Highlights of the upcoming auction


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HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON (1908–2004)


‘Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare’, Paris 1932


Gelatin silver print, printed in the late 1950s, early oversized exhibition print
55,2 x 39,2 cm
Photographer's reproduction stamp on the reverse

Mysterious, surreal and one of his most famous pictures: a man takes a leap in order to cross an immense puddle on the Place de l’Europe in Paris – and is fixed in mid-leap by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Structured by a baffling interplay of geometrical forms, this image can be considered a masterpiece of the photographic self-concept for which Cartier-Bresson coined a much-quoted formula thirty years later, using the expression of the “decisive moment”. It implies the conscious yet intuitive selection of a scene, the credo of perfect composition, eschewing artificial light and telephoto lenses, and respect for one’s surroundings. Thus, the Magnum co-founder and legendary Leica photographer revolutionised 20th century photography – in this case with his first Leica, a Leica I Mod. A he had bought in Marseilles in 1932 – the same year this picture was taken. The key image is on offer as an early large format-print from the late 1950s.

Startprice: EUR 15,000
Estimates: EUR 25,000 - 30,000

ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ (1894–1985)


‘Satiric Dancer’, Paris 1926

Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1970
24,8 x 19,7 cm
Signed, annotated and dated by the photographer on the reverse

Startprice: EUR 6,000
Estimates: EUR 10,000 - 12,000

VALIE EXPORT (* 1940)


‘Aktionshose: Genitalpanik‘ (Action Pants: Genital Panic), 1969

Vintage silver print
40,3 x 30 cm
Artist's stamp on the reverse, signed by the artist in the late 1980s in pencil on the reverse, photo by Peter Hassmann

As part of her 1968 feminist performance Aktionshose: Genitalpanik, VALIE EXPORT visited a Munich cinema wearing pants that were open at the crotch, walking through the auditorium with her genitals exposed at eye level. The legendary series of photographs was created about a year later. The images show EXPORT in the pants described above, posing with a machine gun and tousled hair. The artist presents herself in typically male-connoted gestures whose symbolism is reinforced by the phallic symbol of the weapon. Thus, EXPORT transforms the male view of women by deconstructing the usual female image and sending the message that she as a woman has the freedom to take power and determine the fate of her own body. At the time, EXPORT had the photographs produced as screen-printed posters and mounted in public spaces. The photographs are world-famous icons of feminism and Austrian art history. Even the posters, which were produced in a relatively large print-run, have become sought-after collector’s items today. The present vintage print, however, is a rare early silver gelatin print signed on the back by EXPORT herself.

Startprice: EUR 18,000
Estimates: EUR 28,000 - 32,000

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON (1908–2004)


Henri Matisse, Vence February 1944

Vintage silver print
17,5 x 25 cm
Photographer‘s agency credit stamp, his “MENTION OBLIGATOIRE” stamp
and several handwritten notations on the reverse

The French painter Henri Matisse has been forever fixed in our minds by Cartier-Bresson. The picture shows the painter at his home, the "Villa Le Rêve", surrounded by birds and his head draped by a turban. The photograph reveals Matisse’s two greatest passions – painting and pigeons, but it does not show the energetic, vivid Matisse remembered by many of his contemporaries. Although it was taken in 1944, ten years before the master’s death, Matisse was already a broken man. In 1939, he and his wife of 41 years had separated. In 1941 he underwent a colostomy, which confined him to a wheelchair. Cartier-Bresson deeply admired Matisse who later designed the glorious jacket of his photo book classic The Decisive Moment. The present photograph is a rare vintage print bearing Cartier-Bresson’s very early agency stamp, which was used between 1951-1952, on the reverse.

Startprice: EUR 4,000
Estimates: EUR 7,000 - 9,000


ALFONS WALDE (1891–1958)


Nude back view, Kitzbühel c. 1925

Vintage silver print
10,6 x 6,6 cm
Signed by the estate executor Michael Walde-Berger on the reverse, comes with certificate of authenticity

In December 2014 a cultural-historical sensation was presented for the first time at the photography museum WestLicht in Vienna: Alfons Walde’s erotic photographs. The world-famous landscape painter was revealed as a masterful photographer – with a focus on female nudes. His settings range from classical poses of traditional art history to erotically charged, partially pornographic scenes. Especially the early black-and-white photographs are reminiscent of Egon Schiele and Koloman Moser. This auction features no less than four of these, all of them vintage prints from the artist’s estate. Two of the nudes photographed from behind show Hilda, Walde’s first wife, whom he married in 1925. Walde’s predilection was to take photographs from behind, as this allowed him to keep the model’s identity a secret. The erotic scene shows Walde’s wife with a friend of the family and was shot at Walde’s house “Am Hahnenkamm”. Walde later immortalised the motif in a pastel drawing.

