Issue #203  5/13/2014
Be-Hold Internet Auction Features Selection of Major 19th and 20th-century Portraits on May 29th
Image from Rodchenko "Museum Series" No. 2
Image from Rodchenko "Museum Series" No. 2

Be-hold will hold an Internet auction of photographs on May 29th, starting at 1:00 pm (EST). It includes an exciting selection of portraits ranging from early American salt prints to recent brilliant portraits of blues singers.

A featured lot is an example in perfect condition of the Rodchenko "Museum Series" No. 2, consisting of 28 of Rodchenko's major portraits, assembled with the assistance of Varvara Rodchenko. Examples of this portfolio have sold at auction for up to $60,000. It includes important subjects from the great flowering of the arts in the early Soviet period from around 1924 and exhibits Rodchenko's mastery of this genre.

There are framed examples of hand-colored Talbotypes by Langenheim and James W. Williams, and other calotypes, ivorytypes, salt prints and early albumen portraits, mostly American. This is an interesting survey of American paper-based photography in the era dominated by daguerreotypes.

There is a beautiful daguerreotype by Southworth and Hawes, and a very light salt print of a previously unrecorded variant of the firm's famous portraits of Lola Montez, significant despite its condition.

Most of these early works are portraits, but there is also a salt print of the artist's excursion train at Berkeley Springs, VA, 1858, with the many artists posed on the locomotive, and a salt print of the mission at Capistrano.

A salt print by Jean-Baptiste Frénet, along with its collodion-paper negative, is now shown to be a self-portrait. Two Hill and Adamson portraits are presented with low reserves because they are light. An 1875 genre photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron from her illustrations to Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" is related to her portraits.

Phillip Halsman, Salvador Dali
Phillip Halsman, Salvador Dali

There are portraits in a variety of styles and periods by Man Ray, Rémy Duval, George Platt Lynes, Phillip Halsman, Weegee, Denise Colomb, Berenice Abbott, Lee Friedlander, and others. Other photographers represented include Baldus, Atget, Ilse Bing and Brassai.

A gruesome but fascinating lot shows a framed group of texts and photographs, 1920's, dealing with a young refugee woman who was burnt by acid by a rejected lover. The photographs show her as she underwent pioneering reconstructive and plastic surgery. Another series of press photographs of 1930's murder trials look like movie stills, enhanced by cropping and other marks.

A rare offering of vintage French fashion photographs includes works by François Kollar, Willy Maywald, and exciting behind-the-scenes images by William Klein. There is a group of other William Klein photographs that includes a range of his work from Rome, Moscow, Japan and New York.

There is an archive of materials pertaining to Peary's 1909 North Pole expedition. This includes photographs, letters, telegrams, and objects, such as a small Eskimo carving, a walrus tusk faintly autographed by Peary and other material. One lot is not photographic, but relates to early photography because it is a masterpiece of the use of thermoplastic, the material used for making later cases for ambrotypes and tintypes, and used for daguerreotypes. It is a liquor cabinet with great thermoplastic panels similar to what is found on those cases. It came from a major collection of cases.

The auction material and procedures for registering and bidding can be found at the website: http://www.be-hold.com. Contact Larry Gottheim at behold@be-hold.com, or by phone at 1-914-423-5806 for information. An informative illustrated catalog can be ordered for $25 ($30 outside N. America.)