NEW YORK, NY.-
From 6 to 20 November 2020, Christies
Voyage To Another World: The Victor Martin-Malburet Photograph Collection will present 700 lots, comprising approximately 2,400 vintage original photographs showcasing the artistic heritage of the golden age of space exploration when NASA, and its astronaut-photographers, captured the first forays into space and onto the surface of another world. The collection is the most comprehensive private collection of NASA photographs ever presented at auction, and spans every visual milestone of the space program, from the early days of Mercury, the technical advances of Gemini and Lunar Orbiter, to the triumphs of Apollo. Alongside the iconic images, Voyage to Another World boasts photographs which were not released by NASA at the time of the missions. With estimates ranging from £800 to £30,000, the sale offers collectors across the globe a unique opportunity to acquire a universal moment in the history of mankind.
In a time when photography was still analogue, requiring light-sensitive chemistry, film and photographic papers, the astronauts were instructed by NASA, Hasselblad, Kodak, Zeiss specialists and by Life and National Geographic photographers such as Ralph Morse and Dean Conger. Through their cameras, the astronauts-turned-artists were able to convey to mankind the beauty and profundity of their experience into space, forever changing the way we see ourselves and our place in the universe.
Back on Earth, many images released by NASA instantly became pop culture touchstones, leading to the birth of a global environmental consciousness. However the public was not fully aware of the wealth of the astronauts camera work as the unreleased photographs were accessible only to accredited researchers in the archives of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston. These rare pictures lay uncelebrated for decades, such as the first photograph of Earthrise, the only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon and incredible panoramas taken by each of the 12 astronauts who walked on the Moon.
The collection has been meticulously assembled over the course of 15 years by Victor Martin-Malburet and includes a corresponding catalogue which, thanks to the mission transcripts made available by NASA, retraces mankinds first journey to another world step by step. Together the photographs and catalogue, capture the sights and conversations of these defining moments, allowing collectors to share the excitement and magic of space travel.
Extraordinary photographs were taken for the first time, with highlights of auction including the first images of the Earth from space, alongside those of the lunar surface, the dark side of the Moon, spacewalks, moonwalks and the first space selfie. Further leading lots feature rare large format photographs specially produced by NASA for presentation and fascinating panoramic mosaics taken both in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface, which can be compared to the finest abstract art.
Victor Martin-Malburet commented: The astronauts are often portrayed as great scientists and heroes, but rarely are they hailed as some of the most significant photographers of all time. The early pioneers of Mercury and Gemini were given as a canvas space and the Earth; the Apollo astronauts an alien world. From the thin protections of their space capsules and EMUs (Extravehicular Mobility Units), they captured, with skill and daring, photographs which immediately embraced the iconography of the sublime, inspiring awe and wonder.
Voyage to Another World Part I (open for bidding from November 6 to 19) features Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, from the birth of the Space Age to Eagles landing on Apollo 11, including Apollo 8, the first mission when humans left Planet Earth and explored deep space and lunar orbit. Voyage to Another World Part II (open for bidding from November 6 to 20) features missions Apollo 11 to Apollo 17, from Neil Armstrongs first step to Eugene Cernans last step on the Moon, including the great voyages of exploration with the Lunar Rover which allowed the astronauts to travel dozen of kilometres on the lunar surface.
The collection received museum acclaim in major art exhibitions which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 2019 including the Grand Palais in Paris, the Kunsthaus in Zürich, the Museum Der Moderne in Salzburg, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen and the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo.