Fall 2020 Preview: Fine Photographs

At Auction October 22

Highlights for both the new collector and the seasoned aficionado include the deluxe edition of Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s Fotografías, 1945, with three vintage photographs; Man Ray’s 1931 Électricité portfolio with 10 photogravures after his rayographs; Josef Koudelka’s Czechoslovakia, 1968, and Richard Misrach’s Golden Gate Bridge, 2.24.00, 6:50 A.M., 2000, as well as two elegant Alma Lavenson photographs.

Lot 39: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Fotografías, deluxe edition, with three vintage prints, signed twice and inscribed by Bravo, 1945. $25,000 to $35,000.
Lot 21: Man Ray, Électricité, portfolio of ten photogravures after Man Ray’s rayographs, text by Pierre Bost, 1931. $20,000 to $30,000.
Lot 43: Alma Lavenson, Shadowed Wall, Biltmore Hotel, Santa Barbara, silver print, 1929. $15,000 to $25,000.

The Estate of Evelyne Daitz

The cornerstone of our auction is formed by the estate of the trailblazing gallerist Evelyne Daitz, who worked with Lee Witkin for many years. Her collection includes many of the iconic portfolios produced by Witkin, including Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s Platinum Portfolio and Edward Weston’s Portfolio. Other highlights include The First Apeiron Portfolio and a Barbara Kasten Polaroid.

Lot 209: Barbara Kasten, Construct III-A, Polaroid, 1980. From the Estate of Evelyne Daitz. $4,000 to $6,000.
Lot 50: Edward Weston, Edward Weston Portfolio, complete with ten photographs printed by Cole Weston, 1925-48. From the Estate of Evelyne Daitz. $15,000 to $25,000.

FSA & Documentary Photographs

Documentary photographs, especially many of those made during the Great Depression, remain deeply relevant and are among the most important and potent work produced by American practitioners. Photographs by Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, John Vachon, and others form this compelling section.

Related Reading: The Social Document: Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother’

Lot 75: Walker Evans, custom case with 11 FSA photographs, ferrotyped silver prints, 1930s, printed 1970s. $12,000 to $18,000.

New York in Photographs

The Big Apple has inspired photographers for generations. Practitioners such as Berenice Abbott and Margaret Bourke-White have helped form the way we see this American metropolis, and Lewis Hine, Helen Levitt and Weegee documented the lives within it. 

Lot 93: Margaret Bourke-White, Chrysler Building, New York City, platinum print, 1931, printed 1998. $5,000 to $7,500.

The Celebrity Image

A star-studded run of portraits of artists and performers includes images of Igor Stravinksy, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and The Beatles, as well as the rare Yousuf Karsh portfolio Karsh—Fifteen Portraits, complete with fifteen stunning oversized portraits and his best known pictures of Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill.

Lot 119: Yousuf Karsh, Karsh—Fifteen Portraits, portfolio with 15 oversized silver prints, 1941-70, printed 1993. $40,000 to $60,000.


The Parisian je ne sais quoi is alive with light, love, and humor in a series of photographs from this iconic city. Nighttime photography, kissing couples, and more by Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Brassai, and others form the heart of this section. 

Lot 163: Robert Doineau, A portfolio entitled Robert Doineau, complete with 15 silver prints, 1945-72, printed 1979. $15,000 to $25,000.

Lot 58: Paul Outerbridge, Jr., Sandwiches on Tray, tricolor carbo print, circa 1938. $15,000 to $25,000.

Vernacular Photography

A dynamic and large section with portraits of artists and other cultural figures such as Oscar Wilde (wearing a cape, a garment he was a strong proponent of), train travel and track construction, magnificent travel albums and imagery from China and Africa, industrial documentary albums, a couple memorable food albums (including biscuit making in England), and rock ‘n roll. We also feature a strong section of prize-winning photojournalism (lots 269 to 273 and 287 to 299), a series of composites describing the lunar phases and surfaces of the Moon by Adolf Voigt and Hans Giebler, postcards from the 1913 Armory Showthe infamous Degenerate Art exhibition in 1938 Germanyand much more. 

Lot 238: Portrait of Oscar Wilde wearing a cape and hat, by Napoleon Sarony, silver print, 1882, printed 1910. $1,000 to $1,500.

Lot 277: Howard Zieff, couple in a boat from the Daily News series, silver print, 1950s. $2,000 to $3,000.

What You Need to Know for Auction Day

This auction will be held live and conducted remotely by Swann auctioneers taking bids from multiple platforms. While there will not be bidding in the room, we will be accepting order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live online via the Swann Galleries App. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, and it can also be accessed on a desktop at live.swanngalleries.com

Please note: limited phone bidding will be available for this auction. Phone bidding registrations will close the day before the sale at 4pm.

At this time, our exhibition and auction location at 104 East 25th Street is closed to the public. Private viewings are available by appointment only, and must be arranged in advance. To make an appointment please contact the specialist.


Deborah Rogal

Director, Photographs & Photobooks


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