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Sotheby's photographs sale features important daguerreotypes from the Stanley B. Burns Collecction
Heinrich Kühn, In Bacino Di San Marco, Venezia. Gum-bichromate print, signed in brown watercolor on the image, with title in pencil on the reverse, framed, circa 1898, 20 by 25 7/8 in. (50.8 by 65.7 cm.). Estimate $40/60,000. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s fall auction of Photographs on 5 October in New York will offer a variety of exceptional works from the 19th century to today. Of special note are masterpieces by Robert Frank, Edward Weston, Eugène Atget, Gustave Le Gray and William Eggleston among many others. This carefully curated, encyclopedic sale will feature 200 works with estimates ranging from $1,000 to $300,000. The New York exhibition will be open to the public from 30 September through 4 October.

Leading the sale is Philip Haas’s remarkable portrait of John Quincy Adams (estimate $150/250,000). Taken in the spring of 1843, this commanding daguerreotype of President, Secretary of State, Senator, Congressman and diplomat John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) is a landmark in both photographic and American history. When he posed for this portrait, Adams had completed his term as the sixth American president (1825–29) but was still serving his country as a congressman from Massachusetts. Adams documented the sitting in entries for 8 and 16 March 1843, when he twice visited the studio of Philip Haas. This recently rediscovered plate is believed to be the earliest photograph of an American president to appear at auction and the earliest extant photograph of Adams himself.

Other notable 19th century photographs include an exceptional selection of Eugène Atget prints from the Estate of Wagner Thielens, highlighted by his botanical subject Nymphéa (estimate 50/70,000); Gustave LeGray’s 1857 print Grande vague, Cette (The Great Wave, Sète) (estimate $30/50,000); Heinrich Kühn’s large-format In Bacino di San Marco, Venezia (estimate $40/60,000), one of the artist’s earliest efforts in the gum bichromate technique; and an important selection of daguerreotypes from the noted collection of Stanley B. Burns, MD.

Masterworks from Robert Frank’s seminal photobook The Americans are featured, including ‘New Orleans’ (Trolley) (estimate $200/300,000) and ‘Charleston, S.C.’ (right, estimate $300/500,000). Printed nearly full frame and flush-mounted to Masonite with inked edges, Charleston was exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1969 and is the largest photograph by Frank to appear at auction.

The auction features fascinating insight into the early work and romances of Robert Mapplethorpe. Robert Mapplethorpe: Objects of Desire, Important Works from the Collection of David Croland features personal images and objects by the late photographer telling the story of his three-year relationship with model and artist David Croland. The rare pieces from Croland’s collection, including jewelry, works on paper, and collages, such as Untitled (David Against Brick Wall) (right, estimate $30/50,000), represent the full range of Mapplethorpe’s creative vision from this early period and appear at auction for the first time.

American Modernism is well represented by a rare early print of Edward Weston’s Nude on Sand, from his famous series of nude studies of his wife, Charis Wilson on the sands of Oceano, California (estimate $200/300,000) and by standout photographs by Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer, including his seminal image ‘Young Explorer’ (estimate $15/25,000). Pierre Dubreuil’s Au Luxembourg (La Fontaine de Carpeaux au Luxembourg (estimate $60/90,000) and ‘The Aviator’ (estimate $60/90,000) are highlights of the auction’s European Modernism offerings.

Dorothy Lange’s iconic ‘White Angel Breadline’ (San Francisco) (estimate $70/90,000), depicting the isolation, helplessness, and poverty during the Great Depression, leads a group of classic American images by Lewis Hine, Walker Evans, and Berenice Abbott.

Fashion photography is highlighted by Sotheby’s partnership with VISIONAIRE and legendary photographer Steven Klein. Founded by Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos in 1991, VISIONAIRE conceptualizes and produces public art installations, films, experiences, branded content, art multiples, and products — all curated through the lens of art, fashion and contemporary culture. For their 67th edition, VISIONAIRE partnered with Klein to produce a limited edition collector’s series of 10 photographic prints by the artist. In celebration, Sotheby’s is honored to host a specially-designed video installation by VISIONAIRE and Klein in our New York galleries. Killer Heels (above, estimate $18/22,000), a still from his video for the 2014 Brooklyn Museum exhibition of the same name, will be offered directly from Klein’s studio. The video installation and the photograph will be on view during the Photographs pre-sale exhibition.

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