Issue #187  1/4/2012
Christie's Multi-Owner Sale Realizes $4,811,625 With a 27% Buy-in Rate

By Stephen Perloff
Editor of The Photograph Collector and Photo Review

Christie's various owners sale followed on October 6. William Eggleston's dye transfer print, Sumner, Mississippi, 1970c ($30,000-$50,000) sold to the phones for well over high estimate at $104,500, which tied it for seventh place on the top ten list. Another phone bidder, 1728, paid the toll for Margaret Bourke-White's George Washington Bridge, Hudson River, New York, 1930, also over high estimate at $86,500.

Gallerist Bruce Silverstein claimed Frantisek Drtikol's modernist nude Svítání, at $104,500, which tied for seventh place. Number 1728 was back for Vik Muniz's portfolio of 10 silver prints, The Best of Life, at $170,500 (tied for second). These two were also sold over the high estimates.

Next came a run of 10 Robert Frank prints. Five passed, two sold within the estimates and three below. Paris, 1949/1970c ($30,000-$50,000) brought $60,000 from a phone. London, 1951/late 1970s ($90,000-$120,000) brought $116,500 from 1728 (sixth place). Berlin's Camera Work Gallery won Charleston, SC, 1956/1970c ($100,000-$150,000) at $98,500. And yet another phone took Fourth of July--Jay, 1956/1970c for the same amount on the same estimate. Those two tied for ninth place on the day.

A silver print of Irving Penn's Cuzco Children ($100,000-$150,000) passed at $65,000. Someone mentioned a possible condition problem, but I didn't preview this print.

Jeffrey Fraenkel rented Lee Friedlander's motel room, Galax, VA, for $52,500. Mike and Doug Starn's striking, large diptych of trees, Blot Out the Sun 3, went to a phone bidder at $50,000.

A mural-sized print of Ansel Adams's Aspens, Northern New Mexico, earned $158,500, good for a fourth place tie, but that was below the low estimate. James Alinder, back on his cell phone, won Adams's Surf Sequence, A-E, 1940/1960s at $170,500, tied for second place. Adams's Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word in Memory of Russell Varian was also below estimate at $50,000.

The Adams five-print sequence originally produced for a screen, Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, 1951, did reach its low estimate and emerged as the top lot of the sale at $242,500. And the last Adams lot of note, Portfolio II, sold within estimate at $50,000. Both of those went to the phones.

An order bidder claimed an Alfred Stieglitz Equivalent, 1929, that came from the collection of Dorothy Norman at $50,000. A phone bidder employed Irving Penn's Lorry Washers, London, at $80,500, just over high estimate. Bruce Silverstein reclined with Diane Arbus's A family one evening at a nudist camp, Pa, well under the low estimate at $74,500.

Two Peter Beard's did well. Bull Eland Passing Elephants Digging Water, Near Kathamula Tsavo, North, charged to $158,500 (tied for fourth place) and Starvo Park, die-off, Hog Ranch, reached $86,500, both over high estimate.

(Copyright ©2011 by The Photograph Collector.)

My thanks to Steve Perloff and The Photograph Collector Newsletter for giving me permission to use this information. The Photograph Collector, which is a wonderful newsletter that I can heartily recommend, is published monthly and is available by subscription for $149.95. You can phone 1-215-891-0214 and charge your subscription or send a check or money order to: The Photograph Collector, 340 East Maple Ave., Suite 200, Langhorne, PA 19047. Or to order The Photograph Collector Newsletter online, go to: http://www.photoreview.org.