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  • 30 Oct 1989—10 Oct 2017

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'mills college amphitheatre'

Matte-surface, signed, titled, and annotated 'printed in the 1920s' by the photographer in pencil in the margin, her '1331 Green St., San Francisco 9' studio stamp on the reverse, matted, circa 1920 Among the images that Cunningham made of the amphitheatre at Mills College, Oakland, including vertical and horizontal variants, the view offered here is believed to be one of only five prints of this negative and is not reproduced in any of the extant Cunningham literature. By the early 1920s, Cunningham had moved beyond the prevailing Pictorial aesthetics of the day, and her work in this decade is characterized by an impressively experimental approach, drawing influence from a wide range of sources.  As a student in Germany in 1909 and 1910, Cunningham had encountered exhibitions of some of the best European and American photographic work (see Lot 32).  In 1915, she had been particularly impressed by the Italian Futurist work that she saw at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.  From the early 1920s, Cunningham maintained friendships with other progressive West Coast photographers, Edward Weston, Johan Hagemeyer, and Margrethe Mather among them, and corresponded with the expatriate Alvin Langdon Coburn.  Publications as disparate as Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work, Vanity Fair magazine, and Das Deutsche Lichtbild were a source of ideas for her.  Her interests in photography and art found their way into her work, and she began to experiment with multiple exposure, innovative framing, and abstraction, leaving behind the atmospheric effects she previously depended upon and that were still being used, to varying degrees, by her fellow photographers at the time. With its concise cropping and abstracted approach to the subject matter, Mills College Amphitheatre demonstrates Cunningham’s early grasp of modernist principles in her work.  While she more frequently brought her modernist eye to bear on botanical subject matter and portraits during the early 1920s, this image stands as a prescient statement on photography as it was to be practiced, particularly on the West Coast, for the following decades. Another print of this image, in the horizontal format and with approximate dimensions, is in the collection of the Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, California.  The photographer’s Mills College studio label on the reverse of that print gives the annotation  ‘br.[omide] enlargement.’   A typed note from Cunningham to the original owner of the Monterey print, a Mills College graduate named Olga Taylor, describes the image as ‘an attempt at an abstraction using your amphitheatre.’

  • USAUSA
  • 2004-10-16
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'boite a conserves'

