WESTLICHT PHOTO AUCTION: Friday, June 9, 2017, 5 pm

PHOTO AUCTION PREVIEW: May 29 to June 9, 2017 daily from 2 to 6 pm and by appointment +43 (0)1 522 66 36 – 66

Muhammad Ali in an ideal boxing pose under water – thus Flip Schulke captured him in a swimming pool in Miami in 1961 (Lot 158, estimated at 5,000–6,000 Euros). An anti-Vietnam demonstrator offering a soldier a flower in Marc Riboud’s iconic image (Lot 102, estimated at 4,500–5,500 Euros). The »Hindenburg« bursting into a ball of fire in 1937 in Lakehurst, as viewed by Sam Shere (Lot 76, estimated at 3,000–3,500 Euros).

Great personalities such as these, time travel into history – all these will be found among the offers of the 16th WestLicht Photo Auction. It includes 218 lots; photographs and selected photo books prove that no other medium has shaped our image of the world to the same extent as photography during the past century and a half.

In this spirit, the Magnum Agency has upheld the highest standards for the past 70 years. The 12 vintage prints from the series »The Great Leap Forward«, 1958, by Magnum co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson are the best proof (Lot 93, estimated at 30,000–35,000 Euros). His colleague René Burri documented soldiers jumping from a helicopter onto the Vietnam battlefields in 1963 (Lot 101, estimated at 4,000–5,000 Euros); Elliott Erwitt captured a cheerful Che Guevara on film in 1964 (Lot 117, estimated at 3,000–3,500 Euros).

What would fin-de-siècle Vienna be without photography? Anton Josef Trčka’s »Reclining Nude VI« of 1926 is no less appealing than any of Gustav Klimt’s nudes (Lot 8, estimated at 20,000–25,000 Euros), and in 1914 Heinrich Kühn achieved an impressive example of Pictorialism: »Das Wasserglas«

Two masterworks which exerted a strong influence on the image of femininity are Bill Brandt’s »London (Nude with Bent Elbow)« of 1952 (Lot 49, estimated at 10,000–12,000 Euros) and Horst P. Horst’s »Mainbocher Corset« (Lot 37, estimated at 30,000–35,000 Euros). The latter is one of the most-quoted photographs in the history of art, a symbol of timeless beauty, captured in the early morning hours of August 11, 1939 in Paris.

The naked body was also the focus of Viennese Actionism. The photographer Ludwig Hoffenreich accompanied the action »Transfusion« by Günter Brus and his wife Ana at the Perinetkeller in Vienna’s Brigittenau district in 1965. It is an action that stands out among the early works (Lot 186, 12 prints, estimated at 20,000–25,000 Euros).

Marcel Duchamp, the precursor of Surrealism and Dada and co-founder of Concept Art, was photographed in 1948 by Irving Penn, who was shooting portraits of the New York post-war arts scene for Vogue (Lot 71, estimated at 20,000–28,000 Euros). Others too tried to reveal the nature of artists behind their masks and roles: Gottfried Helnwein portrayed the 30-year-old Michael Jackson in 1988 (Lot 198, estimated at 7,000–8,000 Euros), Annie Leibovitz captured Brad Pitt in Las Vegas in 1994 (Lot 199, estimated at 5,000–6,000 Euros), and Bettina Rheims showed »Madonna sitting on the floor and holding her dress« in New York in 1994 (Lot 201, estimated at 3,500–4,000 Euros).

WESTLICHT CAMERA AUCTION: Saturday, June 10, 2017, 11 am

CAMERA AUCTION PREVIEW: June 8 & 9, 10 am to 6 pm, June 10, 8 to 11 am  or by appointment +43 (0)1 523 56 59

The 31st WestLicht Camera Auction on June 10 at 11 am includes 571 lots. Leica products make up 244 of these lots; as always, numerous rarities are offered for sale. Lot Number 1 is a case in point: a very early Leica Model I with an Elmax Lens dated 1925, offered at a starting bid of 15,000 Euros and estimated to fetch 28,000–32,000 Euros. An exceptionally beautiful and rare Leica is auctioned as Lot Number 75 – this Leica M3 black paint from the first series of 1959 starts at 18,000 Euros and is estimated at 25,000–35,000 Euros. Another special M Leica is the MP-292 (Lot 78). Built in 1958 and sold exclusively to professional photographers, the camera starts at 18,000 Euros and is estimated to reach 35,000–40,000 Euros.

One highlight among the Leica offers is the so-called “Rundbildkamera” for 360-degree images, used by the German Wehrmacht around 1944. Only four such sets including the matching tripod are known to exist. This Lot, Number 199, starts with an opening bid of 40,000 Euros; its estimated price is 70,000–90,000 Euros.

Among the “Leica copies” there is the well-known and extremely rare WICA (Wiener Camera) of 1948 (Lot 253, starting bid 2,000 Euros, estimated at 3,500-3,800 Euros).

NASA cameras are always popular with collectors, for example the Hasselblad Space Camera 553ELS of 1991, which was used for space shuttle missions (Lot 293, starting bid 8,000 Euros, estimated at 16,000–18,000 Euros).

Almost all Kodak Retina cameras built between 1935 and 1969 are represented in Lot 309. The collection of 37 cameras starts at 1,600 Euros (estimated at 3,000–3,500 Euros).

Marking the 100-year anniversary of Nikon, the coming auction features some high-carat specimens: a Nikon One, the first Nikon model of 1948, is offered in mint condition with its original box and instruction manual (Lot 312, starting bid 25,000 Euros, estimated at 50,000–55,000 Euros).

A one-of-its-kind object is the Nikon S3-M with the only known black motor. Only 50 or less of this Nikon half-format viewfinder camera were built around 1960 (Lot 317, starting bid 40,000, estimated at 80,000–100,000 Euros).

A special discovery, found in an attic in New Zealand, is the prototype of the first Olympus camera. In 1937 ten examples of the Olympus Standard were built and given the serial numbers 101 to 110. The recently discovered camera is in excellent condition and bears the serial number 107. Exactly this camera was shown in the Olympus advertisements in the November 1937 edition of Asahi Camera  (Lot 398, starting bid 18,000 Euros, estimated at 35,000–40,000 Euros).

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Stefan Musil
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