PARIS—Sotheby’s France held a photography auction on Nov. 11, which brought a total of €1.9 million ($2.6 million) for the 147 lots offered. One hundred lots covering a large scope of historical photography were sold, representing 68 percent by lot and 80 percent by value. The top lot of the sale was a portfolio of 28 vintage silver prints by the German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, perhaps best known for the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. The portfolio, “Olympia,” 1936, fetched a record €180,750 ($246,339) on an estimate of €100,000/150,000.
The second-highest lot was an albumen print by Gustave Le Gray, La grande Vague, 1857. It exceeded its estimate of €60,000/80,000, selling for €72,750 ($99,149).
A rare, full-plate French daguerrotype by Vincent Chevalier—an optician who supplied Louis Daguerre with photographic materials and experimented with the medium himself—entitled a Vue de Paris: la Seine, le Louvre et la statue d’ Henri IV, ca. 1840, was one of the most important lots in the auction. One of the only known views of the city representing the Place du Pont Neuf, with the statue of Henri IV and with the Seine and the Louvre in the background, it sold for €70,350 ($95,878) against an estimate of €60,000/80,000.
Another record was set for contemporary Turkish artist Ahmet Ertug for a 2011 photograph of the Pantheon. It sold for €60,750 ($82,794), compared with an estimate of €20,000/30,000. A ca. 1927 self-portrait by Claude Cahun was also in the top lots, selling for €€55,950 ($76,253) on an estimate of €35,000/50,000.
A work by American photographer Lee Friedlander also did well, as did works by Man Ray and Josef Sudek. A vintage silver print, Place de la Concorde, 1952, by Otto Steinert, sold for €41,550 ($56,627), more than tripling its low estimate of €12,000/15,000 and setting a record for the artist.