Outstanding offerings at Swann Galleries’ Auction of Photographic Literature & Photographs, Dec. 11

On Thursday, Dec. 11, Swann Auction Galleries will conduct an auction of Photographic Literature & Photographs containing many rare works by noted artists, as well as ephemeral items, such as a complete run of the celebrated publication Visionaire.

Begun in 1991, Visionaire is the perhaps the must glamorous magazine ever published, and is known for its extravagance. Under designer Stephen Gan’s skillful creative direction, there are themed issues guest edited by a who’s who of the fashion and art worlds. Issues have been wrapped in the iconic Tiffany blue box, and even a Louis Vuitton portfolio case. The complete run of all 50 issues has a presale estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.

Other scarce periodicals include a group of 11 issues of Camera Work, the seminal publication edited by Alfred Stieglitz, Numbers 12-21 and 38, New York, 1905-08 & 1912 ($30,000 to $40,000).

Among the most sought-after books in the sale is a copy of Hans Bellmer’s La Poupée, with 10 silver prints of Bellmer’s images of his beloved doll in various provocative poses, one of 100 copies, Paris, 1936 ($50,000 to $75,000). The book comes from the Library of David Raymond, who built an extraordinary collection of Surrealist photographs and photobooks.

There is a signed and inscribed first American edition of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s classic work, The Decisive Moment, New York, 1952 ($12,000 to $18,000) from the library of retired dealer and collector Harvey Zucker. Also from Zucker’s collection is a deluxe edition of Lee Friedlander’s The American Monument, one 150 copies issued with a signed photograph, New York, 1976 ($7,000 to $10,000); and William Eggleston’s 2 1/4, from a limited edition of 50 signed and numbered copies issued with a photograph, Santa Fe, 1999 ($6,000 to $9,000).

Japanese highlights include Provoke, issues 1, 2 and 3 of the monumental Japanese avant-garde publication with images by Moriyama, Nakahira, Takanashi and others, Tokyo, 1968-69 ($12,000 to $18,000); a set of the Ten Photographers Series with photographs by artists including Fusake, Moriyama, Narahara and others, first editions, Tokyo, 1971-72 ($15,000 to $20,000); and signed first editions of Miyako Ishiuchi’s Apartment, Yokosuka Story, and Suidobashi, Tokyo, 1978, 79 and 81 ($8,000 to $10,000).

Other featured books are Moï Ver’s Modernist masterpiece Paris, 80 Photographies de Moï Ver, first edition, one of 100 numbered copies, Paris, 1931 ($14,000 to $18,000); Italia Imperiale, described as the best propaganda photobook from the Fascist era, first edition, Milan, 1937 ($7,000 to $10,000); Man Ray’s Mr. and Mrs. Woodman, with 27 original photographs of male and female mannequins posed in sexual positions, one of 50 copies signed by Man Ray, The Netherlands, 1970 ($14,000 to $18,000); and Paul Graham’s groundbreaking work A-1, The Great North Road, deluxe edition, one of 75 planned copies, signed by Graham and issued with an original Ektacolor print, Bristol, 1983 ($15,000 to $20,000).

Part II of the auction offers a selection of Important Photographs. An unusual lot is an archive of more than 20,000 abstract and architectural photographs of the American pastoral landscape. In addition to the pictures by commercial photographer Stanley Costa, mostly from the 1950s-70s, are the negatives, as well as the copyrights to the images (refer to the department for estimate).

Among the earliest examples are mammoth albumen prints by William Henry Jackson, including Church of San Miguel, Santa Fe, circa 1883 ($5,000 to $7,500), and sepia-toned silver prints by Edward S. Curtis, including Oasis in the Badlands, 1905 ($4,000 to $6,000).

Modernist highlights include André Kertész’s Chez Mondrian, silver print, 1926, printed 1960s ($8,000 to $12,000), and Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe, Paris, silver print, 1926, printed 1950s-60s ($7,000 to $10,000); Charles Sheeler’s Suspended Power, silver print after his painting, 1939 ($5,000 to $7,500); and Margaret Bourke-White’s Oil Tanks, Standard Oil Co. of Ohio, warm-toned ferrotyped silver print, early 1930s ($5,000 to $7,500).

Mid-century works include Nat Fein’s Babe Bows Out, silver print, 1948, printed early 1990s ($6,000 to $9,000); Roy DeCarava’s Graduation, silver print, 1949, printed 1960s-early 1970s ($9,000 to $12,000); a select group of four Minor White silver prints depicting subjects at the California shore, circa 1950 ($9,000 to $12,000); and Cartier-Bresson’s Ile de la Cité, Paris, 1951, printed 1980s ($7,000 to $10,000).

Among later works are Eliot Porter’s portfolio The Seasons, with 12 dye-transfer photographs, 1951-61, printed 1963 ($14,000 to $18,000); Ruth Bernhard’s Dark Torso with Hands, silver print, 1971, printed 1970-early 1980s ($5,000 to $7,500); Sandy Skoglund’s Radioactive Cats, dye-transfer print, 1980 ($8,000 to $12,000); and Palma Luis González’s Esperanza, varnished photogravure, 2000 ($5,000 to $6,000).

For more information, visit www.swanngalleries.com.

Special Event Dec. 9

On Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30 p.m. Swann will host An Illustrated Talk by Paul Graham, with a preview of the photographs and reception to follow. Space is limited, please RSVP to photo@swanngalleries.com, or 212-254-4710, ext. 305.

The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 11.

The photographs and books will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 8 through Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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 www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Daile Kaplan at 212-254-4710, extension 21, or via e-mail at dkaplan@swanngalleries.com.

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