The Vernacular Eye

Swann has seen some impressive results for vernacular photography in recent months, and now our Photographs department is launching a sale devoted to rare 19th and 20th century albums, exceptional commercial images, eye-grabbing photographs by documentary or scientific practitioners, as well as fun three-dimensional photo objects.

The sale, scheduled for April 17, is titled The Vernacular Eye: Photographic Albums, Snapshots & Objects, and is the first auction devoted to vernacular photography.

From a diverse and compelling collection of 97 real photo postcards, circa 1910-12.

Album with 51 cyanotypes depicting gardens, parks and the harbor in Boston, 1900-05.

Album with 250 photographs of window displays at Kleinhams mens clothing store in Buffalo, 1919-26.

U.S. Air Force album of “high altitude balloons” made by Firestone Tire and Rubber, 1942-44.

Album with approximately 200 charming cyanotype snapshots, 1899.

Group of 10 whimsical anthropomorphic studies of fruit and vegetable sculptures, 1930s-40s.

13 matchboxes with sepia-toned images of prima ballerinas in the Bolshoi Ballet, from a larger group of items relating to smoking, 1900s-50s.
Mini-archive of photographs and ephemera relating to transvestism and gay rights in New York City in the early 1970s.

A choice group of 34 delightful snapshots featuring men and women bending over, mugging, mooning,and otherwise facing away from the camera, 1920s-1950s.