall auction of photographs
Alfred Stieglitz, Editor, 'Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly. Est. $150/250,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s fall auction of Photographs on 7 October in New York will offer a variety of exceptional works from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Of special note are masterpieces of 20th-century photography by Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Man Ray, Robert Heinecken, and Yves Klein, among many others. This carefully selected offering illustrates the expressive breadth of the medium and will feature 178 works with estimates ranging from $3,000 to $500,000. The New York exhibition will be open to the public from 1 to 6 October.

An early, bravura print of Alfred Stieglitz’s portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe (above, est. $300/500,000) depicts the artist posed in front of her drawing No. 15 Special, a charcoal inspired by O’Keeffe’s visits to Palo Duro Canyon, Texas. This photograph is accompanied by its original frame, fabricated by George F. Of, who worked with Stieglitz from the 1910s through 1940s. This exceptional photograph was acquired in the late 1920s by O’Keeffe’s sister, the well-known collector and socialite Anita O’Keeffe Young, and has remained in private hands until its sale this October. Another notable photograph by Stieglitz is his The City of Ambitions (est. $50/70,000), offered here as a fully signed and titled large-format photogravure. This and three other photogravures come originally from the collection of writer, photographer, and activist, Dorothy Norman.

Sotheby’s catalogue cover features one of the most iconic and well-known photographs of the 20th century, Yves Klein’s artistic action Leap into the Void (5 rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, October 1960) (est. $15/25,000). Klein collaborated with photographers Harry Shunk and János Kender to document his jump from a rooftop, and this iconic image is actually a careful composite of two negatives. It was notably first published on 27 November 1960 in Klein’s parody newspaper Dimanche—Le journal d’un seul jour. Prints of the image rarely appear at auction. Among other post-war photographs in the auction is Robert Frank’s portrait of the writer Jack Kerouac (est. $15/25,000), an image that illustrated the cover of the 1970 paperback edition of Lonesome Traveler, Kerouac’s collection of short stories and sketches. Also featured is a strong selection of four lifetime Francesca Woodman photographs, with estimates from $8/12,000 to $25/35,000.

Modernism is well-represented in André Kertész’s Nature Morte (II) (est. $80/120,000), an early print of the image that comes originally from the collection of the influential French author, editor, and publisher, Florent Fels. Man Ray’s Torso (Lama [sic] Sheath) (est. $80/120,000) and Solarized Male Torso (est. $100/150,000) exemplify the photographer’s expert use of lighting and darkroom techniques to render dramatic and often Surrealist studio portraits. Photographs by Hans Bellmer, Werner Mantz, Hans Richter, and Alexander Rodchenko are also featured.

Important 19th and turn of the century photographs include a complete set of Alfred Stieglitz’s definitive photographic periodical Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly (est. $150/250,000), which comes originally from the collection of the photographer Arthur Siegel; a hand-painted photograph of the poet Edgar Allan Poe (est. $20/30,000); and an extremely rare salt print of The First Inaugural of Abraham Lincoln, 4 March 1861 (est. $20/30,000). Dedicated press release available.

Among the contemporary highlights is Robert Heinecken’s Lessons in Posing Subjects (est. $100/200,000), the photographer’s incisive examination of implied meanings in contemporary visual culture and one of only two complete sets extant. Another notable work by Heinecken is Upper Middle Class Nuclear Family (est. $25/35,000), a suite of 4 large-scale unique Polaroid Polacolor prints that come originally from the Polaroid Collection.

Other significant contemporary offerings include Nobuyoshi Araki’s diptych From Close to Range (est. $70/100,000) and two works from David LaChapelle’s legendary series Jesus is My Homeboy – Sermon (est. $20/30,000) and Intervention (est. $20/30,000). Photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, and Thomas Struth will also be on offer.

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