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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Phillips de Pury & Company announces The Face of Modernism. A Private West Coast Collection photographs sale

Phillips de Pury & Company launches its Spring Photographs season with a single-owner sale titled The Face of Modernism: A Private West Coast Collection. Comprised of 28 lots, this single-owner collection provides a glimpse into a pivotal moment in the evolution of photography: when the soft-focus images of Pictorialism gave way to the more sharply-focused images of Modernism.

Worldwide Director of Photographs, Vanessa Kramer , states, “We are enthusiastic about presenting a strong, cohesive private collection, The Face of Modernism, and hope that it inspires our clients to continue to strengthen their own collections.”

One of the highlights from the collection is Alfred Stieglitz’s Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918, estimated at $200,000-300,000. This very personal photograph was taken a year after Stieglitz ended his multiple professional endeavors and moved in with O’Keeffe. Taken with Stieglitz’s preferred hand-held camera, the picture is a rare and early snapshot—the championed method of photography by the Modernist pioneer. It brims with the optimism of their budding romantic and professional relationship.

There are two important and rare Pictorialist portraits: Edward Weston’s strikingly beautiful and romantic Portrait of a Woman, 1916, estimated at $80,000-120,000; and Edward Steichen’s compellingly sensual and atmospheric La Bella, 1904, estimated at $60,000-80,000.

A distinctly Modernist portrait is that by Man Ray of Tristan Tzara, one of the founding members of the revolutionary Dada movement. The photograph was made in 1924 and is estimated at $40,000-60,000. Two other photographs from the innovative and experimental 1920’s and 1930’s in Paris are by André Kertész, Fishermen Behind Notre Dame,1925, estimated at $30,000-50,000 and Untitled, Paris, 1932-1936, also estimated at $30,000-$50,000. In the first photograph, taken shortly after the Hungarian emigré photographer arrived in his new city from his native Budapest , Kertész portrays the light, charm, and atmosphere of Paris from an unusual perspective. In the second photograph, of two men sporting berets and casually smoking, Kertész uses the close-up to give us the epitome of the new modern Parisian urbanite.

Other highlights include two works by the master Paul Strand: Young Farmer, Po Valley, 1953, and The Mother, Luzzara, Italy, 1953, each estimated at $20,000-30,000, and both presenting strong, dignified portraits of working-class people; a photograph by Dorothea Lange, Water Boy, Mississippi Delta, 1938, which deeply humanizes the Depression era with a single, heartfelt face; and photographs by Walker Evans, Brassaï, August Sander, Lewis Hine and Ben Shahn among others.

The Face of Modernism: A Private West Coast Collection will be immediately followed by the Spring Photographs various owners sale.

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