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    Top-Flight Works Fire Record Prices at Photo Auctions

    Christie’s held several auctions to coincide with the Paris Photo week—including a mixed-owner selection on Nov. 12, as well as a private collector’s holding of works by Irving Penn, and works from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s archives.

    PARIS—Christie’s held several auctions to coincide with the Paris Photo week—including a mixed-owner selection on Nov. 12, as well as a private collector’s holding of works by Irving Penn, and works from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s archives.

    The regular sale realized a total of €1.7 million ($2.3 million). Of the 79 lots offered, 56 were sold, representing 71 percent by sold by lot and 87 percent sold by value. The total for the three photography sales was €5.9 million ($8 million).

    Matthieu Humery, director of Christie’s Paris photo department, said that along with the highly successful Richard Avedon auction held a year ago, “the outstanding results confirm Paris’s position as a photography capital.”

    The top two lots in the main sale were by Penn. The highest seller, his still life Two Liqueurs, New York, 1951, sold for €169,000 ($230,455), more than doubling the low end of the €70,000/90,000 estimate. The second-highest lot was Penn’s Mouth, New York, 1986, which sold for €157,000 ($214,091), compared with an estimate of €80,000/120,000.

    Peter Beard’s Hunting Cheetahs on the Taru Desert, Kenya, 1960, was also in the top lots, fetching v127,000 ($173,182) on an estimate of €40,000/60,000.

    Also by Beard, Loliondo (from the End of the Game), 1968, doubled the low end of the €50,000/70,000 estimate to sell for €99,400 ($135,545).

    A record was set for French photographer François-Marie Banier, for a view of Picasso’s room at Vauvenargues, La chambre de Picasso à Vauvenargues, 2007. The photo sold for €67,000 ($91,364), against an estimate of €40,000/60,000. Banier was the subject of an investigation, last year when Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, the daughter of Liliane Bettencourt—a principal shareholder of L’Oreal—filed a complaint stemming from the close friendship between her mother and the artist, leading to a public scandal in France.

    Private Penn Trove Takes $3M

    At the Irving Penn sale on Nov. 12, Christie’s offered 51 photographs from a private French collection. A portion of the profits from the auction, which Christie’s gave an overall presale estimate of €1.6 million, will be donated to the organization Doctors Without Borders.

    The auction was a success, realizing a total of €2.1 million ($2.9 million), and was 100 percent by sold by lot and value. The selection ranged from celebrity portraits to Penn’s famous Parisian images of workers, including butchers and cleaning ladies, to images from his travels to Morocco, Benin, India and New Guinea, as well as fashion photos.

    The top lot of the sale was Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1951, an image of his fashion-model wife, which fetched €361,000 ($492,273), compared with an estimate of €200,000/300,000. The price was the second-highest for a work by Penn sold at auction.?

    The second-highest lot was another image of Fonssagrives-Penn, Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1950, printed in 1979, which more than doubled the high end of its estimate of €70,000/100,000, bringing €193,000 ($262,673).

    Butchers, Paris, 1950, printed in 1976, fetched €97,000 ($132,273), more than tripling the high end of the €20,000/30,000 estimate. Three Rissani Women with Bread, Morocco, 1971, printed in 1984, fetched €68,200 ($93,000), more than double the estimate of €25,000/35,000. Penn’s still life, Frozen Food, New York, 1977, printed in 1984, exceeded its estimate of €40,000/60,000, selling for €67,000 ($91,364).?

    Cuzco Children, Cuzco, a photograph originally made in Peru in December 1948 and printed in 1984, sold for €56,200 ($76,636), against an estimate of €40,000/60,000.

    Cartier-Bresson Photo Sets New Auction High

    On Nov. 11, Christie’s offered 100 photographs by Cartier-Bresson. The auction marked the first time prints have been offered for sale from the collection of the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, set up by the artist and his wife Martine Franck in 2003. Foundation heads are currently attempting to raise funds to purchase a larger building to house the collection.

    The works realized a total of €2.1 million, ($2.8 million), and 91 of the 100 lots were sold, or 96 percent by value. The auction represented an overview of Cartier-Bresson’s long career spanning 1929 to 2000.

    The top seller of the auction was a print of the photographer’s iconic image of a puddle jumper behind the train station in Paris, Derrière la gare Saint-Lazare, Paris, which was originally shot in 1932. The print, made in 1946, was the oldest in the auction and sold for €433,000 ($590,455), more than tripling its estimate of €120,000/180,000 and setting a new record for an original photo sold at auction.

    A portrait of Alberto Giacometti at the Maeght Gallery in Paris, taken in 1961 and printed in 1999, was the second-highest lot, selling for €75,400 ($102,818), compared with an estimate of €15,000/20,000.

    The Coronation of King George VI, Trafalgar Square, London, May 12, 1937, printed in 1957, sold for €70,600 ($96,273), more than double the estimate of €30,000/50,000. Srinagar, Cachemire, India, a 1948 photo printed between 1950 and 1960, sold for €70,600 ($96,273), on an estimate of €20,000/30,000. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 1949, printed in 1957, more than doubled its estimate of €30,000/50,000, selling for €63,400 ($86,455).

    Mexico, 1963, printed ca. 1980, surpassed its estimate of €6,000/9,000, selling for €51,400 ($70,091). A classic Parisian scene, Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1952, printed in 1999, more than doubled the low end of the estimate of €15,000/20,000, selling for €39,400 ($53,727). A 1954 scene from Moscow, Moscou, Union Soviétique, 1954, printed during that same period (1950–1960), more than doubled the high end of the €10,000/15,000 estimate, fetching €37,000 ($50,455).