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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Swann Galleries auction of fine photographs & photobooks to feature Marilyn Monroe portraits

Swann Galleries hosts an auction of Fine Photographs & Photobooks on February 28.

The sale features a copy of the landmark William Bradford book The Arctic Regions, Illustrated with Photographs Taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland, which contains 141 mounted albumen photographs of icebergs, indigenous people and moored ships. The elaborately produced book, which is the result of six expeditions to the area, comes from a limited edition of 300 planned copies, and is a landmark of both Arctic exploration and photographically illustrated books. Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000.

Also among the early items in the sale are a select group of 13 plates from The Pencil of Nature by William Henry Fox Talbot, salted paper prints from calotype negatives, 1844-46 ($20,000 to $30,000); a masterwork of early architectural photography by the first great American daguerreian artists, Southworth & Hawes’s whole-plate daguerreotype of a Boston school house, circa 1850 ($25,000 to $35,000); Carleton Watkins’s Ferry Boat to Solano, California, mammoth albumen print, 1880s ($20,000 to $30,000); and albums filled with albumen print photographs of Hawaii, China, Japan and the Holy Land by Felix Bonfils, Kusakabe Kimbei and others.

From the turn of the century comes a San Francisco Police Department Bureau of Identification Inmate/Prisoner ID Mug Shot Album, containing 710 silver print photographs on 40 pages, 1908-10, with captions and numeric information in the negatives ($4,000 to $6,000).

Among exquisite photobooks are a signed and inscribed first edition of Alvin Langdon Coburn’s New York, with 19 (of 20) photogravures depicting Manhattan, 1910 ($9,000 to $10,000); a deluxe edition of Doris Ulmann’s Roll, Jordan, Roll, with text by Julia Peterkin, illustrated with 90 full-page photogravures after Ulmann’s photos of former slaves and their descendents on the Gullah coastal region of South Carolina, one of 350 signed and numbered by Ulmann and Peterkin, and issued with an extra photogravure plate, New York, 1933 ($20,000 to $30,000); and Jack Smith’s The Beautiful Book, with 19 photographs, most of an erotic nature, depicting Andy Warhol superstars Mario Montez and Francis Francine, and a portrait of gender-bending performance artist Smith, one of a planned edition of 200 copies, of which 60 were produced, New York, 1959 ($25,000 to $35,000).

There is a copy of Berenice Abbott’s magnificent Retrospective Portfolio, with 50 large-format photographs, including her iconic New York City views, scientific studies and portraits, 1930-60, printed 1982, each image with Abbott’s signature and edition notation ($90,000 to $110,000).

Other stellar portfolios and suites of images include 20 Photographs by Eugène Atget, printed by Berenice Abbott, one of 100 numbered sets, 1898-1927, printed 1956 ($10,000 to $15,000); three photographs of puppets by Tina Modotti, silver prints, circa 1929 ($15,000 to $25,000); a choice selection of five photographs from Walker Evans’s Fourteen Photographs, silver prints, 1936, printed 1971 ($12,000 to $18,000); four photographs of Marilyn Monroe by Weegee, three of them distortions, 1950s ($7,000 to $10,000); and George Zimbel’s Enhanced Marilyn Portfolio, with 23 photographs from the Seven Year Itch session, 1954, printed 1986-2004 ($18,000 to $22,000).

Other recognizable faces appear in Yousuf Karsh’s Georgia O’Keefe, 1956, printed 1980s ($6,000 to $9,000); Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Alberto Giacometti, Paris, France, 1961, printed 1980s ($9,000 to $12,000); and Ken Heyman’s Pop Art suite with 13 photographs of artists including Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, 1964, printed 2003 ($4,000 to $6,000).

From the late 20th century come Bernd and Hilla Becher’s Pennsylvania Pithead, ferrotyped silver print, 1974, printed 1991 ($8,000 to $12,000); Cindy Sherman’s Doctor and Nurse diptych, 1980, printed 1992 ($5,000 to $7,500); Sally Mann’s Dirty Bath, 1987 ($7,000 to $10,000); six photographs by Annie Leibovitz from Women, with before-and-after images of Las Vegas showgirls, 1995-96 ($12,000 to $18,000); Irving Penn’s Alexandra Beller, New York, from the Dancer series, 1999, printed 2000 ($18,000 to $22,000); and the spectacular amFAR Photography Portfolio with 18 photographs by Tina Barney, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and others, 1977-2003, printed 2004 ($10,000 to $15,000).

The auction will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28.

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