Phillips' Photographs presents a selection of highlighted works from October Live Sale

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Phillips' Photographs presents a selection of highlighted works from October Live Sale
Bernd and Hilla Becher, Water Towers: (Kugel unten Geschlossen), circa 1960s-1980s. Estimate: $120,000 - 180,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips’ upcoming Photographs auction on 12 October features over 300 lots spanning the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Led by A Reverence for Beauty: The Peter C. Bunnell Collection, Part 1, the auction additionally features a choice group from the Amon Carter Museum of American Museum, as well as work by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Robert Adams, and Wolfgang Tillmans, all currently subjects of major museum career retrospectives. Alongside the live auction, Phillips will host a companion online-only sale, Dorothea Lange: The Family Collection, which will be open for bidding from 3 to 13 October.

Sarah Krueger, Head of Photographs, New York, said, “We are thrilled by the truly fine selection of photographs in our October sale which ranges from rare 19th century images to 20th century masterworks, from postwar documents to cutting-edge Contemporary, all of which beautifully complements our online offering of Dorothea Lange: The Family Collection. We look forward to presenting our international community of collectors with the best photographs the category has to offer.”

Chris Mahoney, Phillips Senior International Specialist of Photographs, said, “Phillips is honored to have been chosen to sell work from the collection of esteemed curator, teacher, and photographic historian, Peter C. Bunnell. His vast and nuanced understanding of photography, not to mention his friendships with so many photographers, enriched a collection that is highly personal. We are pleased to partner with the Amon Carter Museum of American Art on a sale of material benefitting acquisition funds. Since its founding in 1961, the Amon Carter has been actively engaged with photography and photographers, and it is a privilege to help them continue that mission.”

Featured as one of the leading works in the sale, a bravura large format print of Ansel Adams’ Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, headlines a suite of photographs being deaccessioned by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Deeply attuned to the impact of man upon the environment, Adams’ image captures the presence of the built environment within the sweep of the landscape. Other highlights include André Kertész’s noire-tinged evocation of a Paris street, a modernist nude study by Czech master František Drtikol, William Eggleston’s southern-gothic Morton, Mississippi, and 15 other lots of classic and contemporary photography all sold to benefit the Amon Carter’s acquisition funds.

The seminal German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher are currently the subjects of a retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Phillips’ auction offers a robust selection of their precise and elegantly austere images, including the imposing 9-part grid Water Towers: (Kugel unten Geschlossen) as well as several single and combined images. Wolfgang Tillman’s work is currently being celebrated at The Museum of Modern Art, and the sale features a number of key images from his oeuvre, including his serene skyscape Transient 3. American Silence: The Photographs of Robert Adams is the long-awaited retrospective on view at the National Gallery of Art, and several of Adams’ quietly eloquent works are on offer at Phillips, from his masterful twilight study of Berthoud, Colorado, to his image of sun-bleached Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Alongside these works is Davis Hockney’s Inside It Opens Up as Well, a hybrid work that is densely packed with art historical and personal references. Within the epic scale of this piece are Hockney’s own hexagonal landscape paintings, as well as the artist himself, pictured with arms raised in a moment of revelation.

A rare 1855 panorama of San Francisco, Cal., by George Robinson Fardon is the focal point of Phillip’s 19th century offerings. This remarkably well-preserved example is one of only four Fardon panoramas known to exist, and it sets forth a myriad of minute detail documenting businesses, residences, and public buildings. A daguerreotype by the celebrated Southworth & Hawes and a seascape by Gustave Le Gray are other highlights of early photography.

Phillips will present William Eggleston’s earliest portfolio, 14 Pictures, published in 1974 and featuring the rich saturated colors of the dye transfer process associated with the best of his work. The sale features the dye transfer print Untitled (Wonder Bread) and a pigment print of Untitled, Memphis. Other postwar work includes a masterful print of Robert Frank’s Barbershop Through Screen Door, McClellanville, South Carolina, and an early print of Diane Arbus’s Lady Bartender At Home With Souvenir Dog, New Orleans, LA.

Included in the sale is also a previously unseen group of photographs by Minor White. Sent to a student in the early 1960s, it includes the twelve-photograph Sequence 16: Steely the Barb of Infinity. Also featured is a fine selection of work by Walker Evans, including Country Store and Gas Station, Alabama, formerly in the collection of Alfred Barr, the first director of The Museum of Modern Art.

Additionally, Helmut Newton’s Saddle I, Paris, demonstrates a devilishly playful approach to fashion photography, as do the beestung lips in Irving Penn’s Bee (A), New York. Vik Muniz’s Flag, after Jasper Johns from Pictures of Pigment leads an especially strong selection of work by this artist. The auction consisting of over 300 works will be on view beginning Sunday 2 October prior to the live auction on 12 October.

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