ARTnewsletter Archive

Hits and Misses at Swann Photo Sale

A number of lots in the Oct. 18 Swann Galleries sale of photographs did quite well, some far exceeding modest estimates.

NEW YORK—A number of lots in the Oct. 18 Swann Galleries sale of photographs did quite well, some far exceeding modest estimates. Topping the list was Berenice Abbott’s portfolio of 50 photographs, taken between 1930 and 1960, printed in 1982. Estimated at $90,000/120,000, the portfolio sold near the low end of expectations for $90,000 including premium. Other lots that far exceeded estimates included Edward Curtis’s orotone, Canyon del Muerto, 1906, which sold for $66,000 on an estimate of $14,000/18,000, and Auguste Salzmann’s group of ten views of Jerusalem, 1856, that realized $60,000, compared with an estimate of $9,000/12,000. Another group of photos, nine images of Peking, 1860, by an unknown photographer, sold for $57,600 on an estimate of $3,000/4,500, and Sally Mann’s Candy Cigarette, 1989, brought a final price of $38,400 on an estimate of $12,000/18,000. A later print of Ansel Adams’s iconic image, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, printed in the 1970s, sold for $31,200 on an estimate of $25,000/35,000.

However, a large number of the works on offer failed to sell, many with higher estimates. Of the 327 lots on offer, 204, or 62 percent, found buyers.

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