Auctions | December 2, 2011

Photobooks & Photographs at Swann Galleries

New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Important Photobooks & Photographs on Tuesday, December 13 features beautiful and poignant images and books ranging from the earliest photographs to works by artists living and working today.

The sale opens with a fine assortment of cased images and prints from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which includes Andrew J. Russell’s magnificent United States Military Rail Road Photographic Album, with 107 albumen prints depicting the railroads, battlefields and landscapes of the Civil War, 1863-64 (estimate: $50,000 to $75,000); a group of 10 plates of birds from Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion, collotypes, 1887 ($5,000 to $7,500 for the set); and a first edition of Edwin Hale Lincoln’s lavishly illustrated Wild Flowers of New England Photographed from Nature, a complete set with 400 platinum prints, and one of about 50 copies of the self-published work, 1910-14 ($40,000 to $60,000).

Scarce early examples of photographic literature include Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Notes, Volumes III-V, the official organ of the Camera Club of New York, 1899-1900 ($6,000 to $9,000); individual copies of Stieglitz’s Camera Work, including the Steichen Supplement, 1906 ($7,000 to $10,000); and a deluxe edition of Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Fotografias, signed by the artist, and with two (of three) silver prints, Mexico, 1945 ($18,000 to $22,000).

Among the compelling celebrity portraits are Berenice Abbott’s Portrait of James Joyce, silver print, circa 1926, printed 1950s ($12,000 to $18,000); Bravo’s André Breton, silver print, 1938, printed 1970s ($5,000 to $7,500); Edward Steichen’s Carl Sandburg posing with a cigar, silver print, circa 1936, printed 1950s ($3,000 to $4,500); Arnold Newman’s Pablo Picasso, Cannes, France, silver print, 1956, printed 1960s ($3,000 to $4,500); Bert Stern’s Marilyn Monroe (Crucifix), mural-size chromogenic print, 1962, printed 1992 ($15,000 to $25,000); and Dennis Hopper’s Irving Blum and Andy Warhol Filming, New York City, 1964, printed 1970s ($4,000 to $6,000).

An extraordinary item related to Warhol’s films is Jack Smith’s The Beautiful Book, with 19 erotic photographs of subjects including Warhol superstars Mario Montez and Francine Francine, one of a planned edition of 200, of which 60 were actually produced, 1959 ($30,000 to $45,000).

A section devoted to the work of legendary New York press photographer Weegee offers a self portrait of the photographer resting on a bed in the back of Police Headquarters, titled My studio, circa 1939 ($2,500 to $3,500); Human cannonball (woman being fired from a cannon), 1943 ($3,000 to $4,500); and a signed first edition of Naked City, 1945 ($500 to $750).

Other notable New York City views are Helen Levitt’s New York (Boys playing over doorway), circa 1942, printed circa 1980 ($6,000 to $9,000); Margaret Bourke-White’s Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, 1952, printed 1997 ($4,500 to $6,500); Walker Evans’s New York City Demolition, Upper Third Avenue, 1962 ($5,000 to $7,000); André Kertész’s Untitled (puddle, New York), 1967 ($4,000 to $6,000); Harry Callahan’s Untitled (World Trade Center), 1974 ($8,000 to $12,000); and Sheila Metzner’s New York, illustrated with 10 hand-coated platinum prints, one of 35 copies by Twenty-First Editions, numbered, signed and issued with a platinum print of The Brooklyn Bridge, 2001 ($12,000 to $18,000).

Other highly sought after books include deluxe 21st Editions works by Tom Baril, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Sally Mann, and others; the Aaron Siskind portfolio Viterbo Broom, with 18 abstract photographs and a handwritten title page with an inscription to a friend, 1967 ($25,000 to $35,000); Lee Friedlander’s Self Portrait, with an original photograph, signed and inscribed to Marvin Israel, 1970 ($5,000 to $7,500); Duane Michals’s Homage to Cavafy, with 10 silver prints, 1978 ($10,000 to $15,000); and a deluxe edition of Paul Graham’s A-1, The Great North Road, signed and with an original photograph, 1983 ($15,000 to $20,000).

Individual contemporary images of note include Peter Beard’s Fayel Tall / El Molo Bay, Lake Rudolf, mixed media silver print with applied blood and a feather, 1987, printed 1998 ($20,000 to $30,000); Herb Ritz’s Brigitte Nielson, Malibu, 1987 ($8,000 to $12,000); and Sally Mann’s Emmet, Jessie and Virginia, 1989 ($10,000 to $15,000).

The auction will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13.

The photographs and books will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, December 13, from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated catalogue with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25 Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at
For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Daile Kaplan at (212) 254-4710, extension 21, or via e-mail at

Live online bidding is also available via

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