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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Christie’s London Photographs Sale

LONDON – Inspiring, informing and extending aesthetic horizons, Christie’s Photographs Department continues its unprecedented programme Distinctively. This carefully curated series features photo-based works from specific regions which are sold-out and no longer available on the primary market, by established and emerging artists. Following the success of Distinctively Japanese at Christie’s in May 2008, the spotlight of Christie’s 19 November auction focuses on contemporary Nordic and Dutch artists. Elsewhere in the sale, highly desirable shots of famous faces include Kate Moss, Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, Gisele Bündchen, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. Presenting a tightly edited selection of over 90 lots, with estimates ranging from £3,000 to £220,000, the sale is expected to realise in the region of £1 million.

Famous Faces of the Glamorous and Beautiful
Famous faces from the silver screen and the catwalk never fail to delight, symbolising glamour and beauty. The classic photograph Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Marrakech, 1951, by Irving Penn (estimate: £180,000-220,000) is the top lot in the sale. In contrast, Martin Schoeller inverts accepted and expected beauty in Angelina Jolie with Blood, 2003 (estimate: £15,000-20,000). A challenging image, it is from an edition of seven which is sold-out on the primary market. Seductive shots include the fresh faced 17-year-old Britney Spears in Baby, 1999, by David LaChapelle for Rolling Stone (estimate: £15,000-20,000) and Albert Watson’s oversized crouching nude, Kate Moss, Marrakech, January, 1993 (estimate: £15,000-20,000), commissioned for German Vogue. Further top fashion names range from Gisele, in an Indian headdress, by Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair photographer Mark Seliger, 2000 (estimate: £6,000-8,000), to Christy Turlington, New York City, 1990, by Albert Watson (estimate: £8,000-12,000) and two images of Cindy Crawford. The first Crawford image is from Playboy, Costa Careyes, 1998, by Herb Ritts (estimate: £5,000-7,000) and the second is one of six works featured in the sale by international fashion photographer Michel Comte, Cindy Crawford, Vanity Fair US, 1992 (estimate: £6,000-8,000).

Distinctively Nordic
The innovative Distinctively Nordic section presents 23 sold-out works, which are now unavailable on the primary market. An essay by Elina Heikka, Director of The Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki, accompanies this section. Dynamic examples include Blue Lagoon, 1997, a series of eight images by Olafur Eliasson [Danish/Icelandic] (estimate: £25,000-35,000); Untitled (Bubble wrap), 2007, by Annika von Hausswolff [Swedish] (estimate: £10,000-15,000); The Valley Beat I-II from ‘How to Hunt’, 2005, by Nicolai Howalt & Trine Søndergaard [Danish] (estimate: £20,000-30,000); Demonstration Day, 2003, by Miklos Gaál [Finnish] (estimate: £12,000-18,000) and Icy Prospects 31, 2006, by Jorma Puranen [Finnish](estimate: £8,000-12,000).

The foundations of Nordic photography in the 20th century lie in Sweden which, out of the five Nordic countries, led the way until the 1990s. By the 1950s many Swedish photographers were internationally minded, living and working in Paris or New York; Hans Hammarshiö was amongst seven Swedes to be invited by Edward Steichen to be part of his famous Family of Man exhibition in 1955. In the 1960s and 70s the focus throughout Scandinavian photography was largely on socio political documentary, often in black and white. By the 1980s and 90s Finnish photographers became more prominent and focus moved towards more subjective, emotional works; utilizing a larger, colour format to capture the consumerism and mass media of contemporary society.

Depictions of the landscape and a society living as one with nature, is a concept many hold as synonymous with Nordic photography. Fresh examples of this are shown in the eight pictures of Iceland by Eliasson detailed above and Untitled from ‘Swedish Red – Comfortably Secure’, 2005, by Joakim Eneroth [Swedish] (estimate: £5,000-7,000).Conceptual explorations of the landscape as a tool for expression are shown in the abstract minimalist work Untitled (No.7), 2005, by Ola Kolehmainen [Finnish] (estimate: £12,000-18,000) illustrated left, Manhattan #D from ‘The New Landscapes’, 2004, by Nanna Hänninen [Finnish] (estimate: £5,000-7,000) and Puranen’s Icy Prospects 31, 2006. The landscape as a place for stories to unfold, is shown in the enigmatic Hypernatutral #4, 2003, by Astrid Kruse Jensen [Danish] (estimate: £4,000-6,000), Rowing, 2006, by Pekka Luukkola [Finnish] (estimate: £3,000-4,000) and Rollercoaster from ‘Museum of Nature’ 2004, by Ilkka Halso [Finnish] (estimate: £6,000-8,000).

