Photographs Auction at Christie’s London

. April 28, 2008

Photographs of mesmerizing beauty, visionary creativity and historical significance will be offered at Christie’s London on Thursday, 15 May 2008. Christie’s Photographs sale features a special section devoted to Post-War and Contemporary Japanese Photography, with an unprecedented selection of innovative works by 18 Japanese artists. This section showcases rare, vintage prints by luminaries Kikuji Kawada, Yutaka Takanashi and Daido Moriyama, as well as innovative works by contemporary Japanese photographers Rinko Kawauchi, Asako Narahashi and Mika Ninagawa, who are appearing at auction for the first time. Christie’s are proud to unveil a previously unseen collection of 23 Paris photographs by André Kertész, which provides a unique opportunity to acquire important works of extraordinary provenance, including the sale’s star lot Satiric Dancer, 1926 (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Thirteen avant-garde photographs from the Springefeld Collection, including works by Lázló Moholy-Nagy, Brett Weston and Florence Henri, form another key section.

With estimates ranging from £2,000 to £300,000, the 115-lot sale is expected to realise in excess of £1.5million. The powerful status of the supermodel is demonstrated in photographs of Kate Moss taken by Sante d’Orazio (estimate; £8,000-12,000) and Albert Watson (estimate: £8,000-10,000), and of Gisele Bündchen (estimate: £6,000-8,000) taken by Michel Comte and Gavin Bond (estimate: £3,000-5,000).

Definitive images made by master photographers include Moonrise, Hernandez, 1941/1960s by Ansel Adams (estimate: £20,000-30,000), Xmas Tree in a Living Room, 1963 by Diane Arbus (estimate: £50,000-70,000), Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, 1981 by Richard Avedon (estimate: £15,000-20,000) and a platinum print of Calla Lily, 1984 by Robert Mapplethorpe (estimate: £30,000-40,000).

Post-War and Contemporary Japanese Photography: A new era for photography in Japan emerged during the turbulent decades of the 1960s and 70s. Many young photographers reacted to the radical changes and growing tensions within Japanese society by refocusing their energies on the raw expression of immediate experience. Among the progressive photographic collectives that formed and dissolved regularly during this volatile period was the legendary Provoke. The Provoke philosophy of embracing the violent, the erotic and the accidental is epitomized in Daido Moriyama’s powerful Smash-Up, 1969 (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

The post-war Japanese photographs in this carefully-curated section – such as Yutaka Takanashi’s billboards from Towards the City, 1968 (estimate:£5,000-7,000), Kikuji Kawada’s Woman of Sankt Pauli, 1969 (estimate: £4,000-6,000), Keizo Kitajima’s Tokyo, 1975/1985 (estimate: £5,000-7,000), and Rikko Nakamura’s In an Apartment, 1978 (estimate: £4,000-6,000) – are particularly rare as they were intended for publication in magazines and books and hence only a few original prints were ever made by the photographer. The central importance of photo-books and photo-magazines during this period is represented by Kawada’s The Map, 1965 (estimate: £10,000-15,000), Moriyama’s Farewell Photography, 1972 (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and the complete set of Provoke, 1968-70 (estimate: £7,000-10,000).

This generation of photographers paved the way with their bold experimentations for the dynamic contemporary Japanese photographers whose works are offered in this special section. Highlights include Rinko Kawauchi’s sold-out image of a powerful lightning bolt from Aila, 2004 (estimate: £7,000 -10,000), Asako Narahashi’s extraordinary Jounanjima #3 from her series half awake and half asleep in the water, 2002 (estimate: £3,000-4,000) and Mika Ninagawa’s playful goldfish from Liquid Dreams, 2003 (estimate: £3,000-4,000).

23 Vintage Paris Photographs by André Kertész: Christie’s Photographs are privileged to reveal, for the very first time, 23 vintage photographs by André Kertész, which provide a compelling and comprehensive representation of the artist’s achievements during his important Paris years. Spanning portraiture, distortions, still-life compositions and city views with their radical graphic structures and unfamiliar vantage points, these works demonstrate the photographer’s visual curiosity and experimentation which positioned him ass a key exponent of a new, modernist vision in photography. His now-iconic Satiric Dancer, Paris, 1926 (estimate: £200,000-300,000), shows his skillful ability to capture people in motion – in this case Hungarian dancer Magda Förstner is photographed while moving on the sofa in the studio of the sculpture István Beöthy. Other highlights include Vert-Galant on a Wintry Day, 1929, showing a unique and previously unknown cropping (estimate: £50,000-70,000), Shadows of the Eiffel Tower, before May 1929 (estimate: £40,000-60,000), Collette, 1930 (estimate: £30,000-50,000), Paul Arma’s Hands and Shadows I, 1928 (estimate: £30,000-50,000) and Child kicking ball, circa 1930 (estimate: £30,000-50,000).

This thoughtfully-selected group of photographs was gifted in 1963 by Kertész to his friend, journalist Jacqueline Paouillac, as a token of his gratitude for her crucial role in ensuring the security of his archive through the flux of war. Preserved in exceptional condition, virtually untouched since the departure of Kertész for New York in 1936, these prints bear silent witness to a fascinating story, full details available upon request. A fitting measure of the photographer’s immense appreciation, these treasures had lain dormant for a quarter century until their rediscovery in 1963 and for a further 45 years this extraordinary cache has remained in the family of Mme Paouillac. “The time has come for these exceptional prints to serve their creator, and the memory of his fine friend, by being made public. It is our privilege to reveal them to a new international audience,” said Philippe Garner, International Head of Photographs.

Avant-Garde Photography from the Springefeld Collection: Thirteen avant-garde photographs from the Springefeld Collection are led by Lázló Moholy-Nagy’s Oskar Schlemmer, 1927 (estimate: £30,000-50,000). This collection is fresh to the market, having been acquired at a Dresden auction in 1949 then passed by decent to the present owner, in-depth information available upon request. Further key works include Brett Weston’s Tin Roofs, Mexico, 1926 (estimate: £10,000-15,000), Florence Henri’s Fenêtres, 1929 (estimate: £10,000-15,000) and Walter Peterhans’s Weekend, before May 1929 (estimate: £5,000-7,000). The remainder of this collection will be offered at Christie’s South Kensington in November 2008.

Category: Auction News

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