Startprice: EUR 2,000
Estimates: EUR 3,000 - 4,000

ROBERT CAPA (1913–1954)


Naples, October 1943

Vintage silver print
24,2 x 19 cm
Photographer‘s agency stamp, reproduction stamp and several handwritten
notations on the reverse

Women crying at the funeral of twenty teenaged partisans who had fought the Germans before the Allies entered the city. They were killed 4 days before the liberation of Naples (October 2nd, 1943).


Startprice: EUR 2,400
Estimates: EUR 4,000 - 5,000

JOHN THOMSON (1837–1921)

 

A set of 12 early images of China and its people, c. 1868

12 albumen prints, all mounted on their original cardboards
majority c. 27 x 21 cm
Each of them annotated on the mount, some of them numbered in the image

From 1868 to 1872, Thomson assembled his masterful documentation of China. His extensive travels took him throughout the Foochow region, on a three-thousand mile journey along the Yangzi, and to the western plains of Taiwan and the southern port cities of Canton and Hong Kong, often with his dog as his only companion. The present rare group of albumen prints reveals beautiful images of a forgotten China, illustrating the country's lost society, landscapes and cityscapes. Of the present 12 views two outstanding genre pictures are perhaps the most remarkable: one showing workers on deck of a junk in Hong Kong, the other one depicting poor residents in front of their accommodation in the province of Canton. Thomson mentioned both images in his travel journal (Stephen White (ed.), John Thomson. Life and Photographs, Milan 1985, p. 188.) which emphasizes their importance.  Thomson’s images are some of the earliest pioneering survey photographs of China. Not much escaped his camera. Language barriers, local authorities, and a bulky wet plate camera with fragile glass plates and potentially explosive chemicals never stopped him. His travel photographs are remarkable because of their range of subject matter and the exceptionally high quality of the images. Thomson is with good reasons one of the great figures of nineteenth-century photography.

Startprice: EUR 4,000
Estimates: EUR 8,000 - 10,000

ALEXANDER RODCHENKO (1891–1956)


The sculptor Anton Lavinsky, USSR 1924

Vintage silver print
8,7 x 11,5 cm
Photographer’s stamp on the reverse, the front showing Rodchenko’s crop
marks

Startprice: EUR 5,000
Estimates: EUR 8,000 - 10,000

ALEXANDER RODCHENKO (1891–1956)


Lilya Brik, USSR 1924

Gelatin silver print, printed in the 1950s / early 1960s
8,3 x 11,4 cm
Annotated “A. Rodchenko. Portrait of Lily Brik. 1924” on the reverse

Alexander Rodchenko acquired his first camera in early 1924, and from then to the end of his life he was never to be seen without it. The majority of his photo-portraits date from the years 1924 – 1928. They represent mainly people from the Left Front of Art (LEF) editorial board and their acquaintances. Rodchenko’s photo sessions differed a lot from those of traditional photo studios of the past with their sterile mannerism. In his portraits Rodchenko wanted to visualize the dynamism of a new intelligentsia and the creativity of people whose ideas and aspirations were close to him. He often photographed them as individuals, some lost in their thoughts, like filmmaker Vitaly Zhemchuzhny, some inspired by their future projects, like constructivist and sculptor Anatoly Lavinsky with his works in the background. Many photographs of his wife, Varvara Stepanova, whom he photographed throughout his entire lifetime, can be seen from these perspectives as well.
The close-up portrait of Rodchenko’s friend Lilya Brik from 1924, with its unusual cropping and direct gaze and smile, shows the close relationship between sitter and photographer. All these masterpieces clearly testify to Rodchenko’s innovations in photography and his interest in shooting not just anonymous models, but individuals and friends whose ideas and ideals he appreciated and shared.

Startprice: EUR 8,000
Estimates: EUR 14,000 - 16,000

 

OSVALDO SALAS (1914–1992)


A group of signed 92 photographs,  1950-1989

92 gelatin silver prints, printed in the 1980s
c. 40 x 30 cm (44)
c. 32 x 23 cm (15)
c. 24 x 20 cm (33)
All of them signed by the photographer in ink on the reverse, the majority dated and annotated by the photographer in ink on the reverse

The present substantial collection contains 92 gelatin silver prints; all of them are in excellent condition and signed by Osvaldo Salas on the reverse. The photographs were printed by Salas himself in his apartment in Havana in the 1980s, and acquired by the present owner directly from the photographer. Salas is known mainly for his photographs of the Cuban revolution. Especially notable are some outstanding portraits of Che Guevara (5 prints) and Fidel Castro (4 prints) which are part of this lot. All of them are printed in an imposing 40 x 30 cm format. The lot also contains street scenes and portrayals of simple everyday life in Cuba. Further of note is an interesting group of portraits including images of Nicolás Guillén (Cuba’s national poet), Maurice Chevalier, Bob Feller (a Cleveland Indians pitcher), Ted Williams, Gabriel García Márquez, the world champion boxers Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano 2, Loipa Araujo (a ballerina), Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Geraldine Chaplin, Arturo Sandoval, Yolanda Montez, Julio Cortázar (a writer) and Wilfredo Lam (a Cuban artist).

