Taking place alongside Paris Photo, Sotheby’s sale offers a sophisticated selection of photographs dating from early examples of the medium to the present day.
An exclusive portfolio has been compiled for the sale to mark the 65th anniversary of MAGNUM Photos, and to benefit the MAGNUM Foundation. This unique set is dedicated to the Nude – an unusual subject for this co-operative whose photographers are better known for their critical eye in chronicling world events. It brings together sensual, intimate, unexpected and humorous photographic interpretations of the genre. Works by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Eve Arnold are included alongside those from the younger generation such as Paolo Pellegrin and Harry Gruyaert.
The sale places a special emphasis on classical photography with outstanding vintage prints by Man Ray, Maurice Tabard, Heinrich Kühn, Karl Blossfeldt, August Sander and Josef Sudek. An exceptionally large exhibition print by André Kertèsz from his early Paris period highlights this section. Leni Riefenstahl’s Nuba portfolio, a pictorial record of these African people from southern Sudan in the 1960s consists of 30 rich dye-transfer prints beautifully presented in two elaborate clamshell boxes.
Glamorous fashion photographs include Peter Lindbergh’s large portrait of Keith Richards, Erwin Blumenfeld’s portfolio Color, works by Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, William Klein and Horst P. Horst.
Among the most stunning contemporary photographs are those by Guido Mocafico, Candida Höfer, Robert Mapplethorpe and Massimo Vitali.
With a total of €1.56 million, the sale of Photography at Sotheby’s Paris saw fierce bidding for vintage prints and iconic works of historical, fashion and contemporary photography.
Simone Klein, Sotheby’s European Head of Photography, was ‘delighted with this evening’s results, which shows the market remains on the look-out for magnificent prints like the unique Leni Riefenstahl portfolio – so rarely found complete. Meanwhile classic and historical photographs remain in high demand.’
The sale’s top price went to to Leni Riefenstahl’s magnificent 30-print Nuba portfolio, a moving tribute to the beauty and grandeur of the Sudanese tribe. After the record price for her 1936 Olympia portfolio at Sotheby’s in November 2011, this sets a new world record for Leni Riefenstahl at €234,750 / $299,200 – well clear of the €80,000 top-estimate* (lot 95).
Martin Munkácsi’sPuddle Jumper (1934) caused a sensation by soaring past its €20,000 top-estimate to €78,750 / $100,400 – world record for the artist (lot 12). Munkácsi is recognized as a pioneer of press and fashion photography. This enigmatic photo would influence contemporary artists like Avedon.