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Prices Sparkle at Midseason Photographs Sale

Christie’s midseason sale of photographs on Dec. 13 offered a mix of iconic and contemporary images, and took in just under $1 million ($920,688) for 187 lots.

NEW YORK—Christie’s midseason sale of photographs on Dec. 13 offered a mix of iconic and contemporary images, and took in just under $1million ($920,688) for 187 lots. Of these, 139, or 74 percent, were sold. By value, the auction was 82 percent sold.

The sale was led by a set of three gelatin silver prints by contemporary artist Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled #2450, from Kitchen Table Series, 1990. Estimated at $8,000/12,000, the works sold for a nearly triple-estimate $35,000.

That was followed by Irving Penn’s 1946 Vogue cover photo, a portrait of Dorian Leigh and Ray Bolger, which sold for $30,000, the high end of the $20,000/30,000 estimate. Ansel Adams’s Half-Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite, 1938, also fetched $30,000 on a $20,000/30,000 estimate.

Two lots by Peter Beard soared past expectations: Orphaned cheetah cubs at Mweiga National Park headquarters, for The End of the Game, 1968, sold for $27,500, more than double the $8,000/12,000 estimate, and Bibiana at El Molo Bay, Loiyangalani, Lake Rudolf, 1968, a portrait of a pregnant African tribeswoman, sold for $26,250, several times the $3,000/5,000 estimate. A Beard photo of a lion, From The End of the Game (Last Word from Paradise), ca. 1965, sold for $18,750 on an estimate of $5,000/7,000.

An untitled dye-bleach print by Nobuyoshi Araki depicting a Japanese woman in a kimono, 2007, cleared its $7,000/9,000 estimate, selling for $15,000.

Among other top lots, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s La Plaine de la Brie, 1968, printed 1970s, sold for $20,000 on an estimate of $6,000/8,000 and Ruth Bernhard’s partial nude Hips Horizontal, 1975, sold for $16,250 on an estimate of $5,000/7,000.

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