Achieving a total of €2.1 million, the Photographs sale of Friday 14 November reached its preliminary estimate in a very selective market. The 200 lots comprised not only vintage print photographs, portraits, and fashion photography, but also solarised photography and overprints. The auction’s top lot was Untitled by Andreas Gursky which sold for €409,500, the highest price achieved at auction for a photograph this year in France. The most coveted lots illustrate the eclectic tastes of collectors, especially for 19th-century photography. This was demonstrated by the famous Gustave Le Gray album on the inauguration of the military camp of Chalons-sur-Marne in 1857 that was won by a European collector for €51,900. The album of A. Bonis immortalising his trip to Rome circa 1863 exceeded its high estimate to €39,900. These works competed with contemporary photography: the second highest bid of €59,100 went to Faith,a silver print by Shirin Neshat.
This year Sotheby’s offers a selection of rare works, from the historic photography of the 19th century right up to the contemporary era. The 19th century is represented by photographers such as Charles Nègre, Gustave Le Gray, and Edouard-Denis Baldus with a large folio album.
Distinguished works by the avant-garde photographers of the 20th century such as Hannah Höch and László Moholy-Nagy are on offer, plus a surrealist section comprised of works by Hans Bellmer and a photomontage by Raoul Ubac. German photography can be found as well, such as August Sander’s surprising Nature morte industrielle from 1951, and a rare example of Humanist photography with a self-portrait by Edouard Boubat. Other masters of the 20th century are represented with works by Erwin Blumenfeld, Horst P Horst, and Irving Penn, from fiendish portraits to troubling still lifes. Amongst the contemporary works, an exceptional work by by Andreas Gursky, Untitled, 2006 constitutes the top lot of this sale.
On 8 November from 11 AM to 6 PM, Sotheby's and Magnum Photo agency will present a pop-up photo studio with artist Paolo Pellegrin (by appointment only: email@example.com / +33 153 425 037).