Auctions | March 30, 2016

Powerful Portraits and Vivid Vernacular Featured In Swann Galleries’ April Auction

Lot 37-Alfred Stieglitz copy.jpgNew York— On Tuesday, April 19, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Images & Objects: Photographs & Photobooks, featuring dynamic portraits alongside contemporary and vernacular photographs.

Among the highlights is Ormond Gigli's marvelous image, Girls in the Windows, New York City, a 1960 chromogenic print (printed later), which captures the urban fantasy of fashion imagery. Gigli's studio was across the street from a row of brownstones slated for demolition. Apparently, the supervisor agreed to the shoot provided his wife was featured in the picture. As a result, models, socialites, Gigli's wife and the supervisor's wife are arranged in a colorful display. Girls in the Windows, New York City is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.  

The sale is punctuated by many dynamic portraits of notable figures, from Billie Holiday to Henri Matisse. Portraits of writers include André Kertész’s Colette, Paris, silver print, 1930 (printed circa 1970) ($3,000 to $4,500); as well as Doris Ulmann’s 1920s platinum print of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay ($2,500 to $3,500). Portraits of actors include like Herb Ritts’s 1988 silver print Jack Nicholson II, London ($6,000 to $9,000), and Philippe Halsman’s Halsman/Marilyn 1952-59 (printed 1981), a portfolio with ten silver prints of Marilyn Monroe ($6,000 to $9,000). Richard Avedon’s 1966 silver print Robert Frank, photographer, Mabou Mines, Nova Scotia, shows the notoriously quiet Swiss-born photographer enjoying a playful moment with a dog ($7,000 to $10,000). 

Frank’s Welsh Miners, silver print, 1951-53 (printed circa 1970) is also featured in the sale. The photo is from a series of almost 100 photographs of London bankers and Welsh miners the photographer took between 1951 and 1953, before his landmark book The Americans. Welsh Miners is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.

Other auction highlights include Alfred Stieglitz's 1897 photogravure Wet Day on the Boulevard, Paris, a painterly photograph where Stieglitz plays with the reflective nature of the rain-damp pavement ($20,000 to $30,000). Also featured is Man Ray's rare 1920 real-photo postcard Marcel Duchamp's "A Regarder d'Un Oeil, De Prés Pendant Presque Une Heure" ($15,000 to $20,000).

Photobooks in the sale includes a first edition of William Mortensen’s Selected Quatrains from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with Camera Projections, 1925. This rare hand-bound volume is signed by Mortensen and comes from the collection of his first wife; it is estimated at $5,000 to $7,500. Also included is John Gossage’s rare self-published LAMF (Like A Motherfucker ­- 3 Days In Berlin, 1987), with twenty-seven silver prints ($4,000 to $6,000).

Among the contemporary photographs in the sale, William Eggleston’s Untitled (Wonder Bread products on a shelf), dye-transfer print, 1974, highlights the amazing in the everyday ($10,000 to $15,000). Sally Mann’s ominous Untitled (Deep South #7: Dark Glow), 1988 (printed 1999), is an oversized silver print that has been toned with tea and printed by Mann from the original wet collodion negative ($8,000 to $12,000).

Rounding out the sale are vernacular photographs and albums spanning a wide array of subjects. A group of fifty-seven Depression-era photographs of New York from the archive of Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen depicts a point of view that is both modernist and historical ($2,500 to $3,500). Also featured is a group of twenty cyanotypes shot between 1899 and 1902 documenting the construction of a large trestle bridge in the south of France ($5,000 to $7,500).

The auction will be held Tuesday, April 19, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Thursday, April 14 though Saturday, April 16 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, April 18 from noon to 5 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated auction catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Swann Vice President and Director of Photographs & Photobooks Daile Kaplan at 212-254-4710, extension 18 or

Image: Lot 37: Alfred Stieglitz, Wet Day on the Boulevard, Paris, photogravure, 1897. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.