A unique multi-media assemblage, incorporating 15 photographs, including among others Gertrude Stein, Meret Oppenheim, Elsa Schiaparelli, Juliet Man Ray, Juliet Man Ray with Dorothea Tanning, a Self-Portrait, and an Abstraction inset with a rhinestone, all gelatin silver prints, the image of Schiaparelli signed and inscribed ‘Paris’ by the photographer in ink on the image, the photographs mounted to 15 individual French matchboxes, affixed in a grid pattern within the bottom half of a 'Kodak Papier Photographique' box, an exhibition label of the Galerie Marion Meyer, Paris, and two international transport labels mounted to the bottom; the top half of the box covered with white contact paper, titled and initialed by the photographer in black marker along one side, recently framed in a stepped-wooden shadow-box frame, the photographs from 1916-50s, the assemblage constructed in the 1960s This assemblage of French matchboxes, each mounted with a Man Ray photograph, revolves around the theme of the photographer and women.  It is believed that the object was constructed for Man Ray’s wife, Juliet, whose portraits, along with self-portraits by the photographer, appear in the composition.  As with other Man Ray’s objects, the connecting narrative of the whole is elusive and multi-layered.  Gender, identity, the passage of time, the act of seeing, and the creation of art, all figure in this highly complex and personal picture museum. The negatives and prints in the assemblage range widely in date: the earliest negative was made around 1916, while the informal portrait of Juliet dates from the 1950s.  Some prints used in the composition are clearly older prints, as evidenced by their silvering, while others are more recent.  The assemblage itself was constructed in the early 1960s. At the time of this writing, the proposed identifications of the individual portraits are as follows: Top row, left to right: Meret Oppenheim; unidentified woman’s eyes; unidentified eye; Jacqueline Picasso; a woman identified variously as Hakiko or Adrienne Fidelin. Second row, left to right: Man Ray self-portrait; woman in spider web; Man Ray self-portrait hand-print; Juliet Man Ray and Dorothea Tanning; man dressed as a woman, with false breasts (possibly Man Ray). Third row, left to right: Still photograph from Man Ray’s film, Etoile de Mer; Gertrude Stein; detail from Man Ray’s mixed media object, De Quoi écrire un poème; Elsa Schiaparelli; Juliet Man Ray. The composition of the matchboxes relates to Man Ray’s earlier photomontage, the Surrealist Chessboard of 1934, which comprised portraits of the photographer’s Surrealist colleagues, all male, organized in a similar grid fashion.  The title of the lot offered here, Boîte à conserves, possibly takes its cue from Marcel Duchamp’s La Boîte en valise [The Box in a Suitcase] (1941).  The present assemblage is housed in a French Kodak photographic paper box, the top half covered with white paper. Boîte à conserves can be presented as a single unit in a frame (as shown in the illustration here), or as a three-dimensional object (cf. the frontispiece of the present catalogue). In the 1960s, Man Ray is known to have fashioned other individual matchboxes with his own photographs and art work. These were used to store chalk, bits of felt, toothpicks, and the like; and they were also sometimes offered as gifts to visitors at the rue Ferou studio, when a light for a cigarette was requested.  A selection of these individual matchboxes were offered at Sotheby’s London in March 1995 (Man Ray: Paintings, Objects, Photographs.  Property from the Estate of Juliet Man Ray, the Man Ray Trust, and the Family of Juliet Man Ray, Sale LN5173, Lot 531).

  • USAUSA
  • 2004-04-27
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‘wells cathedral: a sea of steps (to chapter house)’

Platinum print, on a hand-ruled mount, signed and titled in pencil on the mount, 1903 Frederick Evans was a master of the platinum process and used its long tonal range to render this complex composition in multiple subtly-transitioning shades of gray. Tipped to the photographer's meticulously-bordered exhibition mount, this print of Wells Cathedral: A Sea of Steps is the ideal presentation of Evans's most famous image.  Evans’s approach to photographing ecclesiastical architecture was a methodical one, sometimes involving weeks or months of observation of the passage of light through a church’s interior. As Anne Lyden points out in her recent study of Evans’s work, it took several years of work at Wells Cathedral to produce an image that Evans felt adequately conveyed the drama of the space (The Photographs of Frederick H. Evans, pp. 15-16).  A Sea of Steps captures not only the monumentality of the 12th-century early English Gothic structure, but also its endurance through the centuries.  As Evans wrote, ‘The steps now rise steeply before one, and the extraordinary wear in the top portions, leading to the corridor, is now shown just as it appeals to the eye in the original subject, a veritable sea of steps, the passing over them of hundreds of footsteps . . . have worn them into a semblance of broken waves, low-beating on a placid shore’ (ibid, p. 16). As of this writing, it is believed that only three other prints of this image have appeared at auction.

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-12
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Vortograph

