Avid bidding by collectors leads to record prices at Swann Galleries’ Auction of Important 19th & 20th Century Photographs

Many record prices for Important 19th & 20th Century Photographs were achieved at Swann Galleries’ Oct. 21 auction. An album containing 68 original photographs of Brazil, dating from the late 1880s to the early ‘90s, sold for $48,000, an auction record for the photographer Marc Ferrez. Benchmarks were also set for works by well-known 20th century photographers. All prices include 20% buyer’s premium.

Daile Kaplan, photographs specialist and Vice-President of Swann Galleries said, “I’m pleased with the overall performance of Swann’s Photographs auction. Our sale saw a record number of first-time buyers, as well as competitive prices for classical works by both 19th and 20th century master photographers.”

Achieving record prices were Roman Vishniac’s The Vanished World, portfolio with 12 silver prints, 1936-38, printed 1977, $38,400; Margaret Bourke-White’s DC-4 Flying over New York City, silver print, 1939, printed 2001, $15,600; and Ruth Orkin’s The Cardplayers, from The Family of Man, 1947, printed 1955, $24,000—a record for the suite of six silver prints.

Other 19th century highlights included Julia Margaret Cameron’s dreamlike Shepherds Keeping Watch by Night, albumen print, 1865-66, $9,600; a group of 75 rare Japanese landscapes by Felix Beato, albumen prints, circa 1870, $24,000; Timothy O’Sullivan’s Ancient Ruins in the Canyon de Chelle, N.M., on the Wheeler Survey letterpress mount, 1873, $24,000; and Carleton E. Watkins and Isaiah Taber’s Section of the ‘Grizzly Giant,’ 33 feet diameter, Mariposa Grove, California, mammoth albumen print, 1865-81, printed circa 1885, $7,200.

From the early 20th century were Edward S. Curtis’s Chief of the Desert, Navajo, orotone, 1909, $16,800; Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather’s platinum-palladium print of three of The Marion Morgan Dancers gazing at their reflections in a pond, circa 1921, $43,200; and Tina Modotti’s portrait of Maria Marin de Orozco, platinum print, 1925, $14,000, and a group of four photographs from the Tina Modotti portfolio, platinum prints, 1924-1927, printed 1993, $14,400 for the set.

The 1930s were represented by documentary images such as Walker Evans’s Coal Stevedore, Havana (Dockworker, Havana), silver print, 1933, printed circa 1970, $14,400, and Sidewalk in Vicksburg, Mississippi, silver print, 1936, printed 1940s-1950s, $18,000; and Dorothea Lange’s Ex-Slave with a Long Memory, Alabama, silver print, 1937, printed 1950s, $19,200; as well as Horst P. Horst’s stylized Mainbocher Corset, Paris, silver print, 1939, printed 1980s, $15,600.

Mid-century highlights included several works by Ansel Adams, among them Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California, silver print, 1944, printed 1978, $31,200, and Sonoma County Hills, silver print, circa 1955, $14,400; as well as Minor White’s Snow on Garage Door, Rochester, New York, silver print, 1960, $14,400, and Jupiter, portfolio with 12 silver prints, 1947-1971, printed 1975, $19,200.

Contemporary photographs included Francesca Woodman’s Untitled (skull), silver print, 1977-1978, $14,400; William Eggleston’s Untitled (Confederate flag), dye-transfer print, 1973, printed 1996, $13,200; and Horst’s Round the Clock I, New York, silver print, 1987, printed 1980s, $13,200.

For complete results, an illustrated auction catalog with prices realized is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.