Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Swann Galleries to Auction Photographic Literature and Photographs

The top lot of Swann Galleries’ Thursday, May 14 auction of Photographic Literature & Fine Photographs is a complete set of the 20 lavishly illustrated text volumes of Edward S. Curtis’s magnum opus, The North American Indian. It took Curtis nearly 25 years—from 1907 to 1930—to complete his work documenting the “vanishing race” of Native Americans. This set was originally in the collection of railroad magnate James J. Hill (estimate: $250,000 to $350,000). There are also more than 20 individual photographs by Curtis in the sale, among them Three Chiefs, Piegan, a unique, mural-size toned silver print, the largest known print Curtis made, 1900 ($20,000 to $30,000); The Vanishing Race, oversize platinum print, 1904 ($18,000 to $22,000); a portrait of Vash Gon, Jicarilla, platinum print, 1904 ($9,000 to $12,000); and three blue-toned silver prints of a dreamy female nude, circa 1922 (estimates: $2,000 to $3,000 to $2,500 to $3,500).
Other Photographic Literature lots include a signed copy of Man Ray’s Photographs 1920-1934 Paris, inscribed to fashion designer Hana Mackler, Hartford and New York, 1934 ($6,000 to $9,000); Dorothea Lange’s An American Exodus, A Record of Human Erosion, first edition signed by Lange and author Paul S. Taylor, New York, 1939 ($2,000 to $3,000); works by Ed Ruscha, including Various Small Fires and Milk, one of 400 copies from the first edition, signed and inscribed by Ruscha to Andy Warhol, 1964 ($6,000 to $9,000); and Robert Frank’s Flower Is . . . , one of 500 from a limited edition, Tokyo, 1987 ($4,000 to $6,000). Examples of Japanese photobooks include Ken Domon and Shomei Tomastsu’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961, with the photographers’ images of the aftermath of the atomic bomb explosions ($9,000 to $12,000); a three-volume set of Provoke, Numbers 1, 2 and 3, with images after Daido Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi, Takuma Nakahira and others, issue two signed by Moriyama, 1968-69 ($12,000 to $18,000); and ABCD, a facsimile of Araki Nobuyoshi’s notebooks, in four volumes, that contain enlarged contact prints from the early 1970s. This limited edition copy is one of 20 signed and numbered by the artist, New York, 2003 ($5,000 to $7,500).
Among contemporary American works of photographic literature are Joel-Peter Witkin’s portfolio Twelve Photographs, signed and numbered by Witkin, New York, 1992-93 ($2,500 to $3,500); and Jack Pierson’s All of a Sudden, limited edition, signed by Pierson and issued with a photograph, New York, 1995 ($1,200 to $1,800). The auction resumes after a lunch break at 2:30 p.m. with more than 260 Fine Photographs. Early examples include cased images and travel albums with albumen photographs of Japan, Russia and the Holy Land. From the early 20th century are Edward Steichen’s sunlit pictorialist view of Mrs. Steichen and the Steichen Children, Voulangis, France, silver print, 1908 ($12,000 to $18,000); Kurt Schwitters’ Die Kultpumpe [The Cult Pump], silver print of one of his sculptures, circa 1919 ($8,000 to $12,000); and Lewis Hine’s Untitled image of a mechanic, one of his classic portraits of the American worker, silver contact print, circa 1926 ($6,000 to $9,000). A selection of works by Edward Weston includes Dunes at Oceano, silver print, 1936 ($30,000 to $40,000); and other modernist highlights are Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Cabeza, a portrait of Lola Alvarez Bravo, silver print, 1932-34 ($5,000 to $7,500); Horst P. Horst’s Mainbocher Corset, Paris, silver print, 1939, printed 1990s ($14,000 to $18,000); and Margaret Bourke-White’s Italy, the completed ‘delirium tremens’ bridge at Ponte Reale, silver print, 1944 ($4,000 to $6,000). Portrait photographs include Arnold Newman’s shot of Igor Stravinsky seated at a piano, silver print, 1945, printed 1980s ($5,000 to $7,500); Nat Fein’s Babe Bows Out, silver print, 1948, printed early 1990s ($6,000 to $9,000); two of Milton Greene’s photos of Marilyn Monroe from the Black Sitting, 1956, printed 1970s ($2,000 to $3,000 each); Paul Vathis’s Serious Steps, a Pulitzer Prize winning image of President Kennedy and former President Eisenhower conferring at Camp David, ferrotyped silver print, 1961-62 ($1,500 to $2,500); and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Malcolm X, silver print, 1961, printed 1980s ($6,000 to $9,000). Also among mid-century photographs are Ansel Adams’s Rain, Beartrack Cove, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, silver print, 1949, printed 1950 ($7,000 to $10,000); Horst’s fashion images, of Lillian Marcuson and Nina de Voogh (for Vogue), platinum prints, 1950 and 51, printed 1980s ($15,000 to $25,000 and $14,000 to $18,000 respectively); an Untitled image from W. Eugene Smith’s Nurse Midwife series, silver print, 1951, printed 1960s ($3,000 to $4,500); and O. Winston Link’s Ghost Town, Stanley, Virginia, silver print, 1957, printed 1998 ($6,000 to $9,000). Other portfolios include Elliott Erwitt’s The Alchan Edition, with 12 (of 15) witty photographs, silver prints, one of 100 numbered copies, 192-76, printed 1980 ($9,000 to $12,000); Joel Meyerowitz, The Early Works, with 13 prints mostly of New York City, silver prints, 1964-72, printed 1999 ($4,000 to $6,000); Jerome Liebling’s Selected Images, with 10 of his most recognizable photographs, silver prints, 1947-74, printed 2001 ($3,000 to $4,500); a suite of 19 photographs by Garry Winogrand from his Women are Beautiful and Fort Worth Fat Stock Show & Rodeo series, 1965-77, printed 1980s ($20,000 to $30,000); and Eliot Porter’s The Seasons, with 12 dye-transfer prints, 1951-61, printed 1963 ($12,000 to $18,000).
Other notable color photographs are William Eggleston’s Winston, chromogenic print, circa 1983-86 ($7,000 to $10,000); Richard Misrach’s Salton Sea Floor Interior (Chair), chromogenic print, 1985, printed 1986 ($6,000 to $9,000); and Nan Goldin’s Self-Portrait on the Train, Boston to New Haven, cibarchrome print, 1997 ($4,000 to $6,000). Additional contemporary works include Sally Mann’s Luncheon on the Grasses, silver print, 1991 ($7,000 to $10,000); Robert Adams’s Pawnee National Grassland, Colorado, silver print, 1984, printed 1988 ($6,000 to $9,000); and Witkin’s The History of Commercial Photography in South America, silver print with an original pencil preparatory sketch for the photograph, 1984 ($7,000 to $10,000).
The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 14, and will continue at 2:30 p.m. The photographs and books will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Saturday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Monday, May 11 through Wednesday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at