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Photos a Highlight of Strong Sale of Private Paris Collection

On Sept. 23, the season at Sotheby’s began with the auction of an eclectic private collection of contemporary art, photographs, furniture, and works of art from a flat on avenue Montaigne.

PARIS—On Sept. 23, the season at Sotheby’s began with the auction of an eclectic private collection of contemporary art, photographs, furniture, and works of art from a flat on avenue Montaigne. The sale took in a total of €1.4million ($2.1million) for 224 lots on offer. In all, 181 lots, or 78 percent, were sold, with 53 percent of those surpassing their high estimates, opening the season on a strong positive note.

At the heart of the collection were 65 photographs, 60 of which found buyers. In one of the top ten sales of the auction, a Robert Mapplethorpe portrait of Donald Cann, 1982, doubled its estimate of €10,000/15,000 to sell for €35,550 ($52,329). Another of the top lots was a 1977 ­platinum-palladium print of a 1970 portrait of an Enga warrior by Irving Penn, which sold for €33,150 ($48,796) against an estimate of €25,000/30,000.

Other photographs that sold exceptionally well include three vintage silver prints, all New York cityscapes from the 1940s by Andreas Feininger, all with a high estimate of €4,000 ($5,900). One sold for €11,875 ($17,562); another sold for €12,500 ($18,487); the third, World’s Most Won­derful Snowstorm, sold for €8,125 ($12,016).

Broome Street, New York, 1940s, a vintage silver contact print of a cityscape by Berenice Abbott, sold for €10,625 ($15,714), doubling the high estimate of€5,000 ($7,394). Margaret Bourke-White’s vintage print Silver Fleet over Hudson River, ca. 1935, sold for €12,500 ($18,487), far surpassing the high estimate of €7,000 ($10,352). Several works by Hiroshi Sugimoto sold quite well, including Cabot Street Cinema, Massa­chusetts, 1978, a photograph of the interior of a theater. The silver print sold for€19,950 ($29,905) against an estimate of €15,000/18,000.

Works by Henri Cartier-Bresson—including a 1944 portrait of Henri Matisse—and by André Kertész sold well, as did a 1968 Rayogram by Man Ray, which surpassed the €8,000 high estimate to sell for €12,500 ($18,487). A 1934 silver print of Adolf Fassbender’s photograph White Night, New York, 1930, depicting the New York City skyline, sold for €16,250 ($24,033), more than three times its €4,000/5,000 estimate.

Two Herb Ritts photographs also surpassed their high estimates. Clay Nude on Mantle, 1989, estimated at €2,000/2,500, sold for €6,250 ($9,243); Waterfall IV, 1988, estimated at €4,000/6,000, sold for €10,000 ($14,789). Bruce Weber’s silver print Coast Guard on Leave, Hono­lulu, 1982, estimated at €2,000/3,000, sold for €7,500 ($11,092), and Peter Lindbergh’s portrait of model Helena Christensen for French Vogue, 1990, sold for €11,000 ($16,268), almost twice its €6,000 high estimate. Vik Muniz’s platinum print Equivalents (Teapot), 1993, just exceeded its €5,000/6,000 estimate, selling for€6,250 ($9,243).

Works of art had considerable success, as well. New York City–Spring 1962–Valentine, a collage by Joseph Cornell estimated at €15,000/20,000, sold for €18,750 ($27,730). A unique glass sculpture by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, Lustre, 2005, sold close to its €12,000 high estimate, bringing in €11,250 ($16,638). Another one-of-a-kind contemporary glass sculpture, Rob Wynne’s Big Green, #8, 2007, also estimated at €8,000/12,000, sold for €9,375 ($13,865).

An oil painting, ca. 1745, from the studio of Giovanni Paolo Panini was sold for €64,350 ($95,172), which put the work among the top lots of the auction, although it sold for less than its estimate of €80,000/120,000.

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