NEW YORK, N.Y.- In October, Christie’s New York will present two remarkable Photograph sales comprised of important works by eminent photographers such as Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank. In addition to the various owners Photographs sale, Christie’s will offer The American Landscape, Black and White Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman – the fifth auction of photographs from the illustrious collection, which includes an exceptional selection of black and white prints with a traditional American focus. The October sales are expected to generate a combined $5.4 - 8million.
The American Landscape: Black and White Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman
On October 7, Christie’s will offer The American Landscape: Black and White Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman. The Berman collection was first entrusted to Christie’s in 2008, and has been the focus of four enormously successful auctions over the last several years. This fifth sale, on October 7, is a dynamic selection of vintage and modern prints with a uniquely American flavor reflecting the collector’s distinct sensibility in forming the collection. The Berman Collection is one of the largest and most important of its kind to have been amassed in the United States, with a depth of photographs by artists that figure prominently in the history of 20th century art. This sale will be highlighted by important examples from pioneers of the medium such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Manuel-Alvarez Bravo.
Among the highlights is Walker Evans’ Photographer’s Display Window, Birmingham, Alabama, (estimate:$10,000-15,000) – a unique and captivating image by the artist. Taken through the glass of a rural photographer's display window, this photograph becomes a poignant composite of the American physiognomy and offers an intimate glimpse into the lifeblood of the American South during the Great Depression.
The sale will also incorporate a comprehensive survey of emblematic photographs, with an excellent selection of work from Dorothea Lange including, Funeral Cortège, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, 1938 (estimate: $30,000-50,000) and cover lot Guilty,Alameda County Courthouse, 1955 (estimate: $6,000-8,000) – Robert Frank’s Première in Hollywood, 1956 (estimate: $20,000-30,000), Lee Friedlander’s Kentucky, 1977 (estimate: $10,000 - $15,000) – and Henry Wessel’s Night Walk No 28, Los Angeles, 1995 (estimate: $7,000-9,000).
Additional Highlights from The American Landscape: Black and White Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman include:
*DOROTHEA LANGE - Funeral Cortège, End of an Era in a Small Valley Town, 1938 gelatin silver print, printed c. 1950s Estimate: $30,000 - 50,000
*ROBERT FRANK - Première in Hollywood, 1956 oversized gelatin silver print, printed 1970s Estimate: $20,000 - 30,000
*HENRY WESSEL - Night Walk No. 28, Los Angeles, 1995 gelatin silver print $7,000 - 9,000
*BRUCE DAVIDSON - Studies from Brooklyn Gang, 1959 2 gelatin silver prints, printed 1998 Estimate: $6,000 - 8,000.
Photographs: Various Owners
On October 6, Christie’s New York will showcase a broad range of photographs from the early 20th century through to the present day. As the market for the medium continues to flourish, Christie’s is committed to offering a carefully curated group of desirable prints. Highlights include important photographs from private collections across the globe, and by artists such as Ansel Adams, Eugène Atget, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Vik Muniz, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Robert Adams, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Overall, the sale contains 298 lots with a projected sale total of between $4.5 – 6.8 million.
The work of Ansel Adams is very well represented in the sale, including the top lot, Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, 1951(estimate: $200,000-300,000) – which encompasses five remarkable gelatin silver print enlargements, originally created as a folding screen for installation in a Sonoma County ranch. Throughout his career, Adams produced only twelve to fifteen decorative screens. Most of these screens now reside within the collections of museums and other institutions, or remain with the artist’s family. Several screens are missing and may have been destroyed over the years or, as in the case of the present lot, altered to fit into a new environment. In their present form, the panels retain their extraordinary visual impact. This is a highly important and extraordinarily rare work of art, with significant provenance. Adams will also be represented by the mural sized Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958 (estimate: $150,000-250,000) – as well as extraordinary and rarely offered five-part Surf Sequence, A-E, 1940 (estimate: $100,000-150,000).
Christie’s is also to include an outstanding group of photographs by W. Eugene Smith in this sale. Being offered for the first time, these works were acquired directly from the artist’s estate. Many of the best and most popular of Smith’s images are represented here in carefully chosen examples of superb print quality and condition, many of which were deemed by Smith himself to be his best prints. Among the highlights is The Walk to Paradise Garden, 1946 ($20,000-30,000) – shown above, right, which beguilingly depicts Smith’s children in what he described as his “signature photograph.” Additional works include Spanish Spinner, ‘Spanish Village’, Life, April 9, 1951(estimate: $15,000-25,000), Mad Eyes, Haiti, 1958-1959 ($8,000-12,000) and Albert Schweitzer, Aspen, Life, July 25, 1949 (estimate:$10,000-15,000).
The catalogue’s cover lot, Eugène Atget’s Chiffonnier, le matin, avenue des Gobelins, 13ème; and Roulotte, 1899 (estimate: $40,000-60,000) – Chiffonnier, is included among a selection of eight lots that have remained with the same family since 1902. All eight examples represent Atget’s rare portrayal of the Parisian street trade, which captured the lives of working class people in Paris at the turn of the century, including artisans, ragpickers and prostitutes.
The sale is also highlighted by a collection of 10 extremely important works by Robert Frank, acquired directly from the artist, including Fourth of July - Jay, New York, 1956 (estimate: $100,000-150,000) – Charleston, S.C., 1956 (estimate: $100,000-150,000) –pictured in table on page 6, and London, 1951 ($90,000-120,000).
Additional important highlights include a very strong selection of works by Peter Beard with an oversized Bull Eland Passing Elephants Digging Water, near Kathamula Tsavo, North, for The End of the Game, February 1965 ($80,000-120,000) – Vik Muniz’s early portfolio, The Best of Life (estimate: $80,000-120,000), a group of 10 gelatin silver prints portraying the artist’s memory-renderings of the iconic images from Life Magazine created from his memory, and a particularly compelling group of vintage prints by Lee Friedlander, including the highly sought-after Galax, Va., 1962 (estimate: $40,000-60,000).
Additional highlights from the Various Owners Photograph Auction:
*ANSEL ADAMS - Surf Sequence, A-E, 1940 5 gelatin silver prints, printed 1960s Estimate: $100,000-150,000
*ROBERT FRANK - Charleston, S.C., 1956 gelatin silver print, printed c. 1970 Estimate: $100,000-150,000
*LEE FRIEDLANDER - Galax, Va., 1962 gelatin silver print Estimate: $40,000-60,000
*WILLIAM EGGLESTON - Sumner, Mississippi, c. 1970 dye-transfer print, printed 2001 Estimate: $30,000-50,000
*VIK MUNIZ - The Best of Life, 1989-1995 10 gelatin silver prints Estimate: $80,000-120,000
*ALFRED EISENSTAEDT - Children at a Puppet Theatre, Paris, 1933 gelatin silver print, printed later Estimate: $25,000-35,000
*GERHARD RICHTER - Untitled, 1989 chromogenic print with oil paint handwork Estimate: $10,000-15,000
*GREGORY CREWDSON - Untitled (Beer Dreams), from Twilight, 1998 chromogenic print Estimate: $30,000-50,000
*HIROSHI SUGIMOTO (B. 1948) - Studio Drive-In, Culver City, 1993 gelatin silver print Estimate: $25,000-35,000