Scarce 19th century albums and classic 20th century images at Swann Feb. 19

On Thursday, Feb. 19, Swann Galleries will conduct an auction of 100 Fine Photographs. The offerings span the entire history of photography, from 19th-century albums through recent works by contemporary artists.

Among the earliest items are rare American daguerreotypes and scarce albums, such as Francis Frith’s Egypt and Palestine, Photographed and Described, Vols. I & II, London, 1858-59 (estimate: $6,000-$9,000); Cités et ruines Américaines, Mitla, Palenque, Izmal, Chichen-Itza, Uxmal, by the French archaeologist Claude-Joseph Désiré Charnay, with 47 albumen photographs of Mexico, including two panoramas, Paris, 1862 (refer to the department for estimate); and a suite of three albums entitled Photographic Pictures Made By Mr. Francis Bedford During the Tour in the East in which, by command, he accompanied His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, with 172 albumen photographs, including views of Egypt, the Holy Land and Syria, and Constantinople and the Mediterranean, London, 1862 ($40,000-$60,000).

Also from the 19th century are Western landscapes by William Henry Jackson, including Shoshone Falls, circa 1883, and The ‘W,’ Pike’s Peak Carriage Road, circa 1885, mammoth albumen prints ($5,000-$7,500 each); Edward S. Curtis’s studies of Native Americans, as well as A Souvenir of the Harriman Alaska Expedition, May-August 1899, Cook Inlet to Bering Strait and the Return Voyage, Vol. 2, with 107 silver print photographs by Curtis and others, 1899 ($10,000-$15,000).

There are many appealing images of New York City, including Berenice Abbott’s George Washington Bridge II, silver print, 1937, printed 1940s ($5,000-$7,500), and Flatiron Building, oversize silver print, 1938, printed 1980s ($8,000-$12,000); Samuel Gottscho’s View of New York City, silver print, circa 1930, printed 1940s ($3,000-$4,500); and Brett Weston’s New York (Manhattan Bridge), warm-toned silver print, 1946 ($3,000-$4,500).

Among Modernist works are André Kertész’s Chez Mondrian, silver print, 1926, printed 1960s ($7,000-$10,000); Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Marseilles, silver print, 1932, printed 1980s ($5,000-$7,500); Margaret Bourke-White’s Untitled (Curtiss Gulfhawks), warm-toned silver print, circa 1933 ($8,000-$12,000); and Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Un Pez que Llaman Sierra [A Fish Called Sword], silver print, 1944, printed 1950s-early 1960s ($10,000-$15,000).

Among striking portraits are Mike Disfarmer’s Mary Jo Seymore, vintage silver print of a G.I.’s gal saluting the camera, circa 1944 ($7,000-$10,000); Philippe Halsman’s Albert Einstein, silver print, 1947, printed 1970s ($5,000-$7,500); Horst P. Horst’s Jacqueline Bouvier [Kennedy], silver print, 1953, the year she married J.F.K.; and Lawrence Schiller’s Marilyn Monroe, oversize silver print, 1962, printed 1990s (each $7,000-$10,000).

Other mid-century highlights include vintage silver prints of Dave Heath’s Vengeful Sister, Chicago, 1956 ($6,000-$9,000); Harry Callahan’s Weed, Ai-en-Provence, 1958 ($7,000-$10,000); and Minor White’s Moon & Wall Encrustations, Pultneyville, New York, 1964 ($10,000-$15,000).

An assortment of desirable contemporary artworks features Joel-Peter Witkin’s Canova’s Venus, N.Y.C., silver print, 1982; Tina Barney’s Beverly, Jill and Polly, color coupler print, 1982 ($7,000-$10,000 each); and Kara Walker’s Testimony, portfolio with five photogravure images of her silhouettes and projections, 2005 ($10,000-$15,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19.

The photographs will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, Feb. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalog, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

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