Photographs & Photobooks
On February 14, 1952, Swann Galleries held the first auction in the U.S. dedicated to photography. Under the direction of Vice President Daile Kaplan, the department remains committed to innovation in the medium by introducing new genres, including the first sales dedicated to photobooks and vernacular photographs in 2006 and 2014, respectively.
With more combined years of experience than any equivalent division in a major auction house, the seasoned team specializes in classical and contemporary works by master fine art photographers, as well as photographs that employ alternative and antiquarian processes, including daguerreotypes and tintypes. The department considers the photobook a foundational component of fine art photography, and offers a range of rare and limited titles each season. We also offer vernacular photographs, including snapshots, travel albums, industrial surveys, crime photography and documentary typologies.
The top lot in the department’s history is the complete set of Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian, which sold for $1,440,000 in October 2012. Other highlights include Ansel Adam’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, in December 2009 for $360,000, and Julia Margaret Cameron’s Portrait of Kate Keown for $106,250 in October 2016.