Swann Auction Galleries’ Thursday, October 18 sale of Photographs & Photobooks, which boasted historical and contemporary fine art photographers alongside stand out vernacular material, earned $1.6M.
The top lot of the sale was Constantin Brâncusi’s Vu d’atelier, a circa 1928 silver print of the artist’s studio, featuring four of his iconic sculptures, including Socrates which is part of MoMA’s collection. The image brought $125,000, over an estimate of $30,0000-45,000.
Roy DeCarava was a highlight of the sale with three auction records being made for the artist. The complete Roy DeCarava, with 12 hand-printed dust-grain photogravures, including many of his iconic images of Harlem, set the record for the portfolio and the artist with $100,000; while a late 1960s-early 70s printing of Hallway, circa 1953, earned $31,250, a record for the image.
A complete, comprehensive three-part portfolio of 30 prints from Herman Leonard’s Images of Jazz series, with photographs of Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday, set the record for the photographer with $30,000.
Lot 202: Herman Leonard, Images of Jazz, 3-part portfolio with 30 images, selenium-tones silver print, 1948-60 and 1991, printed 1998. Sold for $30,000.
Nick Brandt’s 2005 archival pigment prints, Giraffe Triptych, Maasai Mara, which showcases three giraffes in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, brought $15,000.
Vernacular works continue to shine at auction. R.J. Waters’ group of three panoramas depicting San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake, as well as during and after the devasting fire that followed, garnered $21,250.
Other notable works included a late 1950s-early 60s printing of W. Eugene Smith’s The Walk to Paradise Garden, 1948, which sold for $47,500. The silver print features the artist’s children and has been employed in multiple ad campaigns.