NEW YORK, NY. - In April, Christie’s New York will present two remarkable Photographs sales beginning with the deLIGHTed eye: Modernist Masterworks from a Private Collection on 4 April, followed by the various owners Photographs sale on 5 April. The various owners sale is highlighted by works from the most definitive artists of the Modern and Contemporary eras, with important examples from Erwin Blumenfeld, Ansel Adams, Helmut Newton, Robert Frank, William Eggleston, Peter Beard, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Vik Muniz, and features several important collections, including Property from the Estate of David Pincus. Encompassing 204 lots, the Photographs sale is expected to realize in excess of $4.3million.
the deLIGHTed eye: Modernist Masterworks from a Private Collection is an extraordinary collection of 70 vintage prints executed mainly between 1900 and 1925. The collection was formed by a private collector based in South America with his advisor, Jill Rose, who later became Vice President of the International Center of Photography. In building the collection, it was their intent to focus on photographers who had been keenly influenced by the artistic revolution in Western Europe at the turn of the century, and who in turn profoundly affected the history of the medium. The sale expects to realize in excess of $5.2 million.
Various Owners Sale
The sale is led by one of the most important examples by Robert Frank to have ever been presented at auction. Frank made this print of Trolley - New Orleans, 1955 (estimate: $400,000-600,000), in 1961 for his two-person exhibition with Harry Callahan at the Museum of Modern Art, the last show organized by Edward Steichen before his retirement in 1962. It is the only early exhibition print of this image in private hands and the only one printed by Frank himself. Trolley - New Orleans, which graced the cover of Frank’s seminal book, The Americans, was identified by Sid Kaplan, Frank's printer since 1968, as a particularly difficult one to print. However, this example encompasses a full tonal range, with rich blacks and nuanced whites. Extending the exceptional provenance, Frank gave the present lot to Sidney Rapoport who developed a special form of offset lithography with which he printed the 1968 and 1969 editions of The Americans. The current owner acquired it from Mr. Rapoport.
Photographs by William Eggleston From the Collection of Tom and Carolyn Young
Christie's is will present six lots on behalf of the Young family. These works symbolize the meaningful and enduring friendship of two significant artists who have had such an impact on one another and on those around them. Tom Young is a gifted abstract expressionist painter who was a founding member of the radical 10th Street co-operative galleries in New York City in the 1950s, where he worked alongside Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston. He met William Eggleston in 1960 when he was an artist-in-residence at 'Ole Miss' (University of Mississippi). It was here that Tom became a close friend and something of a mentor.
Around 1964, having abandoned his studies without graduating, Eggleston went to Paris to take photographs and returned to Memphis without a single shot. He explained to Young that he was unable to work because he disliked everything around him. Young suggested that Eggleston use this malaise as the basis for his photographs. Eggleston's subsequent 'democratic' approach was fully realized in the photographer's magnificent and disturbingly vibrant 'Greenwood, Mississippi' of 1973 (Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000), which is inscribed affectionately, 'To Tom, I love you my friend. Damn the tarantulas, full steam ahead.'
Highlighting the selection of works by Ansel Adams is a mural print of Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958 (estimate: $100,000 - $150,000), which was originally in the personal collection of Adams' patron and friend, Edwin H. Land, founder of Polaroid. Adams began consulting for Polaroid in 1947, quickly becoming involved with the testing of new film and cameras. As a practice, Polaroid would decorate its offices with works that Adams had made with their new products as a testament to the advancements that they were making as a company. This exceptionally beautiful print was given to the present owner, a former employee of the Polaroid Corporation, on the occasion of his retirement in 1988.
Mural prints of this image are extraordinarily rare. No other has been offered at auction in recent history.
Dictator, Paris, 1937 (estimate: $30,000-50,000), is an expression of Blumenfeld's pronounced anti-Fascist views. In the works that he completed in Holland, Blumenfeld had used collage elements to achieve the complexity of his message. However, in Paris, where Dictator was taken, he began to experiment with the possibilities offered by straight photography. Dictator was composed of objects assembled by Blumenfeld in his studio where he kept a classical plaster torso and a swathe of silk fabric, the same prop that he often used to drape his beguiling nudes, notably the Nude under Wet Silk (estimate: $20,000-30,000) – pictured left. Dictator shows us Blumenfeld the iconclastic rebel, a swift turn from the fashion photographs he was synonymous with.
Early prints of Dictator, selected by Blumenfeld to be included in his Hundred Best Photographs, are extraordinarily rare. Blumenfeld was forced to flee France in 1941, leaving behind all of his negatives. Although he presumed them lost forever, almost miraculously some were returned to him after the war, including Dictator, printed around the time that Blumenfeld had settled in New York. This print is titled and dated in the artist's hand, and bears an early Central Park South credit stamp, which is extremely rare given that the photographer typically never signed or annotated his work. Given its rarity, the inclusion of Blumenfield’s signature is thought to be indicative of how highly he felt about this print.
The acclaimed fashion photographer is represented by Pam Grid #1 (estimate: $80,000-120,000), a large, unique arrangement of 9 platinum prints depicting the American bombshell and artist’s friend, Pamela Anderson. Pam Grid #1 perfectly encapsulates D’Orazio’s oeuvre, which is an alluring combination of sex and celebrity: a world populated by beautiful Supermodels, and high-profile sirens like Pamela Anderson. Through his lens, modern celebrities become mythological beings, reflecting the values of our idol-obsessed times: Eternal Youth. Naked Beauty. Rock ‘n’ Roll. Other Graces, a Private Selling Exhibition of photographs by Sante D’Orazio, will also be on view in New York from 29 March through 19 April in Christie’s Private Sales Galleries.
The sale’s cover lot Lips, Bordighera, 1982 (estimate: $30,000-50,000), is from a dramatic and pivotal series that marked Newton's return to work after a period of depression, which almost ended his career. In his autobiography, Newton described how visiting the small Italian seaside town of Bordighera to fulfill an open brief for Italian Vogue, eventually lifted him from his gloom and invigorated his work. The result was a politically provocative fashion shoot 'Rich Girl, Poor Girl' and a series of close-ups that were published in Egoïste, no. 7 under the title 'Details de Bordighera'.
In 1981 Helmut Newton asked Joan Juliet Buck, then a young novelist, and later the Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue, to make the text of his book "World Without Men" more provocative. She complied. As thanks, Newton gave her two photographs, including our cover lot, and Hands, Bordighera, 1982 (estimate: $20,000-30,000). In his inscriptions on both photographs, Newton refers lovingly to Buck as his “favorite dirty writer."