Tipped to heavy paper, signed in pencil on the mount, 1917 The photograph offered here is from Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Vortograph series of 1916 and 1917, generally acknowledged to be the first abstract photographs.  In London in the 1910s, Coburn became involved with Vorticism, a movement whose art was non-representational, vigorously geometric, and characterized by a dynamic angularity. Working with an assembly of mirrors and a selection of crystals and prisms, Coburn created entirely novel images that he called Vortographs.  Like other proprietary ‘’graphs’  that were to follow in the coming decade—Rayographs and Schadographs among them—the term Vortograph represented not only a particular photographic technique, but one photographer’s visual imagination.  Spearheaded by the artist Wyndham Lewis and championed by the American expatriate poet Ezra Pound, Vorticism was the English response to the continental Futurist and Cubist movements.  A group exhibition in London in 1914 and Lewis’s graphically precocious journal BLAST put the movement before the public.  Coburn’s Vortographs became the sole photographic iteration of the style. Coburn, always an independent voice in the photographic conversation of his day, felt that photographers must incorporate new ideas into their work in order for photography to progress.  In his article entitled ‘The Future of Pictorial Photography,’ published in the 1916 Photograms of the Year, Coburn asked,  ‘. . . why should not the camera throw off the shackles of conventional representation and attempt something fresh and untried?  Why, I ask you earnestly, need we go on making commonplace little exposures of subjects that may be sorted into groups of landscapes, portraits, and figure studies?  Think of the joy of doing something which it would be impossible to classify, or to tell which was the top and which the bottom!’ Fired with this sense of adventure, Coburn embarked upon the Vortographs.  The first images he made with his Vortoscope were of Pound, in which the poet is attended by reflections of himself and various angular, abstract shapes.  These set the stage for the fully non-representational photographs to come.  Coburn’s inclination to abstraction, present in earlier images such as Shadows and Reflections—Venice (see Lot 11), is fully realized in the Vortographs. Like the print of Shadows and Reflections—Venice, this mounted and signed Vortograph was originally given by Coburn to his close friend and fellow Freemason, Leonard Arundale.

  • USAUSA
  • 2014-12-12
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'camera work: a photographic quarterly'

(New York: Alfred Stieglitz, 1903-17), the complete set of 50 Numbers, the Steichen Supplement, and the 2 Special Numbers, illustrated with photogravures and halftones after photographs by ALFRED STIEGLITZ, EDWARD STEICHEN, PAUL STRAND, KARL STRUSS, ALVIN LANGDON COBURN, GERTRUDE KÄSEBIER, HEINRICH KÜHN, ANNE BRIGMAN, CLARENCE WHITE, and many others.  Numbers 1 through 47, the Steichen Supplement, and two Special Numbers bound without wrappers or advertisements in 12 volumes, red 3/4 morocco, marbled endpapers, edges trimmed, spines and top edges gilt; an E. Weyhe Camera Work prospectus and the pamphlet Photo-Secessionist and Its Opponents: Another Letter—The Sixth laid in, a Century magazine article bound in after Number 8; Numbers 48 and 49/50 in the original wrappers as issued (14) Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Work is regarded by many as the most important photographs periodical ever published, and is without question one of the most beautiful.  The plates and text leaves are especially crisp and well-preserved in this set, with the first 47 numbers bound in red morocco. All but the last issue of this complete set of Camera Work comes originally from the collection of the photographer Arthur Siegel (1913 – 1978), best known for his association with Chicago’s New Bauhaus, later the Institute of Design.  First a student, and then a teacher, at this pioneering institution, Siegel organized the ID’s first course in the history of photography.  When parts of his collection were sold at auction in 1980, his connoisseurship of the medium’s history was evident in the offerings: in addition to the present set of Camera Work, there was the famous Albert Sands Southworth self-portrait daguerreotype, now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art; other superb daguerreotypes, several by Southworth & Hawes; and a range of early prints by Moholy-Nagy, Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston, Minor White, Weegee, and others. The set of Camera Work offered here is believed to have been sold by the New York art dealer and publisher Erhard Weyhe (1882 – 1972), whose gallery and bookshop on Lexington Avenue promoted not only prints and art books, but also photography.  Weyhe and Stieglitz were friends who frequented each other’s gallery and worked with some of the same artists.  Laid in the present set’s first volume is a prospectus issued by the Weyhe firm, announcing that ‘we have recently obtained from the publisher a large stock of Camera Work, the remainder of this unique publication, and we are now offering the public a chance to obtain copies, both singly and in sets.’

