Thursday, December 4, 2008

Auction: Photographic Literature & Photographs, December 11, 2008 @Swann

It was only a handful of years ago that Swann Galleries had its first sale of photo books, and now Photographic Literature has become a category of its own and many of the auction houses are getting in on the action. This sale is a hybrid, with a combination of rare books (291 lots) and photographs (110 lots) on offer. The total high estimate for the sale is $1233650 (plus one lot with price on request).

Here's the overall price breakdown:

Total Low Lots (high estimate below $10000): 384
Total Low Estimate (sum of high estimates of Low lots): $878650

Total Mid Lots (high estimate between $10000 and $50000): 15
Total Mid Estimate: $280000

Total High Lots (high estimate above $50000): 2
Total High Estimate: $75000

While there aren't any photographs in this sale that really catch our eye, there are plenty of photo books that we would love to have for our library. We are constantly adding both new and old books to our shelves, but there are many iconic books that have remained elusive or just too expensive (in our minds) to justify adding them to our collection. We're not hung up on books being in perfect condition, or signed, or first edition, or owned by someone else famous; we just want a good clean copy as reference, so many of the books in this sale are more than we really need.

That said, all of the following are missing from our shelves and would be very welcome additions:
  • Lot 21 Lewis Baltz, Candlestick Point
  • Lot 48 Harry Callahan, Photographs (El Mochuelo Gallery)
  • Lot 100 Lee Friedlander, Flowers and Trees
  • Lot 106 Jaromir Funke, Fotografie
  • Lot 124 Eikoh Hosoe, Embrace
  • Lot 135 Andre Kertesz, Day of Paris
  • Lot 205 Ed Ruscha, Every Building on the Sunset Strip
  • Lot 206 Ed Ruscha, Thirtyfour Parking Lots
  • Lot 209 Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations
  • Lot 234 Aaron Siskind, Photographs (Horizon)
  • Lot 252 Hiroshi Sugimoto, Theaters
  • Lot 259 Shomei Tomatsu, Oo! Shinjuku
  • Lot 278 Edward Weston, Photographs (Conger)
My guess is that if we owned the books above, we'd be able to find another dozen in this sale that we would want as well (the library is never exhaustive enough). Photo books make great gifts, so get in there and do some holiday shopping.
December 11

104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

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