Published: July 22, 2003
A presentation copy of Photo-Secession: A Collection of American Pictorial Photographs, New York, 1904, brought $19,550 at Swann Galleries’ recent auction of Photographic Literature and Photographs.
This early American publication, illustrated with seven photogravures after photographs by Steichen, White, Käsebier, Stieglitz, Coburn, Adamson and Keiley, was signed and inscribed by Alfred Stieglitz to Charles H. Caffin, a noted art critic of his day, of whom Stieglitz said, he “was the only art critic who was utterly honest and who took the trouble to look at every picture before making up his mind.”
Other highlights among a large selection of photographic literature included St Memin Collection of Photographs, illustrated with 62 salted paper prints by Gurney & Son of the engravings of St Memin, N.Y., 1862, which sold for $3,220; Julia Margaret Cameron’s Alfred, Lord Tennyson and His Friends, exquisitely illustrated with a frontispiece and 25 photogravures after Cameron’s photographs, first edition, one of 400, London, 1893, $4,140; Man Ray’s Photographs 1920-1934 Paris, Hartford and New York, 1934, $2,760; and a rare first Italian edition of Robert Frank’s Gli Americani, Milan, 1959, $2,300.
Among the Nineteenth Century photographs were two works by pioneering British photographer William Henry Fox Talbot, “Patroclus,” salted paper print from a calotype negative, 1843, $5,750, and “Windsor Chapel, East End of St George’s,” salted paper print from a calotype negative, circa 1845, $8,050; as well as a single leaf of four albumen prints attributed to American painter and photographer Thomas Eakins, depicting the Crowell children and their friends, 1880s, $5,980.
Turn-of-the-century photographs included Eugene Atget’s “Boutique de l’Epoque, Empire 21, Faubourg, St Honore, Paris,” albumen print, 1902, a rare allegorical self-portrait in which the photographer, along with his camera and tripod, is reflected in the elegant shop’s window, $6,900.
There were important European Modernist photographs such as Frantisek Drtikol’s “Nue,” pigment print, 1921, $29,900; André Kertész’s “Chez Mondrian,” silver print, 1926, printed 1970s, $5,060; and Brassaï’s “Cage of Wild Beasts” ferrotyped silver print, 1932, $10,925.
Other highlights ranged from Alfred Eisenstaedt’s “First Lesson at Truempy Ballet School,” Berlin, silver print, 1930, printed 1980s, $5,060; to Edward Weston’s “Yucca and Granite, Wonderland of Rocks, Joshua Tree National Monument,” silver print, 1937, $9,775; Weegee’s “The Critic,” silver print, 1943, $6,900; and Art Sasse’s “Einstein’s Birthday Joke,” silver print, 1951, $5,980.
Finally, among various contemporary images were Emmet Gowin’s “Edith, Danville, Virginia,” silver print, 1969, $5,520; Helmut Newton’s “Tied up Torso, Ramatuelie,” silver print, 1980, $6,670; and William Eggleston’s “Greenwood Moose Lodge,” dye-transfer print, 1981, and Richard Misrach’s “Salton Sea (with campers),” chromogenic print, 1984, printed 1989, each $8,050.
All prices include the buyer’s 15 percent premium.
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