Published: October 9, 2012
Swann Galleries sold a complete set of Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian for $1.44 million, including buyer’s premium, at its October 4 auction of fine photographs and photobooks. It was the top lot ever sold at Swann Galleries, a premiere auction house for works on paper.
The complete set of Curtis’s magnum opus had 20 text volumes and 20 folios, and Daile Kaplan, Swann vice president and director of photographs and photobooks, said, “We were very pleased to have sold this iconic work by a major Twentieth Century artist. The price reflects the rarity and beauty of this American masterpiece and the interest in photobooks as an art form.” In 1952, Swann conducted the first auction devoted to photobooks in the United States.
Prices for other early photographs were also strong. A multipanel panorama image of lower Manhattan from 1876, showing a portion of the Brooklyn Bridge still under construction, brought $96,000 and an album of cyanotypes of Colorado sold for $56,000.
A complete review of the sale will appear in a future issue.
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