Countdown to Eternity: A Photographer’s Look At Dr. King’s Final Year

New York City-born photographer Benedict Fernandez is know for his documentary photography, which has depicted everything from protest movements to cultural explorations in Puerto Rico, Russia and Japan. Perhaps one of Fernandez’s most poignant bodies of work, Countdown to Eternity: Photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, features photographs of Dr. King during the last year of his life, as well as the aftermath of his assassination.

 

 

Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity

Lot 232: Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity: Photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, limited edition portfolio, 12 prints signed and numbered by the artist, 1989. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

 

Countdown to Eternity began as a traveling exhibition of eighty photographs taken from 1967-68, featuring everything from intimate moments like Dr. King playing catch with his sons, to powerful images of the Civil Rights leader speaking to gathered crowds across the country and marching in protests. The work gives the viewer a multifaceted look into the life and work of an icon. 

 

 

Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lot 232: Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity: Photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, limited edition portfolio, 12 prints signed and numbered by the artist, 1989. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

 

The earliest photographs from the exhibition were taken in April of 1967 when Dr. King gave a speech at Riverside Church in New York, the same speech he would give just a week later at the United Nations. The first photograph in this post shows Dr. King delivering that speech in front of the United Nations building. King would be murdered a year to the day after his Riverside Church oration.

 

 

Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lot 232: Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity: Photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, limited edition portfolio, 12 prints signed and numbered by the artist, 1989. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

 

Our upcoming auction of Printed & Manuscript African Americana features the limited edition portfolio of the same name, with twelve prints chosen from the traveling exhibition. Only fifty of these portfolios were made, and many are now housed in the collections of various institutions, including the National Portrait Gallery

 

Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lot 232: Benedict Fernandez, Countdown to Eternity: Photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, limited edition portfolio, 12 prints signed and numbered by the artist, 1989. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

 

For more information on this lot, or any other items in our upcoming Printed & Manuscript Americana auction, take a look at the complete catalogue