15 Exceptional Highlights from London Photographs Auction

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Launch Slideshow

The upcoming Photographs auction (London, 17 May) showcases some of the most celebrated names in photography from the 20th and 21st centuries. Coinciding with the international photography fair Photo London, the auction offers the chance for established and first-time collectors to acquire works by some of the most renowned photographers. Click ahead to see highlights from the sale.

Photographs
London | 17 May

15 Exceptional Highlights from London Photographs Auction

  • Helmut Newton, ‘Saddle I’, Paris, 1976
    Estimate £30,000–40,000
    Helmut Newton’s controversial and provocative approach to fashion photography would change the medium forever. He brought taboo subjects into the spreads of the world’s most famous magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Iconic works from series such as Big Nudes and Naked and Dressed marked the pinnacle of his erotic-urban style, all underpinned with his heavily voyeuristic nature and technical prowess.

    Photographs

    London | 17 May

  • Helmut Newton, ‘Mannequins reclining, Quai d’Orsay’, Paris, 1977 (from Private Property Suite III)
    Estimate £10,000–15,000
    Newton's portrayal of women was always one of the most controversial aspects of his work. He used his photography to challenge traditional gender norms by capturing strong, dominating, dangerous and sexually free Amazons. During the 1970s, when feminism was gaining momentum, Newton was defying and exploring power, sexuality and gender roles with his images.

    “It's that I don't like white paper backgrounds. A woman does not live in front of white paper. She lives on the street, in a motor car, in a hotel room.” – Helmut Newton

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Irving Penn, ‘Rag and Bones’, London, 1950
    Estimate £40,000–60,000
    These four beautiful platinum prints belong to Penn’s series Small Trades, which he began photographing in 1950 in Paris, London and New York. He sought to document trades which would eventually disappear and as a result this body of work stands as a historical piece of the mid-20th century.

    The portraits were executed in the same simple manner his fashion works were conducted. Penn welcomed to his atelier the subjects, who had previously been scouted by his assistant, and captured them in their full work attire accompanied by tools of their occupation. Penn revisited this series over the following two decades, fine-tuning the images in platinum prints that capture a range of painterly tones.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May
     

  • Irving Penn, ‘Deep Sea Diver, New York, 1951’
    Estimate £25,000–35,000
    “I can get obsessed by anything if I look at it long enough. That's the curse of being a photographer.” – Irving Penn

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Irving Penn, ‘Train Coach Waiter, New York, 1951’
    Estimate £25,000–35,000
    “Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is the one they would like to show to the world... Every so often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.” – Irving Penn

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Irving Penn, ‘Motorcycle Policeman, New York, 1951’
    Estimate £25,000–35,000
    “Using simple equipment and daylight alone is for me a pleasure and a replenishment.” – Irving Penn

    Photographs

    London | 17 May

  • William Eggleston, ‘Untitled’ (woman walking on sidewalk), Las Vegas NV (from Dust Bells II), circa 1965-98
    Estimate £18,000–25,000
    This image, Woman Walking on Sidewalk, from his ‘Dust Bells, Volume II’ portfolio is a clear example of how Eggleston found his subject matter in his native everyday environment. Behind the apparent banality of moment, the image reveals a strong and instinctive sense of colour and form in its composition.

    Eggleston portrayed the American south through his snapshot aesthetic, elevating quotidian activities to a status of high art. Along with other photographers such as Lee Friedlander or Gary Winogrand, Eggleston forms part of a generation of post-war photographers whose work liberated the medium from the conservative rules and conventions of the time.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Nobuyoshi Araki, ‘Grand Diary of a Photo Maniac, 1994’
    Estimate £45,000–65,000
    Nobuyoshi Araki’s style within photography has always been very provocative in dealing with private life. His work captures the essence of personal relationships in explicit contexts, dealing with themes such as sex, death and the transitory nature of life. Araki constantly challenges the limits of censorship and social mores in his native country of Japan. He accomplishes this through the use of traditional references in his imagery juxtaposed with contemporary elements, such as depicted in this photograph, Grand Diary of a Photo Maniac.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Nobuyoshi Araki, Yakusa 1994
    Estimate £18,000–25,000
    “Photography is about a single point of a moment. It’s like stopping time. As everything gets condensed in that forced instant. But if you keep creating these points, they form a line which reflects your life.” – Nobuyoshi Araki

