Auctions | April 7, 2022

Photographs at Swann, Featuring Edward S. Curtis & Ansel Adams

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Edward S. Curtis, Portfolio I, from The North American Indian, complete with 39 photogravures,
1907. Estimate $60,000-90,000

New York — Swann Auction Galleries’ sale of Fine Photographs on Thursday, April 14, will feature a selection of classical twentieth-century prints alongside contemporary works.

Headlining the sale is Edward S. Curtis’s seminal Portfolio I, 1907 — the iconic first portfolio in Curtis’s monumental project, The North American Indian ($60,000-90,000). From an unfulfilled edition of 500, the portfolio comes to auction complete with 39 photogravures and features many of Curtis’s most important and notable images, including his portrait of Geronimo, Cañon de Chelly, A Chief of the Desert – Navaho, Son of the Desert—Navaho, The Vanishing Race, and many more. Also by Curtis is Volume I, 1907, of the North American Indian ($15,000-25,000).
An exceptional offering of silver prints by Ansel Adams includes the photographer’s most recognizable images: Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1926, printed 1973-77 ($20,000-30,000); Frozen Lake and Cliffs, Sierra Nevada, Sequoia National Park, California, 1927, printed 1973-77 ($10,000-15,000); El Capitan, Winter, Sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California, 1968, printed 1973-77 ($7,000-10,000). Complimenting Ansel Adams’ classic, stark black-and-white imagery of America’s national parks is the contemporary work Groundspeed (Harrogate Flower) #9 by Australian artist Rosemary Laing ($6,000-9,000). The 2001 chromogenic print is emblematic of Laing’s cinematic style and her focus on the occupation and ownership of land. Additional landscape works include those by Harry Callahan, Edward Weston, and Richard Misrach, among others.

In addition to photographs by Barbara Morgan, Bruce Davidson, Lawrence Schiller, and Ruth Bernhard, two stand-out images by Horst P. Horst are on offer: Hands, Hands, platinum-palladium print, 1941, printed 1980s ($18,000-22,000), and Carmen Face Massage, New York, platinum-palladium print, 1946, printed 1980s ($12,000-18,000).

Contemporary photography includes LaToya Ruby Frazier’s Grandma Ruby and Me in Her Livingroom, archival inkjet print, 2007, printed 2018 ($4,000-6,000); an edition of a 1975 self-portrait by Cindy Sherman that was originally created for the Archives of American Art ($2,500-3,500); and Yasumasa Morimura’s Daughter of Art History (Little Princess A), chromogenic print, 1990, printed 2003 ($1,000-1,500); as well as works by David Graham, Sally Mann, and Annie Leibovitz.

Concluding the sale is a selection of vernacular albums and archives, including important early albums from China and India, as well as travelogues, industrial archives, theatrical cabinet cards, photo-pictorial playing cards, and more. Also of note are selections of important photojournalism with images from the Vietnam War, OJ Simpson’s infamous trial, and portraits of great American labor leaders and writers.

Exhibition hours are 12 p.m to 5 p.m from April 11 through April 13. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and the Swann Galleries App.
Additional highlights can be found here.