T his May, Sotheby’s London presents an exciting selection of works from some of the most celebrated names in photography from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Photographs auction will give both established and first-time collectors the chance to acquire seminal works by masters of the medium including Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, and Peter Beard. Sotheby’s celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the first Photographs Auction, which took place at Sotheby’s London in 1971, and will celebrate this landmark through various events and auctions taking place this year.
Artists throughout history have been drawn to the human form. Whether it is to compel, to shock or seduce, these artworks remain one of the central subjects of art history. Selected works in this sale explore this central theme in society through the medium of photography.
Highlights include seminal works by some of the most renown names of the genre, from Robert Mapplethorpe’s 'Lisa Marie', (Breasts), 1987, to Helmut Newton’s 'Nude for Pentax', 1975 and Nan Goldin’s, 'Matt + Lewis in the Tub’, 1988. Their role in the development of the medium and constant challenging of societal norms had an immeasurable effect in the history of art. Following their footsteps, we find works by artists who continued to explore the Erotic theme and executed strong and fascinating bodies of work around it such as Michel Comte, David LaChapelle or Bob Carlos Clarke.
Ever since photography became a portable medium, it moved away from the studios and into the outdoors. This resulted in an exploration of nature as seen through the works of Peter Beard and Toshio Shibata. In turn, as societies and specifically cities grew bigger, photographers turned to depict the urban landscape and the environment around them. Seminal works pertaining to this subject include photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, René Burri and Edward Burtynsky.