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.
or 1855. Another large, half-plate, daguerreotype depicts an intricately beautiful Marquetry Table by Master American Artisan Peter Glass ($7/10,000).
The sale will feature two of the most famous architectural photographs of the 20th century, photographs that have, over the decades, become the icons of the buildings they represent. The first, Margaret Bourke-White’s dramatic late-1920s view of one of the gargoyles of the Chrysler Building ($120/180,000, right), captures the machine-age optimism of early 20th-century architecture. Julius Shulman's 1947 study of the Kaufmann House ($20/30,000, below left) is the definitive image of
Richard Neutra's Palm Springs masterpiece, and has become a touchstone within the histories of photography, modern architecture and design, and the modern aesthetic. The image, made at twilight, was the result of a carefully orchestrated 45minute exposure, during which the house's interior and exterior were illuminated for varying lengths of time at Shulman's direction, and the fading daylight was exploited fully. The bravura early print offered here showcases Shulman's complete mastery of his medium. With its exceedingly wide tonal range—extending from luminous white to the deepest black—the print possesses an object quality and a presence not seen in prints of the image made later.
In August of 1941, Edward Weston was traveling through Louisiana while making photographs for a new edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. At the New Orleans home of photographer Clarence John Laughlin, Weston met Donald and Beatrice Prendergast who quickly became his guides to the area. The Prendergasts steered him past the city's standard photographic turf to little-known places, such as Saint Roch cemetery where he photographed 'Willie,' St. Roch Cemetery ($7/10,000). Weston's friendship with the Prendergasts continued through the years, and he sent them a number of his photographs, including the shocking nude study Civilian Defense ($50/70,000, above right), an image which seems as timely today as it must have in 1942. The Prendergast group also includes Weston's Exposition of Dynamic Symmetry ($10,000-15,000) and one of his remarkable images of the Cats living on his property in Carmel ($10/15,000).
An early print of Robert Frank's Wales (Miners, Careau) ($50/70,000, left) highlights the postwar offerings in the auction. Made in 1951, prior to the groundbreaking work he created for his book The Americans, the gritty image shows Frank in full possession of his keen photographic eye. Signature images from The Americans include Frank's evocative S.C. (Barbershop, McClellanville) ($50/70,000, below right); the tuba player at a Chicago Political Rally ($50/70,000); and the bleak rooftops of Butte, Montana ($30/50,000) as seen from Frank's hotel window. Perhaps the best-known Robert Frank photograph in the sale is the one reproduced on the cover of the now-classic 1972 Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street ($7/10,000). Dating from the Frank's Americans series, prints of this image are scarce, and it is believed this is the first one to appear auction.
A group of 50 Danny Lyon photographs from The Bikeriders series ($40/60,000) documents both the romantic and brutal realities of this American subculture. This project, in which Lyon immersed himself