Christie’s to Auction Photography from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman

. August 23, 2009

Following the enormous success of two monographic sales of photographic works by William Eggleston and Diane Arbus in 2008, Christie’s announced the sale of a third segment of photographs from the extraordinary collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman. Kicking off Christie’s highly anticipated Fall Photographs season, The American Landscape: Color Photographs from the Collection of Bruce and Nancy Berman will take place at Christie’s New York on October 7, 2009.

With estimates starting at just $2000, the 185 lots offered will represent works from 1955 to the present day by major artists who were influenced by the American landscape and who have contributed to the transformation of the genre of color photography.

William Christenberry
William Christenberry, The Bar-B-Q Inn, Greensboro, Alabama, 1981, chromogenic print, printed 1995, 25 x 32in. (63.5 x 81.3cm.) Estimate: $4,000-6,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2009

Over 60 photographs by William Eggleston will be included along with works by William Christenberry, Mitch Epstein, Robert Polidori, Alex Soth, Stephen Shore, and Joel Sternfeld among the contemporary photographers who will also be featured in the sale.

The Collection of Photographs of Bruce and Nancy Berman, one of the largest and most important of its kind to have been amassed in the United States, is singular in its volume and depth of holdings of works by certain key artists that figure prominently in the history of 20th century art and culture. The collection has been celebrated in public exhibitions, most recently at the J. Paul Getty Museum in the Fall of 2006. Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection was an exhibition of 170 prints by 24 important contemporary artists and was accompanied by an eponymous exhibition catalogue. Many of the artists exhibited in that show are represented in this sale.

Highlights from the sale include a large group of works by William Christenberry, including his famous Brownie prints. Influenced by Eggleston, Christenberry’s stark, quiet works capture the rural American south in the 1970’s and are represented by The Bar-B-Q Inn, Greensboro, Alabama, 1981 (estimate: $4,000-6,000).

From the series Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America, Joel Sternfeld’s Tolstoy Farm, Davenport, Washington, August 2004 is a striking portrait of a member of a present day utopian society (estimate: $5,000-7,000), and Mitch Epstein’s Flag, Holyoke, MA, (estimate: $3,000-5,000), from the series Family Business, is one where the artist intimately chronicles the demise of his father’s retail furniture store.

The selection of works by William Eggleston is highlighted by Untitled, Memphis, TN, 1982 a dye-transfer print made in 1999 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

Other notable highlights include a master work by Stephen Shore from the series Uncommon Places entitled Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, 1974 (estimate: $8,000-12,000), pictured pg 1, and Robert Polidori’s, Peterson’s Store, Manfred, North Dakota, 2000 (estimate: $8,000-12,000), an image from a body of work he created in a small abandoned town in the American west.

Category: Auction News

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