Magnum Photographs: 70th Anniversary

Magnum Photos, founded as a cooperative agency in 1947, is perhaps the most well-known photographic collective in the world. Through the Magnum photographs included in our October 19 auction of Art & Storytelling: Photographs and Photobooks, a viewer can clearly see the “human connections” invoked by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a founder of Magnum, indicating a global community of which we are all a part.

Lot 78: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Valencia, Spain, silver print, 1933, printed 1990s. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000.

Lot 79: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sunday on the Banks of the Marne, silver print, 1938, printed 1980s. Estimate $8,000 to $12,000.

A specialist in Swann Galleries’ Prints & Drawings department recently co-curated a survey entitled Framing Community: Magnum Photos 1947-Present, and writes in the publication of the same name:

Whether they visit foreign countries or probe their own neighborhoods, these photographers capture moments through which the viewer may make sense of the photographer’s perspective on any given time and its people. … Nostalgia may be understood as homesickness, or “unsatisfied desire.” In these cases, the desire is for connection and an understanding of community. While the groups portrayed vary in location and scope, the desire for the unattainable is universal.

Lot 201: Elliot Erwitt, Paris, silver print, 1989. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

Lot 143: Cornell Capa, Bolshoi Ballet School, Moscow, silver print, 1956, printed 2003. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

The breadth of the Magnum philosophy allows for loose concepts to lend themselves to beautiful visual connections. Displayed together in our preview exhibition, a viewer can see reflections of Burt Glinn’s photograph of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick in Inge Morath’s photograph from the Mask Series, a collaboration with Saul Steinberg.

Lot 180: Burt Glinn, Andy Warhol with Edie Sedgwick and Chuck Wein, silver print, 1965, printed circa 1990s. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

Lot 174: Inge Morath, Saul Steinberg Mask Series: People in Their Car, silver print, 1961, printed 1980s. Estimate $2,000 to $3,000.

This year marks the Seventieth Anniversary of the founding of Magnum, a landmark event commemorated by multiple exhibitions, including the above-mentioned Framing Community: Magnum Photos 1947-Present at Hunter College Art Gallery (through November 26th). Others include Women Seeing Women at Staley-Wise Gallery (Summer 2017) and the comprehensive Magnum Manifesto at the International Center of Photography (Summer 2017).

Lot 279: Ernst Haas, Rose, dye transfer print, 1970, printed 1999.

A seventy-year legacy within the young medium of photography is something to celebrate, and we could think of no better way than displaying Magnum photographs as their own salon of human connection.

The display of Magnum works in our October 19th auction of Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks.

Browse the full catalogue.