Edgar Allan Poe Tintype at Swann Galleries' Winter Photographs Sale
New York— On Thursday, February 14, Swann Galleries will offer Icons & Images: Photographs & Photobooks, with spectacular examples of the medium representing a range of styles and technological advances, from mid-nineteenth century portraiture to contemporary photocollages.
The sale is led by a selection of 50 plates from Eadweard Muybridge’s groundbreaking series, Animal Locomotion, 1887. This collection of motion studies largely features the human form, as well as a menagerie of exotic animals. This precursor to film is estimated to sell between $30,000 and $45,000.
Among early photographs is a sixth-plate tintype of Edgar Allan Poe, after the “Traylor” daguerreotype, taken in 1849 just three weeks before the author’s death. The original daguerreotype was damaged and then lost; this rare tintype is expected to fetch between $10,000 and $15,000. Further highlights include an albumen print of General George A. Custer, taken in 1872 by J.A. Scholten ($4,000 to $6,000); a portrait of Walt Whitman in Brooklyn, attributed to painter Thomas Eakins in 1887, valued at $4,000 to $6,000; and a selection of stunning landscapes by Carleton E. Watkins and silver print microphotographs of snowflakes by Wilson A. Bentley.
Also featured is a run of rare orotones by Edward S. Curtis, many in their original frames, including The Rush Gatherer, 1910, and Chief of the Desert, Navajo, 1904 ($15,000 to $25,000 and $12,000 to $18,000, respectively). Further selections include portfolio 20 of The North American Indian, 1928, with 35 large-format photogravures of indigenous Alaskans, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000, and the rare portrait of Geronimo, Apache, valued at $5,000 to $7,500.
The sale features a run of lots relating to the space program, the highlight of which is a remarkable gathering of 22 large prints selected from NASA's Archives for a 1985 exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum titled Sightseeing: A Space Panorama. Astronauts approved the images, which had never before been published by NASA ($15,000 to $25,000). Also available is an archive of approximately 280 photographs depicting Apollo missions, estimated at $7,000 to $10,000. Further lots in this section include a series of ten photocollages of the moon, and a collection of 67 photographs documenting the moon landing as seen on national television ($5,000 to $7,500 and $4,000 to $6,000, respectively).
There is a rich selection of works by twentieth-century American photographers, including Alfred Stieglitz’s intimate portrait of his lover and protégée Dorothy Norman, which was previously in Norman’s personal collection. This image, which was not reproduced in Sarah Greenough’s Alfred Stieglitz, The Key Set, may be unique; it is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. Ansel Adams is well represented in the sale with more than a dozen works, including the breathtaking Clearing Winter Storm, taken in 1944 and printed in the 1970s, expected to sell between $25,000 and $35,000. His 1979 photobook Yosemite and the Range of Light, one of 250 signed copies of the deluxe edition, is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Important works by Robert Frank include Hearse, London, 1951 silver print, printed 1973, and Trolley - New Orleans, silver print ($20,000 to $25,000 and $10,000 to $15,000, respectively). Further highlights include images by Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Roy DeCarava, Lewis W. Hine and Dorothea Lange.
A set of 32 silver prints by Leni Riefenstahl relating to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, with action shots and posed portraits of athletes including Jesse Owens, carries an estimate of $25,000 to $35,000.
Contemporary works include a run of images by Nan Goldin from the 1990s, led by Cody in the Dressing Room at the Boy Bar, NYC, 1991, estimated at $7,000 to $10,000, as well as Larry Fink’s complete April, 1999 Portfolio with 20 photographs selected from Fink’s humanist photo essays ($5,000 to $7,500). Works by Steve McCurry and Patrick Demarchelier will also be available.
The section of photobooks includes a unique maquette for Lucien Clergue’s unpublished book, Picasso en Provence, with 150 candid silver prints of Pablo Picasso taken by Clergue in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000. Also available is Larry Clark’s complete Tulsa Portfolio, with ten silver prints (each estimated at $15,000 to $25,000). Scottish photographer John Thomson’s magnum opus, Illustrations of China and its People, Volumes I and II, London, 1873, is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000. Also available are works by and about Richard Avedon from a private collection, including the 1969 silver print Willem de Kooning, Painter, Springs, Long Island, printed circa 1975, estimated at $7,000 to $10,000, and a selection of rare photobooks, many of which are signed.
The auction will be held Thursday, February 14, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, February 13 from noon to 5 p.m.; and Thursday, February 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Also available by appointment.
An illustrated auction catalogue will be available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.
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 email@example.com.
Image: Lot 6 Sixth-plate tintype of Edgar Allan Poe, after daguerreotype by William A. Pratt, 1849-late '50s. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000.