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Three Spectacular Auctions Highlight Christie’s Spring Season of Photographs

by WorthPoint Staff (04/07/10).

This Charles Sheeler photograph, “Bucks County Barn,” is estimated to bring between $100,000-$150,000 at auction.

This Charles Sheeler photograph, “Bucks County Barn,” is estimated to bring between $100,000-$150,000 at auction.

NEW YORK – The three separate sales of photograph collections, include two single-owner collections–“Three Decades with Irving Penn: Photographs from the Collection of Patricia McCabe” and “Selections from the Baio Collection of Photographs”–as well as a “Photographs (Various Owners)” the sale, facilitated by Christie’s, will offer a selection of works that range from the late 19th-century through the 20th and 21st centuries, representing many standout examples in the medium and including a variety of subject matter.

Portrait, Rebecca,” by Paul Strand, is among the cover lot of the April 15 “Photographs (Various Owners)” sale, hosted by Christie’s.

Portrait, Rebecca,” by Paul Strand, is among the cover lot of the April 15 “Photographs (Various Owners)” sale, hosted by Christie’s.

With more than 300 lots across three sales, slated for April 14-15, 2010, the works offered are expected to achieve between of $5.4-$7.9 million.

The April 15 “Photographs (Various Owners)” auction comprises 181 lots with a total sale estimate of $3.2-$4.8 million. The sale’s cover lot is the stunning silver gelatin print “Portrait, Rebecca” (1922 ), by Paul Strand (1890-1976), (estimate: $250,000-$350,000). The image is a close-up profile of a woman in a deep pensive gaze, seemingly unaware of being photographed. This image draws comparisons to the work of Strand’s mentor, Alfred Stieglitz, in especially with his portraits of Georgia O’Keefe, and this particular print by Strand is extremely rare.

Another highlight is a rare gelatin silver print by Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), “Bucks County Barn” (estimate: $100,000-$150,000). This work shows the new eyes Sheeler took to vernacular architecture in Bucks County, Pa. (where he lived at the time). One of the most art historically important images from this period of his work, Sheeler later used it as a foundation for his 1932 painting “Bucks County Barn” which is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Vintage mounted prints with their original overmats such as this are very rare. Currently, only two other prints of this image are known: one offered by Christie’s in 1980 (selling for $15,000) and the other in the highly regarded Lane Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

Imogen Cunningham’s “Magnolia Blossom.”

Imogen Cunningham’s “Magnolia Blossom.”

Lewis W. Hine’s iconic “Mechanic at steam pump in electric power house” is expected to bring $70,000 to $90,000.

Lewis W. Hine’s iconic “Mechanic at steam pump in electric power house” is expected to bring $70,000 to $90,000.

 

From a private European collection is an extraordinary, enlarged vintage print by Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976). “Magnolia Blossom,” 1925 (estimate: $250,000-$350,000). The image belongs to an extended series of magnolia flower studies the artist created between 1923-1925. This image was originally in the collection of Cunningham’s son, Padriac. Also offered Lewis W. Hine’s (1874-1940) iconic “Mechanic at steam pump in electric power house” (estimate: $70,000-$90,000), which belongs to the extended series of labor studies taken throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Hine, who used his images to advocate social reform, was well known for documenting man’s contribution to the modern industrial society. The present lot depicts a man working with heavy machinery creating an intricate background for the human figure and is an image that would have a long-lasting effect on visual iconography in the modern era.

Among the rarest works being offered is a unique print by the great Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) “Self Portrait with Paul Poujaud and Marie Fontaine” (895), (estimate: $30,000-$50,000). Degas was known for working across multiple media and
photography played an important role in his artistic production. The present lot is possibly the only extant contact print from the original negative. An enlarged print of the same subject is currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California” (1944), is among the works by Ansel Adams (1902-1984) featured in this sale.

Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California” (1944), is among the works by Ansel Adams (1902-1984) featured in this sale.

A celebrated landscape entitled “Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California” (1944), is among the works by Ansel Adams (1902-1984) featured in the sale (estimate: $25,000-$35,000). Taken during World War II, this stunning image was captured while Adams was documenting the Manzanar Japanese internment camp in the Owens Valley on the east side of the Sierra mountains. Early prints, such as this one, are extremely rare.

Other notable highlights include Irving Penn’s (1917-2009) “Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, Marrakech)” (1951) (estimate: $300,000-5$00,000); Robert Mapplethorpe’s (1946-1989) “Calla Lily” (1988) (estimate: $150,000-$250,000); and Jaromir Funke’s (1896-1945) “Kompozice” (circa 1924) (estimate: $50,000-$70,000).

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