Records & Results: Photographs & Photobooks

Brâncusi Breaks $100k at Photographs Auction

Records for DeCarava & Sidibé


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.



Lot 71: Constantin Brâncusi, Vu d’atelier [The artist’s studio], silver print, circa 1928. Sold for $125,000.


Contemporary Works


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.



Lot 178: Roy Decarava, Portfolio entitled Roy Decarava, 12 dust grain photogravures, 1950-79, printed 1991. Sold for $100,000.



Lot 177: Roy DeCarava, Hallway, silver print, circa 1953, printed late 1960s-early 70s. Sold for $31,250.


Additional contemporary works included a suite of 25 photographs by Malick Sidibé, in the artist’s custom frames, which set the record for the artist at $55,000.



Lot 277: Malick Sidibé, Suite of 25 photographs with custom frames, silver print, 1964-2001. Sold for $55,000.


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.


Early Photography


Early photography found success in the sale: The Pyramids of Dashdoor, from the East, 1858, by Francis Frith, was won for $15,000.



Lot 9: Francis Frith, The Pyramids of Dashdoor, from the East, mammoth-plate albumen print, 1858. Sold for $15,000.


An album containing 200 hand-colored cartes-de-visite, featuring people of Japan and China, by Felice Beato, John Thomson and F.W. Sutton, from 1863-69, sold for $35,000.



Lot 14: Felice Beato, John Thomson & F.W. Sutton, album containing 200 hand-colored cartes-de-visite, with people from Japan and China, 1863-69. Sold for $35,000.


Vernacular Works


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.



Lot 336: R.J. Waters, No. 51 Business District of San Francisco, April 17, 1906, silver print. Sold for $21,250.



Lot 336: R.J. Waters, The Burning City, San Francisco, 10 A.M. April 18, 1906, silver print. Sold for $21,250.



Lot 336: R.J. Waters, The Ruins of San Francisco, April 21, 1906, silver print. Sold for $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.



Lot 154: W. Eugene Smith, The Walk to Paradise Garden, silver print, 1948, printed late 1950s-early 60s. Sold for $47,500.


Ansel Adams’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, printed before 1977, earned $37,500.



Lot 103: Ansel Adams, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, silver print, 1941, printed before 1977. Sold for $37,500.


Complete Results.

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