The sale of Photographs brought a total of £1,422,375 ($2,073,823), with 25% of the buyers new to Sotheby’s.
Rarely seen at auction, Irving Penn’s breath-taking Mouth (For L’Oreal), New York commanded the top price, selling for £221,000. His portrayal of female lips marks a legacy of timelessly elegant photographs which captured an unexpected and surreal beauty.
An iconic photograph of supermodels laughing on the beach by Peter Lindbergh – encapsulating his fresh, pioneering style, and his ability to capture effortless, natural beauty – sold for £81,250, a new auction record for this subject by the photographer.
Richard Avedon aimed to reveal the true character of his subjects in his portraits. Whilst photographing Marilyn Monroe in his New York studio in May 1957, he was able to capture the ‘real’ Marilyn Monroe. Estimated at £30,000-50,000, his image of one of the world’s most photographed stars whose charms, splendour and flirtations with tragedy were made wildly public – sold for £77,500.
This year Sotheby’s offers an unrivalled selection of iconic works in the forthcoming Photographs auction on 19May in London.
With a strong emphasis on fashion and glamour, the sale opens with iconic works by Herb Ritts, Richard Avedon and Robert Mapplethorpe. The auction’s two top lots belong to Irving Penn’s breathtaking Mouth (for L’Oreal) (lot 78, estimate: £180,000–230,000), which will be only the third time this work has come up for auction, and for which we hold the world record sale price, and Peter Lindbergh’s Mathilde (lot 22, estimate: £100,000–150,000), a unique, oversized work and a tribute to Erwin Blumenfeld.
A chapter is dedicated to Thierry Marlat, the Parisian gallerist who has succeeded in collecting some of America’s greatest photographers, including spectacular examples by Edward and Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Weston, William Eggleston and Lee Friedlander.
An outstanding work by the revered and highly collectable artists Bernd and Hilla Becher is for sale, as are key pieces from their Dusseldorf School pupils Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff and Axel Hutte. A wonderfully varied selection of works by Peter Beard is on offer alongside covetable pieces by Nick Brandt, Sebastiao Salgado and Steve McCurry. Iconic photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nobuyoshi Araki and Daido Moriyama feature prominently.
With such a diverse offering of major works from blue-chip artists, this exciting sale promises to deliver something for all buyers, from the seasoned collector to the budding connoisseur.