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  • Sothebyís Sale of Photographs September 23, 2004


    Edward Weston
    Pepper2P, 1929
    NEW YORK. - Sothebyís October 16th Photographs auction will feature important works ranging from 19th-century daguerreotypes from a prominent military family to personally signed and inscribed prints of iconic images by Diane Arbus. Following Sothebyís world-record-setting price for a print of Arbusís Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ, in the April 2004 round of auctions ($478,400), Sothebyís will offer vintage prints of her Eddie Carmel, a Jewish Giant, 1970, and A Family on Their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, 1968, both of superb provenance.

    The Jewish Giant image comes from the collection of Philip Leider, the founding editor of Artforum magazine (est. $250/350,000). In 1971, after seeing prints from Arbusís portfolio A Box of Ten Pictures, Leider made a bold decision to feature Arbusís work in the magazine, a journal which had previously concentrated on the work of leading contemporary painters. This was one of the first appearances not only of Arbusís work, but also of photography, in one of the most important art magazines of the twentieth century. In addition to the photographs and text by Arbus reproduced in this May 1971 Artforum, the issue also featured an Arbus photograph---Boy in Straw Hat, Waiting to March in Pro-War Parade---on the cover. The Jewish Giant print offered by Sothebyís is inscribed "To Phil" and signed by the photographer on the image.

    The Family on Their Lawn in Westchester comes from the collection of a psychotherapist who spoke at length with Arbus on the telephone in the late 1960s (est. $200/300,000). Referred by a mutual friend, the psychotherapist explored possible courses of treatment for Arbusís depression and offered to see her for counseling or refer her to a colleague. Arbus sent the Westchester family print to the psychotherapist and inscribed the print to him on the reverse, thanking him for the "good and generous phone conversation."

    Two other photographs with excellent provenance come from the descendants of Flora Chandler Weston, Edward Westonís first wife and the mother of his four sons. These comprise a scarce print of Pepper 2P, 1929, pictured on page 1 (est. $70/100,000), on matte-surface paper; and a print of Kelp, 1930 (est. $15/25,000), each signed and personally inscribed by Weston to Flora on the reverse of the mount.

    Among the classic twentieth-century photographs included in the sale are a beautiful vintage print of Imogen Cunninghamís Mills College Amphitheatre, 1920s (est. $70/100,000); an early print of Robert Frankís famous Hoboken, 1955 (est. $80/120,000), originally from the collection of Sol Mednick, a Philadelphia photographer and teacher; a rare vintage print of Henri Cartier-Bressonís Valencia, 1933 (est. $50/70,000), pictured right, inscribed by the photographer ía Peter,í likely to the American expatriate Peter Powell; a platinum or palladium print, almost certainly unique, of one of Paul Strandís magnificent portrait studies of his wife Rebecca Salsbury from 1921 (est. $50/70,000); a vintage print of Harry Callahanís Barbara and Eleanor, Chicago,, 1953 (est. $25/35,000), from the collection of cinematographer Robert Richardson, some of whose photographs collection was featured in Sothebyís April 2004 auction; and a superb copy of Ansel Adamsís 1927 portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras (est. $30/50,000). There are also copies of Adamsís Portfolio Two: The National Parks & Monuments, 1950 (est. $40/60,000), and Portfolio Three: Yosemite Valley, 1960 (est. $50/70,000), as well as portfolios by Eliot Porter, Berenice Abbott, Brett Weston, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Helmut Newton, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, and William Wegman.

    The sale is rich in works by Man Ray, and featured on the cover of the catalogue will be a print of the photographerís Bras (Arm) (est. $60/90,000), pictured left, circa 1935 or earlier, a rare May Ray study of a male nude. Another print of this striking image was featured in The New Vision, the 1989 exhibition of the Ford Motor Company collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is a print of photogram film strips from Man Rayís experimental film, Emak Bakia, 1926 (est. $30/40,000), a Rayograph from 1945, using the shapes of buttons (est. $25/35,000), and portraits of ,Lee Miller, Henri Matisse, and Suzy Solidor wearing Chanel bracelets.

    In 1982, Sothebyís New York held a pioneering sale of Italian Futurist photographs from the definitive collection of work assembled by Italian scholar Giovanni Lista. In its October 16th sale, Sothebyís will offer several Italian futurist works, including Renato Fazioliís Le Scale, 1932, pictured right, in its original frame (est. $20/25,000), a work that comprised part of the landmark 1982 auction and was described by Lista as one of the most significant examples of Futurist photomontage. Also offered will be a Castagneri portrait of Marinetti, 1924; Tatoís Ritratta del Poeta G. A. Fanelli, 1930; and Severo Antonelliís Futurist Abstraction from 1931.

    Known as the leader in auctioning daguerreotypes in the United States, Sothebyís will continue this tradition in its October auction with a collection of important daguerreotypes from the collection of James Duncan Graham (1799-1865), the military topographical engineer who helped establish this countryís borders with both Canada and Mexico. Included in this offering will be a lot of three daguerreotypes of Graham (est. $20/30,000), almost certainly by John Plumbe, Jr.; in each daguerreotype Graham is posed with a map of one of his surveys. There are two fine daguerreotypes of one of Grahamís four sons, James Duncan Graham, Jr., one showing the younger Graham in naval uniform and posed with a telescope, pictured left (est. $20/30,000); and among other daguerreotypes, portraits of son William Montrose Graham, and the elder Grahamís half-brother, Lawrence Pike Graham, both men with distinguished military careers. In addition, there is an unusual carte-de-visite album with over 100 cartes, primarily of Confederate officers, politicians, and other notables (est. $10,000 to $15,000), put together by James Duncan Graham himself.

    The sale will also offer a very fine carte-de-visite album from the Union side (est. $30/50,000), a collection of nearly 200 cartes of Union officers, politicians, and other notables, originally from the collection of Orlando Metcalfe Poe (1832-1895), a military topographical engineer who played a leading role in the Union campaigns in the South. The album is distinguished not only by the unusually high quality of the carte portraits, but by its association with the famed Civil War photographer George N. Barnard. Poe and Barnard worked closely together in and around Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Atlanta, and after the war Poe was instrumental in the publication of Barnardís magnum opus, the Photographic Views of Shermanís Campaign, issued in 1866. Many of the cartes in the album are known to have been made by, or can be attributed to, Barnard: these include both published and unpublished portraits of William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Hooker, James McPherson, W. F. Barry, and Barnard himself, among others.