Issue #140  2/20/2008
Be-hold Auction's Part I Held This Thursday, Feb. 21st; Part II Sells Mar. 13th On eBay Live

Larry Gottheim's 51st Be-hold catalog/internet auction is in two parts. Part 1, on Thursday February 21st, offers a rich selection of daguerreotypes and other early cased images, as well as images on glass. Part 2 will follow on March 13th with a major offering of photographs on paper.

The daguerreotypes in Part 1 include a wonderful framed 1/6th-plate view of a bookstore, full of interesting details, with people posed and prints in the windows. This building still stands in York, PA. Other outdoor daguerreotypes are an impressive side view of the locomotive "Vermont" stopped in a small town, a half-plate of a house with an addition that appears to be an inn, and another of a small town store. Especially noteworthy is a quarter-plate portrait of a British man o' war in harbor, with many sailors on deck and up on the masts, a gauzy blue-tinted Union Jack waving from the stern. Outdoor views in the slightly later ambrotype format include a look down at two well dressed equestriennes on their mounts, a pair of half-plates of a Kinderhook, NY homestead, and one of a farm wagon with livestock.

Revealing occupational portraits include an expert wallpaper artist, posed with the tools of his trade and a roll of his decorated paper. An enigmatic figure sports a hat with "WATCHMAN" on the band. There is a view of fruit peddlers in the poor part of town, a scarce subject in the daguerreian era that mostly catered to wealthy clients. A colorful "relievo" ambrotype shows a South or Central American Indian nanny with her two charges. An elaborately costumed man holding a mask, first thought to be an actor, is a Knight Templar. A half-plate tintype is a portrait of a salty shipwright with his gear.

The mainstay of daguerreian art is portraiture. Those offered include a moody portrait of a poetic woman who is pregnant, a handsome charming "bad boy," and others ranging from children (a very charming girl on her rocking horse, and another girl with her large dog) up to the aged. There is a rich and tender portrait by Whipple of a child with the mother just showing inside the edge of the mat. There are somber revealing and moving images of mothers with their deceased children. There is a significant group of portraits by the great studios of Langenheim and Root of the Tatham family, important Philadelphia religious, commercial and civic leaders. There's an early American quarter-plate portrait, 1843c, and one by Beard from the same period. There is a fine hand-colored French erotic stereo daguerreotype, and in contrast, a portrait of a French country priest.

Images on glass include a series of glass stereo views by Platt Babbitt dealing with his stereo operation at Niagara Falls, as well as an important glass view by him of Colonel Duryea's Regiment at Fort Schuyler. A rare important vintage positive on glass is a Civil War scene, showing the 16th Pennsylvania officers at a camp, with a black boy crouched at the side of a tree.

Material in Part I may be seen and bids can be placed directly at http://www.be-hold.com, or via the eBay Live program.

For the past few years Be-hold has been increasing its presentation of larger-format images on paper. Part II offers a rich array of material with depth in many major areas.

19th century material includes an important print of Lincoln speaking at his 2nd inauguration. There is a lovely framed mammoth albumen print of a Hopi Pueblo by Hillers, and three rare mammoth plates by Watkins of the steam ferry Solano at Port Costa. Two unique 1857 salt prints by Mayer and Pierson show Bruxelles noblemen dressed for a costume ball.

Early 20th-century material includes vintage photographs by Paul Burty Haviland, Karl Struss (platinum print on tissue nudes) and Arnold Genthe. There are good prints of less common subjects--although not the most expensive ones--by Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. A rare offering of WWI reconnaissance photographs connected with Steichen is followed by a large print of one of them credited to Steichen. One of the most significant lots is a wonderful vintage portrait by Mike Disfarmer of a WWII sweetheart saluting, wearing her man's military decorations.

There is a good selection of vintage and some later F.S.A. prints, including images by Dorothea Lange, Jack Delano and Arthur Rothstein. Fashion photography is represented by vintage prints by Dr. Agha, Gordon Coster and Horst.

There are five signed photographs by Andre Kertesz and one by Roman Vishniac. Early and later printed Soviet-era photographs include images by Rodchenko, Khaldey and Baltermants. There are three prints by the rarely offered Mexican photographer Antonio Reynoso. Other prints in the sale include photographs by Barbara Morgan, Imogen Cunningham, Ralph Meatyard, Edmund Teske and George Tice. There are also scarce early photographs by Richard Misrach from his first exhibition series.

A section of the auction is devoted to color work, from an experimental Ektachrome transparency by Edward Weston to a choice selection that includes four color prints by Harry Callahan, two probably unique large format color prints by Halsman, and other color prints by Joel Meyerowitz, John Pfahl, Franco Fontana, Deborah Turberville and Mitch Epstein. The auction concludes with a copy of Helmut Newton's monumental book "SUMO."

There will be a preview of the Part II section of the auction in Manhattan on March 6-8th, with the auction via eBay Live on March 13th. The material may also be viewed on the premises in Yonkers, NY by appointment. Further information about the auction and about ordering the catalog can be found on the web site http://www.be-hold.com . Bids may be placed directly, or via the eBay Live program. Contact Larry Gottheim at behold@be-hold.com , or by phone at 1-914.423.5806.