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Perennial Favorites Top Strong $6.9M Photo Sales in London

The Sotheby’s and Christie’s photography sales in London in late May saw strong prices and overall totals for both houses of £3.5 million ($6.9 million).

NEW YORK—The Sotheby’s and Christie’s photography sales in London in late May saw strong prices and overall totals for both houses of £3.5 million ($6.9 million).

Sotheby’s sale on May 29 realized £1.8 million ($3.6 million) for 243 lots. Of these, 150, or 62 percent, were sold. Christie’s sale on May 31 brought £1.7 million ($3.4 million) and set five new artists’ records. Of 121 lots offered, 94 found buyers.

Phillips, de Pury & Company held a photography sale on June 7 in New York that realized $1.2 million for 263 lots offered. Of these, 207, or 78 percent, were sold.

The top lot at Sotheby’s was Thomas Struth’s Musée du Louvre I, Paris, 1989 (printed 1990), which brought £228,000, or $452,489 (estimate: £100,000/150,000) from a U.K. dealer.

This was followed by Alfred Stieglitz’s Winter—Fifth Avenue, 1893, which fetched £192,000 ($381,000), far above the estimate of £10,000/15,000. Helmut Newton figured prominently in the top lots with three suites of photographs, each selling well over-estimate.

The highest, Private Property, Suite II, 1972-83 (printed in 1984), realized £90,000, or $178,614 (estimate: £40,00/60,000).

Andreas Gursky’s Taipeh, 1999, sold for £50,400, or $100,024 (estimate: £18,000/23,000); and a c-print from Thomas Ruff’s “Nudes” series, Nudes Asd04, 2001, took £43,200, or $85,735 (estimate: £20,000/30,000).

Total Called London’s Highest in Seven Years

Sotheby’s head of photography in London, Francis Hodgson, observed that “good prices were achieved for first-rate pieces, and many of the best photographs sold to London dealers.” Hodgson added that the total was the highest for a various-owner photography sale in London in seven years.

At Christie’s the top lot was Newton’s Big Nude III, Paris, 1980, which sold for £192,000, or $378,816 (estimate: £80,000/120,000). This was followed by another Newton work, Panoramic Nude with Gun, Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, Lake Como, 1989, which brought £108,000, or $213,084 (estimate: £ 50,000/70,000).

The highlight of the sale was a group of photos of supermodel Kate Moss, taken by various well- known artists such as Chuck Close and Irving Penn. Six digital ink-jet prints comprising nine images by Close (printed in 2005), daguerreotype studies of the model’s bare face and body, fetched £84,000, or $165,732 (estimate: £15,000/20,000).

Penn’s 1996 platinum-palladium nude photograph printed in 1998—Kate Moss, (Hand on Neck), New York, 25 April 1996—brought £38,400, or $75,763 (estimate: £18,000/22,000).

Moss Images Take $361,300

Kate Moss, Marrakech, January, 1993, an oversize image taken by Albert Watson for German Vogue, won £54,000, or $106,542 (estimate: £10,000/15,000); and an early photograph of the model, taken at her London flat by Corrine Day, Kate at Home, 1993, sold just over the £7,000 high estimate for £7,800, or $15,400. Together the works depicting the supermodel realized £183,000 or $361,300.

Said Christie’s head of photographs in London, Yuka Yamji: “A buzzing saleroom saw international bidding in this tightly edited sale.”

Among other top-selling works at Christie’s: William Eggleston’s Cadillac Portfolio, 1966-71, made £42,000 ($82,866), albeit on the low end of the £40,000/60,000 estimate; Peter Beard’s Darajani Rhino Roping, 1968, brought in a double-estimate £45,600, or $89,969 (estimate: £15,000/20,000); and Penn’s [Pablo] Picasso (B), Cannes, 1957, fell for £60,000, or $118,380.

Work by Newton again took the top slot at Phillips when Naomi Campbell, Cap d’Antibes, 1998, earned $55,200 (estimate: $15,000/20,000).

A later print of one of Ansel Adams’ most famous images, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1942 (printed in 1974), realized $31,200 (estimate: $25,000/35,000).

Joel Sternfeld’s After a Flash Flood, Rancho Mirage, California, 1979 (printed in 1984), fell for $26,400, more than double the high estimate of $10,000.

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