The Stephen L. White Photograph Collection / Fine Photographs
Tue 23 Mar 13:30
Swann Auction Galleries, Inc
104 East 25th Street
NY 10010 New York
THE STEPHEN L. WHITE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION, WHICH ILLUSTRATES THE AMERICAN DREAM, TO BE AUCTIONED AT SWANN GALLERIES ON MARCH 23, FOLLOWED BY A SELECTION OF FINE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM VARIOUS OWNERS On Tuesday, March 23, Swann Galleries will conduct a two-part auction. Part I features The Stephen L. White Photographs Collection, with 102 remarkable works depicting aspects of the American Dream, and will start at 1:30 p.m. Fine Photographs, Part II, contains more than 130 diverse images from various owners, and will start at 3:00 p.m. The first volume of the catalogue presents the White Collection according to three categories that characterize the American Dream: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. There are works by well-known masters of photography as well as lesser-known documentarians; similarly, there are photographs of both well-known and obscure subjects. From the Life section are Andrew J. Russell's Golden Spike Ceremony with Flag and Camera, Promontory Point, Utah, albumen print, 1869, commemorating the completion of the transcontinental railroad, one of the greatest American construction feats of the 19th century (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000); Eadweard Muybridge's 13-part panorama of San Francisco, 1878, printed 1973, preserving a precise visual record of the city before the 1906 earthquake ($4,000 to $6,000); several of Lewis W. Hine's images of child laborers, including Coal Breaker Boys, Pittston, Pennsylvania, silver print, 1910, printed 1930s ($20,000 to $30,000); Walker Evans's New Deal-era photograph Country Store, Vicinity Moundville, Alabama, silver print, 1936, printed 1940s-50s ($15,000 to $25,000); and Paul Strand's portrait of Mr. Bennett, West River Valley, Vermont, from his “Time in New England” series, silver print, 1944, printed 1961, with an inscription from the photographer on the back ($25,000 to $35,000). The theme of Liberty is evoked by portraits of historical figures, such as a commanding half-plate daguerreotype of Henry Clay, the “Great Compromiser,” attributed to Montgomery P. Simons, circa 1848 ($20,000 to $30,000); the last photograph of frontiersman Kit Carson, taken by James Wallace Black just two months before Carson died, albumen print signed and inscribed by Carson on the original mount, 1868 ($30,000 to $45,000); and images of inventors Alexander Graham Bell, Samuel F.B. Morse and Thomas Edison. There are also examples of groundbreaking experimental works, such as a signed and inscribed copy of Muybridge's seminal work Animal Locomotion, with 21 collotype plates of people and animals in motion, 1872-85, printed 1887 ($15,000 to $20,000); and two of Dr. Dain L. Tasker's 1933 x-ray studies of daffodils, silver-bromide contact prints ($15,000 to $25,000 and $12,000 to $18,000). Highlights of the Pursuit of Happiness section include a very rare photograph by Alfred Stieglitz, one of only two known prints of Going Home by Ferry, New York City, showing a cramped boat delivering commuters at the end of a work day, silver print, 1902, printed 1920s ($50,000 to $75,000); and other city views, among them Karl Strauss's N.Y. Public Library, circa 1913 ($8,000 to $12,000); a rare oversize period print of Berenice Abbott's view of the three-masted schooner Theoline, [at] Pier 11, East River, Manhattan, New York, 1936, printed 1940s-50s ($12,000 to $18,000); and Robert Rauschenberg's Untitled (American Flag, enough is enough), silver print, 1980 ($10,000 to $15,000). There are also images that depict American industry, among them Hine's Pittsburgh Steel Plants at Night, oversize sepia-toned silver print, circa 1910, printed 1930s ($10,000 to $15,000); Imogen Cunningham's Fageol Ventilators, Oakland, Cal., silver print, 1934, printed early 1960s ($5,000 to $7,500); and Paul Outerbridge, Jr.'s Advertisement for Marmon Motor Co., New York, platinum print of a graphic montage, circa 1920 ($20,000 to $25,000). And, finally, celebrating the arts are Edward Steichen and Rolf Petersen's Isadora Duncan at the Portals of the Parthenon, toned silver print, 1921, printed 1960s ($18,000 to $22,000); and Yousuf Karsh's sensitive portrait of Ernest Hemingway, silver print, 1957, printed 1970s ($6,000 to $9,000). The second part of the auction, Fine Photographs, features early works, such as Lewis Carroll's delicate image of Margaret Anne and Lilian Brodie, albumen print, 1860 ($10,000 to $15,000); natural history and ethnographic photographs of the American West, and albums containing views of exotic lands including Japan. Among treasures from the first half of the 20th century are Brassaï's Devant le ‘Closerie de Lilas' dans le brouillard, ferrotyped silver print, 1934 ($20,000 to $30,000); Dorothea Lange's San Francisco, Alley, North Beach District, silver print, 1935 ($15,000 to $25,000); Horst P. Horst's Mainbocher Corset, Paris, silver print, 1939, printed 1990s ($14,000 to $18,000); Dimitri Baltermants's World War II photograph, Grief (Ditch of Kertsch), silver print, 1942, showing the aftermath of the Nazi massacre on a Crimean village ($10,000 to $15,000); and several of Ansel Adams's classic images, among them Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, printed late 1960s ($30,000 to $40,000), Mount Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California, silver print, 1944, printed late 1960s, and Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California, silver print, 1944, printed 1978 ($20,000 to $30,000 each). Mid-century highlights include Elliott Erwitt's portfolio The Alchan Edition, with 12 (of 15) silver prints, 1952-76, printed 1980 ($8,000 to $12,000); the Mario Giacomelli portfolio La Gente, with 18 silver prints, 1956-68, printed 1981 ($25,000 to $35,000); Minor White's Snow on Garage Door, Rochester, NY, silver print, 1960, printed circa 1970 ($7,000 to $10,000); Josef Sudek's Remembrance of Mr. Poe, silver print, with an inscription from Sudek in Czech on the back, 1959, printed circa 1969 ($9,000 to $12,000); Finally, there are desirable fashion photographs and celebrity portraits, such as a double composite from Jack Smith's The Beautiful Book, silver print, 1962 ($8,000 to $10,000); Dennis Hopper's 1963 image of Andy Warhol, silver print, printed circa 1988 ($7,000 to $10,000); Annie Leibovitz's color photos of The Rolling Stones, 1985 ($7,000 to $10,000), and Meryl Streep, 1986 ($6,000 to $9,000); and three sexually charged silver prints by Helmut Newton, Woman Observing Man, Saint-Tropez, 1975, printed 1980s ($30,000 to $40,000); Home Movies, Paris, 1980, printed 1980s ($14,000 to $18,000); and Woman Being Filmed, Paris, 1980, printed 1980s ($15,000 to $25,000). The auction will begin with the Stephen White Collection at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, and will continue with Fine Photographs at 3 p.m. The photographs will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, March 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to noon. The two-volume illustrated catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com.