Modern photography hasn’t seen the same run-up in pricing, although it’s a category that’s fast appreciating, and an area increasingly being scoped out collectors who don’t want to buy at the top of a market.
And the celebrity crowd has taken note. Gwyneth, Brad Pitt, and Jodie Foster were all spotted at recent Paris Photo LA shows (that’s the Los Angeles edition of the well known French fair). While photography remains a small part of the overall art market, Christie’s (christies.com), seeing the segment’s potential, has launched an ambitious auction program this year with many sales to be offered online. In February, the kick-off auction, Modern Visions: Exceptional Photographs had a 90% sell-through rate, at 97% value, which provided an auspicious start to the series.
The next photography auction, titled simply, Photographs, takes places on April 6th, and offers an overview of the category from Post-War to the present. This auction will present 200 lots, with a special section devoted to Hiroshi Sugimoto, the much exhibited conceptual artist who frequently explores themes of time and memory in his photography. Highlights from the group include Diana, Princess of Wales, 1999; oversized prints of Church of the Light: and Tadao Ando, 1997 ((estimate: each at $100,000-150,000).
Work from other top photographers will be offered as well: Diane Arbus’ rare, signed lifetime print of Boy,1967 (estimate: $200,000-300,000; William Eggleston’s set of ten dye-transfer prints, Southern suite, 1981(estimate: $80,000-120,000); Irving Penn’s Four Guedras, Morocco, 1971, (estimate: $70,000-90,000) and Gisele, New York, April, 1999, (estimate: $70,000- 90,000); Robert Mapplethorpe’s beautiful dye-transfer print, Calla Lily, 1988, (estimate: $60,000- 80,000); Paul Outerbridge’s fresh-to-the-market modernist image, Golf Score Keeper, 1924, (estimate: $40,000-60,000; and Lee Friedlander’s vintage prints of Galax, Virginia, 1962, and New York City, 1966, (estimate: each at $30,000-50,000).
All images: Hiroshi Sugimoto