New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce its spring Photographs sale, which will take place on Thursday, April 5 in New York. Encompassing 350 lots, the sale contains exceptional breadth, reaching from the most emblematic images of the 20th and 21st centuries to those that have rarely been seen.
The sale also offers an exceptional opportunity for beginning and seasoned collectors alike with estimates that range from $1,000-300,000. The sale expects to realize in excess of $4.2 million.
The sale’s cover lot is Christian Schad’s photogram, Untitled, Schadographie Nr. 17, 1919 (estimate:$200,000-300,000). Tristan Tzara, author of the 1918 Dada Manifesto and a previous owner of this Schadograph, was a key figure in placing Schad’s photograms firmly in the history of Dada art and is credited with coining the term ‘Schadograph’ for these elusive, tiny objects. Only some 30 early Schadographs are known to exist, and very few remain in private hands.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Christie’s is privileged to offer a collection of 71 lots Sold to Benefit Acquisitions for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, began to exhibit photographs in the mid-1920s. Today, the MFAH’s photography collection encompasses more than 28,000 images. The prints being offered have been deaccessioned after a lengthy survey of the museum’s holdings and with the consideration of priorities for future accessions. The funds achieved from these sales will be committed to the purchase of other photographs for the museum.
Among the considerable range of photographs included in the collection is Montage, New York City, 1946 (estimate: $8,000-12,000), an extremely rare vintage print from pioneering street photographer Louis Faurer. Other highlights are Helmut Newton’s Self Portrait with Wife and Models, Paris, 1981 (estimate: $20,000 – $30,000) and Ansel Adams’ Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, circa 1944 (Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000).
Selection of works from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
The April 5 sale represents a particularly extensive group of exceptional works from the 19th and early 20th century. Among the group is Eugène Atget’s handmade album, ‘Documents pour l’histoire du vieux Paris,’ circa 1910, containing 28 albumen prints (estimate: $30,000-50,000). Atget created
albums of his photographs to sell to businesses, individuals and, primarily, to institutions. The present lot was recently found in the consignor’s family’s estate.
Also being featured is ‘Steichen’ (estimate: $40,000-60,000) a very rare first edition volume of Edward Steichen’s self-titled folio published by Alfred Stieglitz in 1906. The 29 photogravures include Steichen’s greatest Pictorialist photographs, including Road to the Valley – Moonrise, and The Pond – Moonrise.
A private collection of extraordinary orotones by Edward Curtis will be offered, and will include the oversized works, Cañon de Chelley, 1904 (estimate: $25,000-35,000), and The Vanishing
Race, 1904 (estimate: $15,000-25,000). These impeccable works originally derive from the collection of J.F. Douglas, an affluent property owner in Seattle in the first decades of the 20th century.
Douglas championed Curtis’ work and provided the photographer with space in which to work – in a
building now known as the ‘Curtis Building’ on the corner of 4th and University. Lots 139-142 were
given to Douglas by Curtis in lieu of rent, and have remained in the care of succesive generations of the
W. Eugene Smith
This sale will be highlighted with two very important private collections of photographs by W. Eugene
Smith. The first group, From the Collection of W. Eugene Smith’s Family, presents a diverse group of seven photographs hand-selected by Smith’s son, Kevin Eugene Smith, to represent his father’s best and most innovative work. The group is accentuated by works such as Self Portrait, from ‘The Loft From Inside In’, 1958-1968 (estimate: $10,000-15,000), an oversized print of Ernest Ceriani, from ‘Country Doctor’, 1948 (estimate: $20,000-30,000) and First Communion from ‘Spanish Village’, 1954 (estimate: $12,000-18,000).
The second section of photographs by W. Eugene Smith offers five lots acquired directly from the artist’s estate by An Important Private Collection, New York. This discerning collection comprises several of the artist’s most desirable images, including the ever-evocative Dance of the Flaming Coke (variant), Pittsburgh, 1955-1956 (estimate: $8,000-12,000) and Guardia Civil, Spanish Village, 1951 ($10,000 – 15,000).
The Collection of Mary Jane Russell
Mary Jane Russell began her career as a fashion model in New York in 1948 and became one of the
most sought-after mannequins of her era. Over the course of her fourteen-year career Ms. Russell
worked with many of the ‘greats’ of fashion photography, including Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard
Avedon, Lillian Bassman, William Klein, Cecil Beaton and Irving Penn. The selection presented for sale
is comprised of prime examples of these collaborations, all of which were bequeathed to Ms. Russell by the artists. The diverse group includes work from some of her earliest assignments on location with Toni Frissell for Fashion Studies, Jamaica, 1948 (estimate: $5,000-7,000) and Lillian Bassman for Fashion Studies on Deck, 1948 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s elegant images, sometimes affectionately inscribed, speak of Ms. Russell’s great personal charm and down-to-earth qualities, which can be seen in Mary Jane Russell, Paris, 1951 (estimate: $2,500-3,500).
The sale will feature a robust selection of highly sought-after examples from both Irving Penn and
Richard Avedon. Penn is represented by 25 works including the consummate Black and White ‘Vogue’
Cover, 1950 (estimate: $200,000-300,000). Standout works from Avedon include a very large, mint-
condition print of Charlene van Tighem, physical therapist, Augusta, Montana, 6-26-83 (estimate: $80,000-120,000) and John Martin, dancer, New York City, 3-20-75 ($8,000-12,000), from The Collection of John Martin, who was gifted with the photo by Avedon himself.
Also being featured is Alexey Brodovitch’s ‘Ballet’ (estimate: $7,000-9,000), a volume containing
reproductions of 104 photographs by Brodovitch with text by Edwin Denby and a handwritten
inscription from Brodovitch to his mentor, André Kertész, which commemorates their long friendship
At the height of Yayoi Kusama’s critically acclaimed retrospective at the Tate Modern, Christie’s is very pleased to present Selected images and ephemera of Kusama ‘happenings’, New York, 1967-68 (estimate: $8,000 – $12,000). This superb archive, which includes gelatin silver prints, a number of contemporary posters, including covers from Screw and Orgy magazines and a great deal of other ephemera, was originally assembled by James Golata, who was an acolyte of the artist in the 1960s and
took part in many of Kusama’s New York happenings. His collection of photographs and printed ephemera is extraordinarily rare and probably unique.
On the heels of the highly successful sale of Photographic Masterworks by William Eggleston, fifteen lots by the artist will be represented in the April 5th sale, including seven early dye-transfer prints from A Southern Private Collection. Eggleston gifted these photographs to the present owners in the 1970s,
including the much lauded Untitled, 1973 ($70,000 – $90,000).
The Contemporary portion of the sale will be highlighted by Marilyn Minter’s Blue Tears, 2004 (estimate: $15,000 – 25,000), Massimo Vitali’s SDT Top Large, 2009 (estimate: $25,000-35,000), Candida Höfer’s Museum of Modern Art, New York, XII, 2001 (estimate: $30,000 – 50,000) and Edward Burtynsky’s Shipbreaking #49, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2001 (estimate:$15,000 – 25,000).