Such captivating intrigue extends into the figurative works such as Shark Riding, 1992, by Pierre Winther [Danish] (estimate: £5,000-7,000) and Kuivanieni, 1991, by this year’s Deutsche Börse Photography Prize winner, Esko Männikö [Finnish] (estimate: £5,000-7,000). Further examples range from Almost There (3), 2000, by Maria Friberg [Swedish] (estimate: £10,000-15,000) to Untitled (Door 501), 2004, by Aino Kannisto [Finnish] (estimate: £6,000-8,000) and Le Printemps from ‘The New Painting’, 2001, by Elina Brotherus [Finnish] (estimate: £5,000-7,000).

Distinctively Dutch
For the first time ever in any Photographs auction, Christie’s London presents 23 Distinctively Dutch photographs from the Netherlands. An essay by Hripsimé Visser, Curator of Photography at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, accompanies this section. The exceptional works offered are no longer available on the primary market and include sold-out works by key artists such as Desiree Dolron, with Xteriors VII, 2004 (estimate: £25,000-35,000); Céline van Balen’s Muazez, 1998 (estimate: £10,000-15,000); Marnix Goosens’ celebrated Cloud from ‘Regarding Nature’, 2000 (estimate: £10,000-15,000) illustrated left; Elspeth Diederix, with Still life (milk), 2002 (estimate: £8,000-12,000) and Edwin Zwakman’s significant work Fly-over II, 1996 (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

Traditions, genres and concepts frequently become entwined in contemporary photography; this is exemplified in works from the Netherlands. The fusion of fashion and documentary disciplines is apparent in Viviane Sassen’s highly stylised Kathleen, 2006 (estimate: £5,000-7,000). Such crossovers between genres have underpinned new forms of expression. This is the case with the expressive pop photography of Anton Corbijn, such as Patti Smith, 1999 (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

The Dutch photographers featured have created highly personal works. They present staged worlds which become new realities; choose unexpected view points; remove contexts of understanding; construct remembered realities from maquettes and alter or blur focus. The resulting works are colourful, large and autonomous, such as Diederix’s Still life (milk), which points to the long tradition of Dutch still life. Different examples include striking, digitally manipulated images such as The Ice Cream Parlour from ‘Rain’, 2004 (estimate: £15,000-20,000) illustrated page one right and the portfolio Royal Blood, 2000 (estimate: £10,000-15,000), both by Erwin Olaf, as well as World #16, 2006, by Ruud van Empel (estimate: £10,000-15,000).

Distinctively Dutch includes four powerful portraits of Muslim girls which are thought provoking and aesthetically beautiful. Céline van Balen’s Muazez, 1998, (estimate: £10,000-15,000), is part of an important series, Muslim Girls, which depicts girls in temporary accommodation in Amsterdam. Zaineb from ‘Sisters’, 2006, by Martine Stig (estimate: £5,000-7,000) is part of her portrait series of young women at the University of Kuwait who deliberately chose to wear veils. The project revealed the fine balance between depictions of self and personal modesty. Hondius’s Amman from ‘Harmless’, 2003, (estimate: £5,000-7,000), taken with a hidden camera, is a candid image providing a rare glimpse into a normally closed world. Another unique, almost painterly, approach is Untitled #10 from ‘Frontstage’, 2006, by Anoek Steketee (estimate: £6,000-8,000), whose works illuminate the everyday life of Iranians and investigate the accuracy of portrayals by western media. From the main body of the sale a further work in this genre includes I am its Secret by Iranian photographer Shirin Neshat (estimate: £3,000-5,000). Also of relevance, is The Vegetable Shop, Mogador, Morocco, 1962, by Paul Strand (estimate: £15,000-20,000).

Photographs at Christie’s South Kensington on Wednesday, 26 November at 2pm
The Marilyn Monroe shot which Andy Warhol used as the basis of his iconic Marilyn series of silk screens, taken by Frank Powolny in 1953 (estimate: £5,000-7,000), is exceptionally rare and leads the South Kensington Photographs sale. Another key work is the original 1976 photograph of Farah Fawcett by Bruce McBroom, which became the best selling poster of all time having sold 12 million copies worldwide (estimate: £4,000-6,000). These photographs are part of the 31 lots from the James Danziger Collection, who was Picture Editor of The London Sunday Times Magazine and Features Editor of Vanity Fair. This follows the hugely successful Christie’s sale of works from the Danziger collection in May 2005. Among the treasure trove of other delights offered are ten works from the property of film producer David Puttnam, C.B.E., with funds raised going to The Photographers’ Gallery and also Part II of the wonderful Springefeld Collection, formerly in the Collection of Kurt Kirchenbach. Comprising 21 lots, this follows the sale of Part I in May 2008.