Ketterer Kunst announces online-only auction of photographs from the Victor Martin-Malburet Collection

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Ketterer Kunst announces online-only auction of photographs from the Victor Martin-Malburet Collection
James McDivitt [Gemini IV], 3-7 June 1965, The first photograph of a human being in space: Ed White during the first American EVA. Vintage chromogenic print on fiber-based Kodak paper, printed 1965, 20.3 x 25.4cm. Staring price: € 100. Estimate: € 5,000-7,000.

MUNICH.- These photographs not only allowed for spectacular insight into unknown worlds, they also changed the way we see our planet. A total of 277 lots, comprising 377 iconic, original photographs, will be called up in the Ketterer Kunst Online Only Auction on July 15th. Each lot has a starting price of € 100. Bids can be submitted from June 20th on

All shots were made between 1958 and 1972 and come from the acclaimed Victor Martin-Malburet Collection. Comprising more than 3000 NASA vintage photographs from the early days of space travel to the triumphant Apollo missions, the collection is nothing less than the most beautiful and most fascinating visual legacy of the 20th century. The earliest man-made pictures in the collection were shot by John Glenn, America‘s first astronaut in orbit, while the last ones were shot by Eugene Cernan, the captain of Apollo 17 and the last man on the moon.

For more than 15 years, the Paris-based curator and art collector Victor Martin-Malburet (38) compiled the most extensive and most significant collection of original NASA photographs with a strong passion for space adventure and great attention to detail. They cover the launch of Mercury, as well as both the tremendous technological progress achieved through Gemini and the successful moon landing during the Apollo program.

“The photographs capture the very moment science fiction becomes reality,“ is how auctioneer Gudrun Ketterer explains her fascination for the collection. “It was both the golden age of space exploration and a seminal moment in the history of photography, where the artistic legacy of space pioneers remains so to speak.“

Victor Martin-Malburet explains: “Astronauts must have been the most venturous photographers of all time. In space-suits and -capsules that offered little protection, they skillfully captured sensational views that still evoke awe and amazement today. To me these photographs are both artworks and monuments of contemporary history. They inspire the observer, make us reflect, give us hope, make us feel humble, brave, and, most of all, teach us to be grateful.“

Collection highlights have been shown in exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum for Modern Art in Copenhagen, the Grand Palais in Paris, the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg and the Onstad Kunstcenter in Oslo.

While the photographs are still products of the analog era, the astronauts received state-of-the-art training from leading companies such as Hasselblad, Kodak and Zeiss, as well as lessons from the best photographers working for magazines including “Life“ and “National Geographic“. In this way pilots, scientists, engineers and astronauts took on the role of photo artists as well.

“These are epic masterworks of exceptional beauty“, says Gudrun Ketterer. “They tell the fascinating story of space travel and give us unprecedented impressions of uncharted moon landscapes. The camera shot looking back onto Earth must have had the most significant impact on mankind. The miraculous nature of our own planet, together with its vulnerability only became fathomable through perspective from outer space. Accordingly, these images once and forever changed our understanding of the world and our role in the universe.“

In the 1960s and early 1970s many of the photographs published by NASA became milestones of popular culture. Furthermore, they strongly impacted the development of a new environmental awareness.

The full significance of the rich photographic yield, collected by the astronauts remained hidden from the public eye for decades. Only authorized scientists could access the majority of photographs stored in the NASA archives at the Manned Spacecraft Center, known today as the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. Among them were rare panoramica depicting astronauts walking on the moon and the first shot of planet Earth rising above the horizon.

The artworks offered in the auction contain original NASA stamps, captions and identification numbers. In many cases the collector Victor Martin-Malburet was able to allocate personal and often emotional remarks the astronauts made during the photo shooting. This tells the so far unknown visual tales of one of mankind‘s greatest adventures.

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