Issue #34  10/17/2001
Christie's LA Still to Come On 11/13: Doenitz Influence Seems to Be Making Itself Felt

By Alex Novak

As many of you know, I had been a strong proponent of Amanda Doenitz's eclectic auction work at the old Butterfield's before eBay messed them up. After Butterfield's let her go when it eliminated a photography department, and Christie's wisely picked up her option to head up the photo department in LA (even though she is based in San Francisco), I wondered if she would have the freedom to build an auction and catalogue like she used to at B&B.

We will soon see. Her first auction is to be held November 13 in Beverly Hills, CA. While I have not received a catalogue yet (I just got as we were sending this newsletter out), the press release Christie's sent me details what look like classic Doenitz material, although I suspect it will be a year or two before we see the full results of her efforts as she rebuilds contacts and confidences.

The top lot is by Helmut Newton, currently hot once again with a show at the ICP. Newton's Sie Kommen (Dressed and Naked) sports an estimate of $80,000-$100,000. As the PR release notes, it is "Newton's masterwork." From an edition of only three, the giant women will be a hit, I am sure.

Lots of other fashion images, an area pioneered by Doenitz, including Avedon's Dovima with Elephants (estimate $40,000-$60,000) and more Newton (at more reasonable prices). Also some interesting contemporary work: something else that Amanda has a very good eye for, including the cover lot Red Marilyn, a self portrait by Yasumasa Morimura (estimate $10,000-$15,000). And some very intriguing 19th century lots. Oh, and a nice Edward Weston Nude on the Sand, Oceano, 1936 (estimate $40,000-$60,000). This is vintage Doenitz: working with the best of the material that other auction houses often neglect.

Doenitz always put together a catalogue with interesting juxtapositions rather than by alphabetical order as most auctions do. We will have to see how much Christie's will let her get away with here. But the last few B&B catalogues were always fascinating to look at. (Note: it looks like Amanda won out on this one.)

You can reach Christie's LA and Doenitz or Yuka Yamaji at 310-385-2676.

Now if only Christie's took a page out of Doenitz's book to try to rejuvenate what was Christie's East.