Published: April 24, 2001
NEW YORK CITY – The surprise top lot at Swann Galleries’ April 5 auction of Photographic Literature and Photographs was an oversize platinum copy print of Alvin Langdon Coburn’s “Near Hollywood, California,” 1911, which sold to a dealer for $23,000.
“The price, over ten times the high estimate of $2,000, reflects a growing interest in Coburn’s production, and emphasizes the importance of his photographs,” said Daile Kaplan, specialist in photographs.
Featured examples of photographic literature included a complete set of Men and Women of the Day, Volumes I-VII, with 251 woodburytype portraits by Barraud and others, London, 1888-94, a treasure trove of Victorian notables such as Lord Tennyson, John Ruskin, Robert Browning, Thomas Hardy, and William Cavendish, which realized $12,650.
Also noteworthy was a group of 13 volumes in the Bauhausbucher series, edited by Walter Gropius and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, illustrated with reproductions of photographs, photograms, drawings, film stills, architectural diagrams, furniture, and artwork produced at the historic school that was a wellspring of modern design, Munich, 1925-29, $4,140.
Nineteenth Century photographs included Charles Seaver, Jr’s “Boston Street Scene Depicting Washington St, Between Water and Milk Streets,” salted paper print, circa 1855, $3,680; a pair of Civil War albums containing 125 cartes-de-visite, 1860s, $6,900; two oval albumen prints by Carleton E. Watkins, “Central Pacific Railroad Tracks” and “Topographic view,” 1873-74, $3,680; and a group of 54 images depicting children and their toys, 1850s to circa 1910, $5,980.
Featured Twentieth Century images included Alfred Stieglitz’s “Flora and Dog Dandy,” bromide print, 1909, $8,050; Leonard Misonne’s “Landscape,” carbon print, late 1920s, $4,140; Margaret Bourke-White’s “Soviet Children Seated at a Table,” warm-toned silver print, with Bourke-White’s signature and handwritten note on mount verso, circa 1931, $12,650; Charles Sheeler’s “The Upstairs,” silver print after his painting of the same title, 1938, $4,370; Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s “Outdoor Fashion Study,” silver print, 1942, $3,910; Peter Stackpole’s “Marines, 2nd Division, Saipan,” silver print, 1944, printed later, $4,830; two silver prints from Jared French’s “Pajama” series, “Untitled” and “Portrait, Figure Study (Louis Catusco and Ted Starkowski),” ex-collection Paul Cadmus, 1945 and 1949, $5,060; and Robert Doisneau’s “Accordeoniste au Bouillom Tiquetonne,” oversize silver print, 1953, $6,440.
Also of note were an album containing 79 photographs of China during and after the Boxer Rebellion, 1900s-10s, $6,670; a collection of 400 film stills of Greta Garbo, 1924-41, $5,060; a series of 19 vintage photographs by Harry Caplin, relating to the field of rocketry and Dr Robert Goddard’s work in Auburn, Mass., and at the Roswell Testing Site, silver prints, 1925-30s, $6,900; and a group of 16 photographs by Wilhelm Maywald of important European artists including De Lempica, Picasso, Utrillo, Chagall, Braque, Miró, Vasarely, Calder, Cocteau, Cesar, Brauner, and others, 1940s-50s, printed 1981, $3,680.
All prices include buyers premium.
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