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-10-03
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Mont Athos, Couvents Grecs, Turquie, 1853

Chemise de chagrin rouge, multiple encadrement de filets gras et maigres, doré et à froid, encadrement intérieur à angles brisés dessiné par un triple filet doré à froid, dans les angles croissant étoilé doré ottoman, titre frappé en grandes capitales dorées au centre : TURQUIE, COUVENTS GRECS, MONT ATHOS, surmonté du Tugra doré du Sultan Abdulmecit I. Dos muet, doublure de soie moirée crème encadré d’une roulette feuillagée dorée, trois rabats de protection en soie moirée. Le second plat est décoré de même sans le titre ni le tugra et est signé en pied « Despierres Rel.[ieur] de L’Empereur 3 rue de l’Echelle». Rabats usagés.Album comprenant 87 tirages salés contrecollés sur carton. Parmi cinquante-deux, dix légèrement albuminisés, un signé à l'encre, un signé dans le négatif, deux numérotés dans le négatif, quarante-et-un titrés et numérotés sur le carton, six numérotés sur le carton, vingt-six portent le timbre-sec 'E. Caranza et C. Labbe' sur le carton, un tirage de dimensions supérieures.Trente-cinq doublons, six légèrement albuminisés.Album comprising 87 salt prints flush-mounted to card. Among fifty two, ten slightly albumenised, one signed in ink, one signed in the negative, two numbered in the negative, fourty one titled and numbered in ink or in pencil on the card, six numbered in pencil on the card, twenty-six with the blindstamp 'E. Caranza et C. Labbe' on the card, one in a bigger size.Thirty five doubles, six slightly albumenised. Les notes de voyages, les lettres en comparaison à la reliure nous laissent penser que ce voyage a été permis par le Sutlan Abdulmecit I et que l'album était destiné à l'Empereur Napoléon III.  Travel notes and letters compared to the binding let us think that the trip was allowed by Sutlan Abdulmecit I and that the album was intended  to Empereur Napoléon III.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2016-11-10
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Scenery Views of The Camp - Panorama of Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaklava

ROGER FENTON (1819-1869); AND JAMES ROBERTSON(1813-1888) Scenery Views of The Camp - Panorama of Sebastopol, Inkermann and Balaklava Manchester: Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1855-56. With 67 salt and 2 lightly- coated albumen prints by Roger Fenton. Varying sizes from 5 3/8 x 6 5/8in. (13.6 x 16.8cm.) to 14 x 10¾in. (35.5 x 26.4cm.) or reverse, including 19 prints forming 3 panoramas. Each with printed photographer's, publisher's and retailer's credit and title, publisher's blindstamp on mount. Each mounted one-per-page. Bound together with 12 albumen prints by James Robertson. Each approx. 9 x 11¾in. (22.9 x 29.8cm.), including 2 prints forming one panorama. Each signed in negative; 8 with photographer's, publisher's and retailer's printed credits, one with publisher's blindstamp credit, majority sequentially numbered in pencil on mounts. Key to Plateau of Sebastopol panorama, printed dedication page To Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria This Panorama of The Plateau of Sebastopol, Photographed in the Crimea during the Spring and Summer of 1855, by Roger Fenton Esqre. is most respectfully dedicated By Her Majesty's most grateful subjects and servants Thomas Agnew & Sons., ex-libris bookplate Chiswick on front pastedown. Brown half leather, gilt, gilt credit, title and owner's stamp in gilt on spine. Album size: 23 x 17in. (58.5 x 43.2cm.)

