A Look Inside the Catalogue
Left, Lot 38: Julia Margaret Cameron, Portrait of Kate Keown, albumen print, 1866. Sold for $106,250.
Right, Lot 380: Alfred Stieglitz, 291, a full set complete with 9 issues and large-format photo gravure The Steerage, New York, 1916.
Sold for $52,500.
This sale of Photographs & Photobooks spanned nearly two centuries of the medium. Among those featured is Julia Margaret Cameron's rare and luminous Portrait of Kate Keown (No. 4 Series of 12 Life Sized Heads), 1866. Cameron's Portrait of Kate Keown was the one of the first "life-sized heads" Cameron executed with a new larger-format camera and trimmed to the circular shape. Although Cameron's pictorial style continued to embody an inherent romanticism, this enlarged print size allowed her to render a subject more dramatically and pursue an investigation of the effects of sculptural lighting on her subject's faces. Scarce modernist objects included Alfred Stieglitz's 291, a full set complete with the exceptionally rare large-format photogravure of The Steerage, on vellum.
Twentieth-century highlights featured Robert Frank's Political Rally, Chicago, 1956, and Bar, Gallup, New Mexico, 1955, (both from an important private collection) and Margaret Bourke-White's Louisville Flood, 1937. Bourke-White had arranged with LIFE to publish a portfolio of 12 classic images, of which At the Time of the Louisville Flood was the first picture. Due to her death in 1971, the publication was never completed or fulfilled. In the 1990s, the LIFE Gallery of Photography began issuing posthumous prints from Bourke-White's negatives in a slightly smaller format. These later LIFE photographs were produced with Bourke-White's embossed facsimile signature in an edition of 50 numbered copies, which quickly sold out.
Left, Lot 250: Robert Frank, Political Rally, Chicago, silver print, 1956. Sold for $67,500.
Right, Lot 196: Yousuf Karsh, Karsh–Fifteen Portraits, portfolio of 15 oversized silver prints, 1941-70. Sold for an auction record of $87,500.
Dorothea Lange and Yousuf Karsh round out the selection of fine twentieth century prints. Contemporary prints were well-represented by Nick Brandt, Nan Goldin and Richard Misrach (pictured below), among others. Contemporary photobooks include a set of 15 artist's books by Edward Ruscha, all first editions, a few signed and inscribed. Other rare and important photobooks on offer are a first edition of Robert Frank's The Americans, signed, 1958, and Brett Weston's copy of Atget, Photographe de Paris.
Left, Lot 107: Dorothea Lange, White Angel Breadline, silver print, 1933. Sold for $30,000.
Left, Lot 413: Edward Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations, first edition, in set of 14 titles by the artist. Sold for $45,000.
Right, Lot 262: Richard Misrach, Desert Cactus, split-toned silver print, 1975. Sold $17,500
California is well represented by Edward Vischer's Pictorial of California, 1870, a rare volume with more than 150 photographs, 17 after pictures by Andrew J. Russell, Carleton Watkins, and Eadweard Muybridge, and a host of vernacular images and albums. The book features a new visual iconography, one that details the special topographic, religious, and geographic features unique to the state of California and incorporated photographic images, drawings, maps, and engravings.
Lot 323: Foreign Photographs, mugshot album depicting arrestees from various nations, 1913-25. Sold for $10,625.
Among the variety of vernacular material offered, a group of rare tintypes comprised of special occupationals, unusual studies of animals, military images, entrepreneurs, artists and more, brought $21,250.
Cusco, featured below, is a remarkable 1920s album with 50 mounted photographs by Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi. This group of compelling photographs reflect Chambi's eye for detail and accomplished technical range. Chambi, whose work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York from March 23–May 3, 1979, had a commercial studio in Cuzco, and was a popular portrait photographer who produced carte-postale prints. However, the scenes in this album were created in the field and are medium-format prints.
Left, Lot 300: Group of 45 tintypes, 1860s-90s.
Sold for $21,250.
Lot 101: Martin Chambi, contemporary binder with 50 medium-format photographs of Peru, 1920s. Sold for an artist record of $16,900.
For more information on the sale contact a specialist in the Photographs & Photobooks department.
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