Sotheby’s Spring Photographs Auction On Tueday 13 April 2010, Sotheby's will offer at auction a remarkable selection of Photographs that ranges from examples of some of the earliest photographs made in America.
News-Antique.com - Mar 29,2010 - On Tueday 13 April 2010, Sotheby's will offer at auction a remarkable selection of Photographs that ranges from examples of some of the earliest photographs made in America, to masterpieces of the modernist aesthetic in photography and beyond. The 244 lot sale is estimated to fetch $3.4/5.1 million.
The auction's top lot is Edward Weston's iconic study of a single Nautilus Shell ($300/500,000, above). This print was purchased in 1927, the year the picture was taken, at San Francisco's East West Galleries for $10 by a young photographer named Bernice Lovett. Unable to pay the entire cost of the photograph at once, Ms. Lovett paid for it in monthly 50-cent installments. The image has, in the intervening years, become one of Weston's most celebrated and is now regarded as one of the great modernist photographs of all time. The print offered by Sotheby's is the ideal early state of the image, on matte-surface photographic paper, affixed to a large mount that bears Weston's early penciled signature. This print has remained in the collection of Ms. Lovett's family since its original purchase over 80 years ago. It has never before appeared on the market.
László Moholy-Nagy, the great proponent of modernism across a broad array of media, was an early experimenter with the photogram. A unique cameraless image, a photogram is made by placing objects directly on or over a sheet of photographic paper and exposing it to light. Sotheby's will auction one of Moholy-Nagy's earliest efforts with the technique from the early 1920s, an untitled Photogram ($200/300,000, below left), one of only a handful of Moholy-Nagy photograms to come onto the market in recent years.
The animated composition of this photogram is unusual for this early period, and is rendered with Moholy-Nagy's characteristic nuance and precision. The photogram is further enhanced by the photographer's extensive notations on the reverse, in which he enumerates the objects used to make the image: a child's rattle, a film spool, and a muzzle. Through Moholy-Nagy's handling, these quotidian objects transcend their appearances to become pure compositional elements. Moholy-
Nagy's notations on the reverse indicate that the photogram was sent by him to legendary editor and art scholar Christian Zervos no later than 1929, for possible publication in Zervos's influential arts journal Cahiers d'Art. It is also believed that, like one other photogram sent by Moholy-Nagy to Zervos, this example was previously in the possession of the great Russian writer Vladimir Mayakovsky, possibly for inclusion in Mayakovsy's groundbreaking leftist arts and literature journal, Lef.
Sotheby's is pleased to have a selection of daguerreotypes from two distinguished American collections, as well as several individual daguerreotypes of significant historical importance. The David Belcher Collection was assembled beginning in the 1970s and contains some exquisite examples of the daguerreian art as it was practiced in America in the 1840s and 1850s. Mr.
Belcher was one of the first people to recognize the importance of these early American photographs, and his first collection of the images, started in 1961,