Records & Results: Icons & Images: Fine & Vernacular Photographs

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The results of our autumn auction, Icons & Images: Fine & Vernacular Photographs, emphasize the magnetism and enduring popularity of iconic imagery with collectors and dealers alike. Over time, icons (such as Dorothea Lange’s photograph Migrant Mother, pictured below), become archetypes of the culture they came from. 

Lot 125: Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, oversized silver print, 1936, printed after. 
Sold October 15, 2015 for $20,000.

An enduring classic from Dorothea Lange’s time working for the Farm Security Administration, Migrant Mother, continues on in time as an often-remembered face of the Great Depression. Of course the subject has since become mythic in American photographic history, and the oversized silver print sold well over its estimate at $20,000.

Lot 103: Sally Mann, Candy Cigarette, silver print, 1989. Sold October 15, 2015 for $215,000.

Sally Mann’s Candy Cigarette, a gift to former gallerist Marcuse Pfeifer, sold for $215,000. Strengthening the female presence in the list of top lots, contemporary photographer Lalla Essaydi’s enigmatic print from her first series, Converging Territories #10, also sold for a near double of its high estimate at $22,500.
Lot 360: Lalla Essaydi, Converging Territories #10, oversized chromogenic print, 2003. 
Sold October 15, 2015 for $22,500.

Lot 99: Lewis W. Hine, Men at Work, first edition, signed by Hine, 1932. 
Sold October 15, 2015 for $12,500.

A signed first edition of Hine’s famous photobook Men at Work, and W. Eugene Smith’s print from The Country Doctor series, both went for auction records of $12,500 each, highlighting a lasting interest in quality documentary work. 

Lot 155: W. Eugene Smith, from The Country Doctor series in LIFE magazine, silver print, 1948, printed circa 1953. Sold October 15, 2015 for $12,500. 

Lot 103: Group of photographs related to Artkraft Strauss, in color and monochrome, 1948-80s. 
Sold October 15, 2015 for $2,375.


An archive of material pertaining to Artkraft Strauss [a company best known for its neon signage in New York City’s Times Square] nearly doubled its high estimate with $2,375. Included in the archive are contact prints of various signage, an album entitled “Commercial Signs” and photographs documenting the design, construction and installation of various sign and billboard advertisements. Fine examples of vernacular photography like this illustrate the pervasive nature of photography–these images are the texture of our quotidian existence and a vital part of contemporary visual language. 




Full results can be found here