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Le Gray Album at Artcurial Scores Record for a French Photo Sale

During the same week as the Paris Photo fair, Paris’ Artcurial held a two-part photography sale, on Nov. 17 and 19.

PARIS—During the same week as the Paris Photo fair, Paris’ Artcurial held a two-part photography sale, on Nov. 17 and 19. Part One, devoted to 19th-century masters, created several records for works by the likes of Edouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, Eugène Cuvelier and Duchenne de Boulogne, and realized a total of €837,365 ($1.2 million).

One record was set for a complete album by Le Gray, Camp de Chalons, which contained 62 prints and was in excellent condition. Estimated at €200,000/250,000, the album doubled the high estimate when it won €696,730 ($1 million) from New York dealer Hans Kraus Jr., thus creating a world record for 19th-century photography (in U.S. dollars the price of the album, including all costs, was a reported $1,021,300—the first time a work of its kind went for more than a million dollars). It also was a world record for Le Gray and set a record for a French photography sale.

Lackluster Results for Delamotte Plates

The auction included 151 plates from a rare Crystal Palace album by Philip Henry Delamotte. Few sold, and those that did remained well within estimates. One of them, an architectural photograph print titled South Transept Looking Towards Penge, 1852-55 (estimate: €10,000/12,000), earned €12,392 ($18,000).

Another, estimated at E6,000/8,000, of The Nave from the South end. September, 1853, went for €6,196 ($9,000). Two prints by Le Gray, both circa 1853 works depicting the Temple of Paestum, made more than their estimates.

Part Two of the auction brought in a total of €258,975 ($378,100), with a selection of more than 300 prints drawn largely from an American private collection of such modern masters as Diane Arbus, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, André Kertész and William Klein. Among the prints sold were a Bill Brandt image, Henry Moore’s Eye, ca. 1946, for €12,392 ($18,000), within the €12,000/15,000 estimate.

Evans’ 1936 Portrait of Floyd Burroughs took €7,435 ($10,800), just over the €7,000 high estimate. Other works sold included Eugène Smith’s Juanita, 1955-56, which earned €3,098 ($4,500); and Eugene Atget’s Ile Saint-Louis, Paris, ca. 1921, which sold within estimate for €5,824 ($8,500).

A picture by Arbus, Boy with a Straw Hat Waiting to March in a Pro-War Parade, NYC, 1967, estimated at €22,000/25,000, fetched a mid-estimate €23,545 ($34,400).