Monday, March 12, 2012
Auction: Photographic Masterworks by William Eggleston Sold to Benefit the Eggleston Artistic Trust, March 12, 2012 @Christie's
The reason this particular sale caught my attention is that I think it represents some topics worth talking about further. For those unfamiliar with what is going on here, this sale is an offering of extra large, recently made pigment prints (44x60 or reverse, in editions of 2), never before available in the market. Overall, there are a total of 36 lots available, with a total High estimate of $3350000. So not only do we have a process that Eggleston has never used before, we have an unprecedented use of scale, applied to a selection of images, both greatest hits and lesser known works. In addition, Eggleston is using the Damien Hirst model of direct to the collector via an auction house, bypassing the normal gallery route for new work.
Aside from a couple of prints which suffer from over enlargement graininess and fuzziness in certain spots, I was surprised to find that the prints are pretty terrific, in some cases downright spectacular. The colors are saturated and vibrant, with a thick, richness that I wasn't expecting. While the tricycle, the red ceiling, the green shower, and the peaches sign are, of course, all here, the really smart and unexpected aspect of these particular prints is that Eggleston seems to have thought carefully about which lesser known images would benefit most from increased scale. I'd say roughly half of the works for sale use this scale change for maximum effect. The low angle, worm's eye views are especially strong, as are the top down views of car hoods and trunks. The shiny brass doorknob is something altogether different in this larger size. And a huge front tire, with Eggleston himself reflected in the silvery chrome of the bumper, was my favorite of the non-obvious choices.
Here's the simple statistical breakdown:
Total Low Lots (high estimate up to and including $10000): 0
Total Low Estimate (sum of high estimates of Low lots): NA
Total Mid Lots (high estimate between $10000 and $50000): 7
Total Mid Estimate: $350000
Total High Lots (high estimate above $50000): 29
Total High Estimate: $3000000
The complete lot by lot catalog can be found here. The eCatalogue is here.
Photographic Masterworks by William Eggleston Sold to Benefit the Eggleston Artistic Trust
20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020