Startprice: EUR 18,000
Estimates: EUR 25,000 - 30,000

MANUEL ÁLVAREZ BRAVO (1902–2002)


'La Desvendada’ (The Unbandaged), Mexico 1938

Platinum print on paper, printed in the 1980s
22,1 x 15,4 cm
Signed by the photographer in the margin

Startprice: EUR 3,000
Estimates: EUR 5,000 - 6,000

TRUDE FLEISCHMANN (1895–1990)


The dancer Claire Bauroff, Vienna c. 1925


Vintage silver print
22,2 x 13 cm
Photographer‘s studio blindstamp in the image lower left, annotated by the
photographer on the reverse

Startprice: EUR 1,200
Estimates: EUR 2,000 - 2,400

ROY SCHATT (1909–2002)

 

’James Dean looking out the window’, New York 1954


Gelatin silver print, printed in the 1970s?
20 x 19 cm
Signed by the photographer in the margin, photographer‘s studio stamp on
the reverse

Stratprice: EUR 1,800
Estimates: EUR 2,500 - 3,000

AUGUST SANDER (1876–1964)


Girl in Fairground Caravan, Cologne 1926-32


Gelatin silver print, printed in 1992 by Gerd Sander
26 x 19,9 cm
With the “Aug. Sander Köln Lindenthal” blindstamp lower left, signed by Gerd
Sander on the reverse, edition no. 12/12

Both photographs are classic images belonging to Sander’s epochal pictorial atlas People of the 20th Century, in which he gathered hundreds of perfectly arranged portraits of people from different professions and levels of society to document a cross-section of Weimar Germany. They were printed in an excellent manner by Gerd Sander in a small edition of 12.
The photograph Girl in Fairground Caravan is from the portfolio entitled ‘Travelling People – Fair and Circus’ within the project’s sixth group, ‘The City’. It presents an example of Sander’s supreme skill in creating a striking composition. Rather than positioning the girl in front of the caravan wagon, he had her remain sheltered, holding a key in a locked door. Lace-edged window curtains reflect an attempt to make this roaming wagon – probably the only home this girl has ever known – a comfortable environment. Behind her is a mysterious world, not to be revealed to the viewer. As one historian has remarked, "a suggestive, almost tantalizing narrative unfolds: of freedom and confinement, security and danger, things visible and hidden."


Startprice: EUR 3,600
Estimates: EUR 5,000 - 6,000

WERNER BISCHOF (1916–1954)


Angkor Vat, Cambodia 1952


Vintage silver print
17,2 x 25,2 cm
Photographer‘s agency stamp and several handwritten notations on the
reverse

Startprice: EUR 1,800
Estimates: EUR 2,500 - 3,000

MARC RIBOUD (* 1923)


China, 1965


Silbergelatine-Abzug, Vintage
25,2 x 17,1 cm
Rücks. Fotografenstempel und diverse Beschriftungen

Startpreis: EUR 1,400
Schätzpreis: EUR 2,000 - 2,500

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON (1908–2004)

 

Rangoon, Burma 1948


Vintage silver print
25,2 x 17,5 cm
Photographer's stamp on the reverse, published in Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, Paris 1952

Startprice: EUR 3,600
Estimates: EUR 5,000 - 7,000

VLADIMIR (1899–1982) / GEORGI STENBERG (1890–1933)


Montage for cinema poster ‘The General’, starring Buster Keaton, USSR 1927

Vintage silver print
14,8 x 9,6 cm
Annotated on the reverse

In 1927 the Stenberg Brothers designed two posters for the Hollywood comedy The General, starring Buster Keaton. By that time the artists were already well-established members of the Russian avant-garde movement. They raised the art of poster work to its highest level. The present photograph is a montage print and unique template for one of the poster subjects. As they were familiar with many photography techniques, they used photo-montages and collages as preparation studies for their drafts. Though their posters look like photo-collages, the final versions were actually illustrated. Homemade special projectors allowed them to enlarge film stills, which they redrew and combined with other elements. The use of non-Cyrillic typography (though the N is rendered as an H) to create Buster's suit is just one of many examples of the Stenbergs' inventive use of type. The overlaying of the elements, such as the train crossing the hero, creates a feeling of space. Poster art has never again achieved the effectiveness and importance it had in the Soviet Union under the Stenberg Brothers.


Startprice: EUR 6,000
Estimates: EUR 10,000 - 12,000