Photographs & Photobooks: May 2021 Auction Highlights

At Auction May 27, 2021

Lot 65: August Sander, Gunther Sander, Handlanger [Bricklayer], silver print, 1928, printed 1970s. Estimate $15,000 to $25,000.

Exploring the thematic and visual diversity of the photographic medium, this auction covers twentieth-century masters as well as contemporary practitioners and items from the visual vernacular: albums, archives, and individual objects. Important social documentary images from both Europe and America, early color work, and vernacular material range from snapshots recording historic events, photojournalism, panoramas, mugshots, and NASA imagery. We are proud to feature vintage and rare work by several important women practitioners, including Imogen Cunningham, Alma Lavenson, and Berenice Abbott. Important chroniclers of the American scene include Roy DeCarava, Robert Frank, and others. And finally, we offer an iconic Peter Beard photograph Cheetah Orphans in Mweiga near Nyeri.

Lot 24: Hansel Mieth, Santiago Island, Caribbean (Mad Monkey), silver print, 1939. $5,000 to $7,500.

Early American Documentary & WPA-Era Photography

Lots 31 to 64


Lots 72 to 96


Lots 97 to 121

20th-Century European Photography

Lots 153 to 193

Lot 20: Imogen Cunningham, Shell Collection 3, silver print, circa 1930. Estimate $15,000 to $25,000.
Lot 235: Roy DeCarava, Catsup Bottles, Table and Coat, New York, silver print, 1952, printed 1982. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Lot 202: Berenice Abbott, New York, complete portfolio of 12 silver prints, 1931-38, printed 1979. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000.

New York City

Lots 194 to 220

Mid-Century American Photography

Lots 221 to 270

Color Photography

Lots 271 to 287

Vernacular Photography

Lots 328 to 383

Lot 327: Michael Wolf, Night #1, Hong Kong, chromogenic print, 2005. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.
Lot 233: Robert Frank, Covered Car, Long Beach, California, silver print, 1955-56, printed 1971. Estimate $50,000 to $70,000.

What You Need to Know on Auction Day

This auction will be held live and conducted remotely.

There will not be bidding in the room, though we accept order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live via the Swann Galleries App. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, which can also be accessed on a desktop at

Please note: 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.

Sign up for Auction Updates to get email notifications about new catalogues, or download our Live Bidding App and enable push alerts.