London – Christie’s Photographs sale on Wednesday 16 May features over 100 works with estimates
ranging from £3,000 to £120,000. The sale brings the story of photography closer to the present with
some of the most recognisable contemporary practitioners: a diptych by Andreas Gursky, who
currently holds the auction record for the medium, entitled Schiesser, Diptych, 1991 (estimate: £80,000–120,000); Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1997 (estimate: £70,000–
90,000) and Helmut Newton’s large format Self-Portrait with Wife and Models ‘Vogue’ Studios, Paris 1980, measuring 139.7 x 144.8 cm (estimate: £70,000–90,000). This is an opportunity to acquire some of the most important works of the history of photography, with works by 19th century masters, and a strong focus on post-war and fashion photography, led by the work of Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and Peter Beard. The incredible roll call of subjects captured includes Picasso, Greta Garbo, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Marilyn Monroe, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Barack Obama.
Important and rare post-war works include a photograph by Constantin Brancusi from the series Bird in Space, 1923, (estimate: £6,000–8,000), which depicts one of the most expensive sculptures
ever sold at auction (Christie’s New York, 2005). The sale also features an exceptional group of works by Irving Penn, which span iconic portraits to fashion photography, with a rare to the market, vintage print of Lionel Le Grand for Christian Dior, Kerchief – Glove (Dior) Paris, 1950 (estimate: £15,000–20,000). An outstanding group photographs by Helmut Newton include one of his large
format works, On the 10th Floor of the Hilton, Paris 1976 (108.2 x 71.7 cm), which predates any editioning of his work (estimate: £30,000–50,000). Always highly sought after, these photographs come to the market at a time when Newton’s major retrospective is being held at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Another stellar example of post-war photography is the gelatin silver triptych by Richard Avedon,
Andy Warhol and Members of the Factory, New York City, 1959 (estimate: £25,000–35,000).
This piece not only represents the eccentric extravagance of Warhol’s studio, but also marks the year
in which the artist adopted a multi-panel technique that, in this case, suggests a reading of the group as a frieze of classical figures.