Issue #78  10/1/2004
Be-hold's Regular Catalog/Internet Sale Ends Oct. 8th; Minature Case Sale Closes Following Day, Oct 9th

Be-hold's catalog/internet auction No. 44 will end on Friday, October 8th. Most bidding will take place on the website, as part of "On-line-auction week" (see the previous newsletter for details). As usual for this auction, it contains a mixture of historical and artistic material--from daguerreotypes to 20th-century prints.

The striking cover lot, for example, is a rare large (48" x 19") hand-colored lithograph portrait of Andrew Jackson, based on a lost daguerreotype, with photographic-looking features and stylized painting. The offerings of daguerreotypes include a pair of lovely portraits of Catherine Beck van Cortlandt, Mistress of the Van Cortlandt Manor House in New York State and a portrait (by Cook) of the son of the Reverend Paul Trepier of Charleston, who established the first place of worship in the City expressly for black slaves.

Some of the cabinet cards and stereo views, which feature Indians and Western history, are images of striking scenes and portraits by masters such as Timothy O'Sullivan, Grabill, and A. Frank Randall. A large 1877 albumen print by Muybridge of the Palace of the President in Panama is a wonderful formal architectural study with figures. The scarce and important four-volume 1873-74 "Illustrations of China and its People" by John Thompson is not only a significant representation of China to a western audience, based on Thompson's five-year stay, but contains 200 "collotype" illustrations--many of which have a beauty that transcends mere documentation.

The 20th-century offerings include many examples of documentary and press photographs by some of the modern masters. They are both historic and examples of photographic art. There are prints by Lewis Hine (a vintage print of "Hartford Schoolboys,"), Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. There are five self-portraits by Margaret Bourke-White and other prints by Robert Doisneau, Philippe Halsman, Gisele Freund and others. There is a unique 1942 print by Arthur Siegel of a 1942 war effort shipyard scene and a limited, possibly unique 1964 portfolio by Sol Libsohn, founder of the Photo League in the 1930's, dealing with a project in Newark, NJ to rehabilitate out-of-work youth.

There are also many photographs that are more purely aesthetic. A stereoscopic daguerreotype by T. R. Williams is a visual tour de force arrangement of exotic objects. Its title is "Enraged Cockatoo or a Chinese Ball in Danger." There is a small and varied selection of stereoviews of flowers from the great Sam Wagstaff collection (see Be-hold E-mail Newsletter No. 10). In addition, there are Western scenes by Jackson and Hileman (Glacier Park), and an interesting early Ansel Adams' Yosemite scene that was used to advertise horseback riding at the Yosemite lodge.

Typical of the surprising offerings that characterize the Be-hold sales are several uncut sheets of color postcards that--as objects--are far more interesting and "modern" than the postcards themselves.

Some wonderful groups of photographs cover early 20th-century popular dance (Irene Castle, Leonora Hughes) and cinema (Constance and Norma Talmadge). Aspects of later cinema are represented by an Eisenstaedt photograph of Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando on a set, and a 1961 photograph of the great Japanese director Kurasowa. Musical, artistic and literary subjects include Frida Kahlo, Jorge Luis Borges, Stravinsky, Giacometti and Marian Anderson.

In addition to the printed catalog ($20 for a sample issue, regular subscription $50 for three issues in North America and $70 elsewhere) that provides an enduring informative record, everything is presented on the http://www.be-hold.com/ web site. For those who want to bid on line, it is easy to register and to bid, as well as to sign up for the free Be-hold E-mail Newsletter dealing with issues of collecting photographs.

The sale continues with an on-line only sale of a generous collection of minature cases, with a few additions, including a beautiful unpublished mother-of-pearl and painting-under-glass example and some related objects, including a petite hair bracelet with a daguerreotype. That sale closes the on October 9th, the day after the regular sale. These sales are part of On-line Photography Week ( http://photographyweek.com/ ). See http://www.be-hold.com for catalog subscription and bidding registration. Or contact Larry Gottheim at 1-914-423-5806 or by email at behold@be-hold.com .