Photographs from the Ginny Williams Collection
Live Auction: 14 July 2020 • 12:00 PM EDT • New York

Photographs from the Ginny Williams Collection 14 July 2020 • 12:00 PM EDT • New York

S otheby’s is honored to present Photographs from the Ginny Williams Collection on 14 July, an auction of approximately 100 photographs celebrating Williams’s passion for the medium as well as her dedication to the work of female creators.

A dynamic force in the photographs market for more than three decades, by the time of her passing, Ginny had collected more than 1,000 photographs. In addition to prints by Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott, Laura Gilpin, Diane Arbus, Margaret Bourke-White, and Ruth Bernhard, whose work Williams exhibited and passionately championed at her first gallery exhibition in Denver, the auction features Tina Modotti’s Interior of Church Tower at Tepotzotlán, Mexico, Edward Weston’s Dunes, Oceano, and Herbert Bayer’s In Search of Times Past. Contemporary highlights include unique works by Lucas Samaras, Gerhard Richter, and Adam Fuss, as well as typologies by Bernd and Hilla Becher.

The photographs in the Ginny Williams Collection display a breadth of vision and connoisseurship that is nothing short of remarkable. Sotheby’s sales of The Ginny Williams Collection will continue throughout 2020.

Captivating Across Categories: Photographs From the Collection of Ginny Williams

Spotlight on Female Photographers

Not only was Ginny Williams a pioneering female gallerist, but she was also a staunch advocate for female photographers. When she opened her eponymous gallery in 1984, Ruth Bernhard’s Classic Torso was her first gallery acquisition. Williams was unwavering in her devotion to Bernhard and collected with similar passion iconic photographs by Tina Modotti, Diane Arbus, Annie Leibovitz, and Margaret Bourke-White.

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."
Dorothea Lange

Focus on Dorothea Lange

Ginny Williams collected in depth works by the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. She was particularly drawn to Lange’s portraits made during the Depression. Included in Photographs from the Ginny Williams Collection are seven prints by Lange, many of them vintage, that were all taken between 1933 and 1938. Each reveals the photographer’s compassion and humanism.

Bauhaus and Beyond

Founded in 1919 and shuttered by the Nazis in 1933, the Bauhaus offered a new model for a school of art and design by embracing technology and encouraging visual experimentation. Notable Bauhauslers – including T. Lux Feininger, Irene and Herbert Bayer, and others—used photography as a tool for exploring how the world could be visualized as well as for documenting activities at the school. After its closure, the Bauhaus continued to have lasting influence in both design and pedagogy, particularly at the Institute of Design in Chicago. Gathered here are a selection of works created at the Bauhaus and beyond.

Masters of Manipulation

Fascinated by the plasticity of photography, contemporary artists have cut, collaged, scratched, painted, and drawn on Polaroids, gelatin silver prints, and chromogenic prints, among many other processes. The resulting hybrid artworks often combine photographic elements with other mediums. From Gerhard Richter and David Hockney to Lucas Samaras and Christian Boltanski, these works from the Ginny Williams Collection offer a master class in the manipulation of different materials.

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