I received lots of nice email from the last time I sent this newsletter out, but I got a few brickbats back as well. Swann photo expert Daile Kaplan pointed out that my "expectation" that they did not hit the $1 million hammer price mark for their last auction was incorrect and that their buy-in rate was not "high". I still have not received the info that I requested back including the number of lots that sold afterwards (reportedly in the 20s) that might impact these figures, but I'm glad that the house did well, even if some of the sales might have come later, including an important group of Civil War images that sold later for $17,000 hammer.
She also took exception with my "characterizing Swann's material as 'quirky'". As I pointed out to her in my return email, that I only used this term in the most positive fashion and only noted it in the context of the additional fine job that she and Swann have been doing with some larger and more important pieces. It's the "quirkiness" that most of us have come to love about Swann. It ISN'T just the same old, same old. It offers interesting vintage work instead of the same parade of late printed pieces. Daile is one of my favorite people and if I gave anyone out there the wrong impression of this house, I certainly apologize.
Novak has over 47 years experience in the photography-collecting arena. He is a long-time member and formally board member of the Daguerreian Society, and, when it was still functioning, he was a member of the American Photographic Historical Society (APHS). He organized the 2016 19th-century Photography Show and Conference for the Daguerreian Society. He is also a long-time member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers, or AIPAD. Novak has been a member of the board of the nonprofit Photo Review, which publishes both the Photo Review and the Photograph Collector, and is currently on the Photo Review's advisory board. He was a founding member of the Getty Museum Photography Council. He is author of French 19th-Century Master Photographers: Life into Art.
Novak has had photography articles and columns published in several newspapers, the American Photographic Historical Society newsletter, the Photograph Collector and the Daguerreian Society newsletter. He writes and publishes the E-Photo Newsletter, the largest circulation newsletter in the field. Novak is also president and owner of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, a private photography dealer, which sells by appointment and has sold at exhibit shows, such as AIPAD New York and Miami, Art Chicago, Classic Photography LA, Photo LA, Paris Photo, The 19th-century Photography Show, Art Miami, etc.