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2003-05-21
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'Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico'

Oversized, mounted to Flaxon illustration board, signed in ink on the mount, the photographer's Carmel studio stamps (BMFA 6 and 7), with title in ink, on the reverse, framed, 1941, printed circa 1969; accompanied by the original typed correspondence on the photographer's Carmel studio letterhead (2) The oversized print of Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, offered here, made in the late 1960s, is not only larger than the 16-by-20-inch-format prints that Adams typically made throughout his career, but also even larger than the 20-by-24-inch-format edition commissioned by Lunn Gallery in 1975.  This print of Adams’s best-known image was acquired directly from the photographer in 1969, after the present owner saw Moonrise on exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  When Adams prepared to print the photograph offered here, he wrote to its buyer, ‘I shall be pleased to make up this print at the earliest opportubity [sic].  I cannot guarantee it will be “exactly” identical to the one you saw in the Museum, but it will be equally good— if not better!’  Indeed, this particular rendering has a wide range of tones, especially in the sky area, not typically associated with prints made in this era.  Wispy clouds, obscured in other darker prints made in this period, are clearly visible in this print.  This photograph has remained in the same collection for over four decades. Adams made the 8-by-10-inch negative for Moonrise in the late afternoon of 1 November 1941, while photographing in the Southwest on behalf of the U. S. Department of the Interior and the U. S. Potash Company of New Mexico.  Driving back to his motel after an unproductive day of photographing, Adams passed the tiny town of Hernandez.  Struck by the quality of light upon the town and its attendant cemetery, he immediately pulled the car over to the side of the road and hastily assembled his equipment.  Adams was able to make just one exposure before the sun sank behind a bank of clouds, and the light changed completely.

  • GBRUnited Kingdom
  • 2016-10-07
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Notre dame de paris

Oil print, the photographer's monogram on the image, dated '21 Mars' and annotated in pencil on the reverse, on a sextuple paper mount, 1908 Notre Dame de Paris was amongst Dubreuil’s most celebrated and frequently exhibited photographs during his lifetime.  It was featured in 1908 at the London Salon and at Le Salon International du Photo-Club de Paris, important exhibitions of the period.  It was one of six Dubreuil photographs selected by Alfred Stieglitz for the Open Section of the seminal 1910 International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography at the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, where it was shown alongside Elephantesia, Steam – Gare du Nord, and other key images from Dubreuil’s Paris period.  Notre Dame de Paris was one of the 64 photographs included in Dubreuil’s first one-man exhibition in 1912 at the Little Gallery of the Amateur Photographer Magazine in London, and it received a full-page illustration that year in Cyrille Ménard’s thirty-six page article on the photographer in Photo-Magazine.  It is believed that the photograph offered here is the only surviving oil print of this image.  A print sent in 1912 to Stieglitz for his personal collection was subsequently lost and has not resurfaced.   The only other known example of this image is a gelatin silver print made in the 1930s.  Although Dubreuil exhibited widely during his lifetime, there are few of his photographs extant.  Concerned for the safety of his life’s work, and experiencing financial difficulties on the eve of the second World War, Dubreuil sold his negatives and many of his prints to the Gevaert photographic company in Belgium.  When the factory was bombed during the war, most of Dubreuil’s oeuvre was destroyed. In Notre Dame de Paris, Dubreuil has seamlessly fused two negatives – the chestnut tree leaves in the foreground and Notre Dame along the banks of the Seine in the background – to create a sense of three-dimensional space.  With its lush blacks, bright highlights, and impressive range of charcoal-like gray tones, this print of Notre Dame de Paris demonstrates Dubreuil’s technical mastery of his medium. Dubreuil authority Tom Jacobson, from whose collection this photograph comes, recovered the work of this pioneering photographer in the 1980s.  Jacobson brought this long-forgotten work to public attention through the international exhibition, Pierre Dubreuil, Photographs 1896-1935, and its accompanying catalogue, which remains the definitive text on Dubreuil.  Of Notre Dame de Paris, Jacobson notes that the outline of the chestnut leaves in the image echoes the shape of the individual panes of Notre Dame’s South Rose Window.

  • USAUSA
  • 2015-04-01
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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Photography

This category includes all manner of photographs and prints, from early photographs and historical images to iconic shoots, portraits, and contemporary photographic art. The lots here span the development of both photographic technology, and of photography as an art form, from their invention to the present day.

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