Issue #187  1/4/2012
Be-hold Two-Part Auction Set For Jan. 31st, as Craig Collection and Multi-Owner Sales Provide Enticing Collector Opportunities

Larry Gottheim will hold his 57th Be-hold auction on January 31st. The catalog/internet auction will be broken into two sessions.

The first session at 11 am (EST) will offer the John Craig collection of rare daguerreotype cases and related material. Craig, who died last year, was known for his essential "Daguerreian Registry," a descriptive listing of all known American daguerreotypists that John started by visiting libraries and newspaper archives across the U.S. at a time when creating a computer database was still something new. As a collector and dealer, he provided many images to major private and institutional collections. This collection, formed in the 1970s, has been kept intact.

Section 1 of the auction presents a collection of unusual cases for daguerreotypes, including early leather over wood ones, cases with painted scenes and shell and painted decorations, mother of pearl and other designs. These are interesting not only as a context for the daguerreotypes they contained, but also as usually ignored examples of artistry and craftsmanship of the period. Associated with the cases are daguerreotypes by Henry Fitz, Brady, Richard Beard, Robert Vance, M.P. Simons, Augustus Washington, North and others. There are also early viewers and the very rare Stiles daguerreotype viewer.

The second session at 2 p.m. will offer a wide selection of photographs. To complement the daguerreian offerings of Part I, there are a number of salted paper prints from the daguerreian era, including portraits of Presidents Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan, as well as Buchanan's Secretary of State Lewis Cass. There are 13 lots of important Civil War albumen prints, most by A. J. Russell. Two stunning albumen prints of Yosemite scenes by Carleton Watkins are followed by six large prints by W. H. Jackson of Western and Mexican subjects.

The auction contains many notable portraits. There are strong prints of some of August Sander's most loved images, printed by Gunther Sander in the 1970's. Four lovely pictorialist portraits are by Caroline Haskens Gurrey, a Hawaian photographer whose works are extremely rare outside a few institutional collections. There is a vintage portrait of the actress Catherine Cornell from ca. 1924 by Edward Steichen, with his "80 West 40th St" stamp and Condé Nast stamp. It will be interesting to see how this lot fares, because it has a starting bid of only $3,000. A less attractive portrait of Cornell, unsigned and with the same stamp, sold at Christie's London in 2007 for 42,500 pounds sterling. This could be a real sleeper.

There are a number of photographs by the German photographer Else Thalemann. Six photographs by Elliott Erwitt printed 1970 or earlier which have his "Archival Print" stamp are also on offer. There are a number of portraits of artists and writers, ca. 1980, including Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, Arthur Miller and Edward Albee by photographers such as Erwitt, Horst, Inge Morath and Ernst Haas. A rare 1978 portfolio contains 13 photographs of Alberto Giacometti by Herbert Matter, and there are individual Giacometti photographs and proof sheets by Matter purchased from Mercedes Matter before her death. A print of Julius Shulman's major work, "Case Study No. 22" is one of the very few signed both by Shulman and the architect Pierre Koenig, whose house is depicted in the photograph.

Color work is represented by several notable color carbro prints by Harry Warnecke, including two of the 1939 World's Fair, and two dye transfer prints and a Chromogenic print by Joel Sternfeld.

All the photographs will be exhibited at the Salmagundi Art Club, 47 5th Avenue, NYC from January 25th up until the auction on January 31st. See http://www.be-hold.com for times and other information. See the site for catalog subscriptions. The online catalogue itself will go up later in the month. The fully illustrated printed catalog can be ordered for $20 ($25 outside N. America) from Larry Gottheim at behold@be-hold.com , and at 1-914-423-5806.