Auctions | October 5, 2020

Fine Photographs Auction at Swann October 22

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Platinum Portfolio, complete with 10 platinum prints, 1927–74, printed 1981. From the Estate of Evelyne Z. Daitz. Estimate: $25,000-35,000

New York — Fine Photographs will come to auction Thursday, October 22 at Swann Galleries. The sale brings to market excellent photographs from the collection of Evelyne Daitz, noteworthy portfolios, and a strong selection of vernacular photography.

An offering of the Estate of Evelyne Daitz, a pioneering gallerist who worked with Lee Witkin, forms a cornerstone of the auction, with Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s Platinum Portfolio, 1981, complete with 10 platinum prints ($25,000-35,000); the complete 1923–48 Edward Weston portfolio with nine silver prints and one dye-transfer print printed by Cole Weston ($15,000-25,000); and The First Apeiron Portfolio, 1951–72, printed 1973, complete with 18 silver prints with works by Paul Caponigro, Ralph Gibson, Emmet Gowin, Danny Lyon, Duane Michals, George Tice, Jerry Uelsmann, Minor White, and many more. Prints include Margaret Bourke-White’s warm-toned silver print 24 Hour Worker, U.S.S.R., 1930–32 ($6,000-9,000), Barbara Kasten’s 1980 Polaroid Construct III-A ($4,000-6,000), and Ralph Steiner’s American Rural Baroque, silver print, 1930, printed 1970s ($2,000-3,000).

Yousuf Karsh’s rare portfolio Karsh—Fifteen Portraits, complete with stunning oversized silver prints of prominent figures, including his images of Ernest Hemingway and Winston Churchill, leads the sale at $40,000 to $60,000. Highlights for both the new collector and the seasoned aficionado include the deluxe edition of Álvarez Bravo’s Fotografías, 1945, signed twice and inscribed by Álvarez Bravo, with three vintage photographs ($25,000-35,000); and Man Ray’s 1931 Électricité portfolio with 10 photogravures after his rayographs ($20,000-30,000).

Photographs of note feature Paul Outerbridge, Jr.’s tricolor carbo print Sandwiches on Tray, circa 1938 ($15,000-25,000); Josef Koudelka’s silver prints Czechoslovakia, 1968, printed 1990s ($12,000-18,000), and Portugal, 1976, printed 1990s ($15,000-25,000); and Richard Misrach’s Golden Gate Bridge, 2.24.00, 6:50 A.M., oversize chromogenic print, 2000 ($18,000-22,000); as well as two elegant Alma Lavenson silver prints: Shadowed Wall, Biltmore Hotel, Santa Barbara, 1929 ($15,000-25,000), and Rigging, 1932 ($10,000-15,000).

Documentary photographs, especially many of those made during the Great Depression, remain deeply relevant and are among the most important and potent works produced by American practitioners. The sale will feature: a strong array of FSA photography, including a custom case with 11 of Walker Evans’s iconic 1930s ferrotyped silver prints documenting the effects of the Great Depression throughout the United States ($12,000-18,000); a 1936-40 portfolio of Arthur Rothstein’s photographs complete with 10 silver prints, printed circa 1981 ($4,000-6,000); and a binder with 56 vintage prints and 23 press prints, 1937–42, printed 1930s–70s ($10,000-15,000); images by Dorothea Lange and Civil Rights photography, with iconic images by Leonard Freed.

The Big Apple has inspired photographers for generations. Practitioners such as Berenice Abbott have helped form the way we see this American metropolis with images like Pennsylvania Station Interior, New York City, oversize silver print, 1936, printed 1980 ($4,000-6,000), Fifth Avenue Houses, Nos. 4, 6, 8, silver print, 1936, printed 1974 ($4,000-6,000), and Union Square West, Nos. 31–41, silver print, 1938 ($4,000-6,000); while Helen Levitt and Weegee documented the lives within it with Levitt’s N.Y. (children on stoop), silver print, circa 1940 ($2,000-3,000), and N.Y. (children with a broken mirror), silver print, circa 1945, printed 1970s ($4,000-6,000), as well as Weegee’s The Flower Peddler, Near the Old Metropolitan Opera House, silver print, 1941, printed 1980s ($2,000-3,000), and “Whistler’s Mother,” Arts Ball, Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, silver print, circa 1948 ($2,000-3,000).

The Parisian je ne sais quoi is alive with light, love, and humor in a series of photographs from this iconic city. Nighttime photography, kissing couples, and more by Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, and others form the heart of this section. Highlights include a complete portfolio with 15 of Doisneau’s iconic humanist photographs with images from 1945–72 and printed in 1979 ($15,000-25,000); and Ronis’s Les Amoureux de la Bastille, silver print, 1957, printed 2001 ($3,000-4,500).
A dynamic and large section of vernacular photography includes portraits of artists and other cultural figures, train travel and track construction, magnificent travel albums and imagery from China and Africa, industrial documentary albums, memorable food albums, and rock ‘n roll. The sale will also feature a strong selection of prize-winning photojournalism, a series of composites describing the lunar phases and surfaces of the Moon by Adolf Voigt and Hans Giebler ($2,500-3,500), and postcards from the 1913 Armory Show ($6,000-9,000).

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available from October 19 through October 21, to be scheduled directly with the specialist in advance and conforming to strict safety guidelines. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed with the specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.
Additional highlights can be found here.