European American Prints and Fine Photographs

LOS ANGELES, CA.-Bonhams & Butterfields, the West Coast’s leading fine arts auctioneers, is pleased to announce that its May 20 and 21, 2008 sales of Fine Prints and Fine Photographs in San Francisco (and simulcast to Los Angeles) will feature rare and fresh-to market works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Wayne Thiebaud and Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

Following on the heels of a robust Fall 2007 auction — which produced strong prices and a new world auction record for a later printing of a Diane Arbus work, the spring 2008 offering is expected to entice collectors and connoisseurs from around the globe.

According to Judith Eurich, Director of Fine Prints and Photographs at Bonhams & Butterfields, “The market for works on paper continues to be strong, reflecting the expansion of the medium’s collector base. This May we are pleased to offer a wide array of works from noted international artists.” Held over the course of two-days, the sales of Fine Prints and Fine Photographs will include more than 600 lots during the simulcast auctions.

The marquee lot of the Fine Photography session is a highly sought after expansive portfolio entitled New California Views, 1964-1979. Comprised of 20 signed and dated photographs from contemporary photographers such as John Divola, Richard Misrach, Stephen Shore, Henry Wessel, Jr. and Garry Winogrand, among others. The collection is one of an edition of 100, the folio accompanied by a catalogue with text by Therese Hayman. It is estimated to bring $15,000 to $20,000 during the sale.

Also on offer is Robert Mapplethorpe’s ‘Z’ Portfolio, 1981. Comprised of 13 signed and edition numbered gelatin silver prints, the portfolio is accompanied by an essay from Edmund White, all housed in a brown silk folding case (est. $20/30,000).

According to Eurich, “Although surrounded by controversy, Robert Mapplethorpe was a master of large-scale, highly stylized images of flowers, black & white portraits and nudes – for which he is best known.”

Images from ‘Z’ Portfolio include portraits of famous and unknown sitters, shot in New York City and San Francisco in 1979 and 1980. Also offered in the session will be Henri Matisse, Venice, France, 1944, by noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (est. $6/8,000) and Frido Kahlo with Globe in Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Studio, a signed and annotated gelatin silver print from the 1930s by Manuel Alvarez Bravo (est. $6/8,000).

Additional May sale print highlights include: Frank Stella’s hand colored silkscreen woodcut La Penna di Hu from 1988 (est. $8/12,000); The Star, a silkscreen printed in color and adorned with diamond dust from Andy Warhol’s 1981 series from Myths (est. $25/35,000), and a soft-ground etching and aquatint printed in color entitled Valley Farm, 1993, by Wayne Thiebaud (est. $8/10,000).

Sales of Fine Prints & Fine Photographs are held at Bonhams & Butterfields in the California salesrooms twice annually. These auctions feature a wide variety of important works on paper from the 19th and 20th centuries. Previews open to the public: May 9-11 in Los Angeles and May 17-19 in San Francisco.