    Photographs
    London | 17 May



     

  • Andres Serrano, ‘Pieta II, 1989’
    Estimate £30,000–50,000
    Andres Serrano’s work tackles big themes while staying shy of their complexities. His way of working is rooted in traditional photography, staying away from post production, concentrating on the use of lights and compositional elements on set. His roots lie less in contemporary theory than in the Roman Catholicism of his childhood. He sees himself as a classical artist, with connections to the past. He aims to make work which is timeless, with themes such as like torture, racism, homelessness, or religion.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May



     

  • Richard Avedon, ‘Avedon/Paris, 1978’
    Estimate £150,000–200,000
    This portfolio, Avedon/Paris, was assembled in 1978 to celebrate his retrospective exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The eleven images included, all taken in Paris between 1947 and 1957, are brilliant examples of the work the American photographer executed to elevate fashion photography into an art standpoint.



    The women portrayed in these photographs showcase the effortless glamour and playfulness that Avedon imagined for his models. He gave them evidence of being human, the urban woman, constantly on the go in a luxurious and sophisticated environment. As stated in his obituary published by The New York Times, "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century".

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Peter Beard, ‘Hog Ranch Front Lawn, Night Feeder (2:00 am) with Maureen Gallagher & Mbuno, Feb. 1987’
    Estimate £30,000–40,000
    Peter Beard’s fascination with photo documentary and his passion for conservation in Africa is evident throughout his unique photo collages. Combining a range of photographs, diary clippings, quotes, found objects, drawings and more, his aim is to capture the nature of the African continent as it slowly but surely succumbs to inevitable industrialisation.

    “The wilderness is gone and with it much more than we can appreciate or predict. We’ll suffer for it.” – Peter Beard

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Peter Beard, ‘Madison Square Garden, 1972’
    Estimate £20,000–30,000
    This powerful shot by Peter Beard of Mick Jagger is part of a historical moment in the music industry. The Rolling Stones had their first American tour in June and July of 1972 which as critic Dave Marsh puts it, “the tour was part of Rock and Roll legend, a benchmark of an era”. It was much-publicised and written about, with people like Truman Capote, Lee Radziwill and Beard travelling with the band and documenting the concerts.

    This particular photograph was taken in Madison Square Garden, New York City. The band ended the tour with four shows over three consecutive nights in said venue. The last concert on the 26th of July, Jagger’s birthday, had balloons and confetti falling from the ceiling and even a pie fight between the Rolling Stones and the audience.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Flip Schulke, Ali Underwater, 1961
    Estimate £6,000–8,000
    In 1961, Flip Schulke was assigned by Sports Illustrated to cover a story on a young boxer, Cassius Clay. When he pitched the idea of underwater boxing shots to the magazine, the editor did not approve of it. As a result, Schulke then turned to Life magazine who accepted the images, as they had previously worked with the photographer in another similar shoot. Both Clay, which later became Muhammed Ali, and the photographer, established a strong connection during the shoot resulting in these powerful images.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

  • Saul Leiter, Phone Call, 1957
    Estimate £8,000–12,000
    Saul Leiter was an early pioneer of colour photography, embracing the medium two decades before other photographers such as Stephen Shore or William Eggleston. His Kodachrome slides framed the busy streets of New York in an abstract and poetic manner. His photography is heavily influenced by painting, a discipline he also excelled at. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Letter was interested in the emphasis on surface, spatial ambiguity and visual layering.

    Photographs
    London | 17 May

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