Auction Results: Classic & Contemporary Photographs, October 17, 2019 @Swann

The results of the recent combination fine/vernacular photographs sale at Swann were largely uneventful. While the top lot Irving Penn print did sell and there were plenty of positive surprises, with an overall Buy-In rate of just higher than a third, the Total Sale Proceeds fell below the low end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

The summary statistics are below (all results include the buyer’s premium):

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 429
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $1619200
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $2413550
Total Lots Sold 283
Total Lots Bought In 146
Buy In % 34.03%
Total Sale Proceeds $1488092

Here is the breakdown (using our typical Low, Mid, and High price range definitions):

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 387
Total Low Lots Sold 260
Total Low Lots Bought In 127
Low Buy In % 32.82%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $1601550
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $1057592
Mid Total Lots 41
Total Mid Lots Sold 22
Total Mid Lots Bought In 19
Mid Buy In % 46.34%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $692000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $336750
Total High Lots 1
Total High Lots Sold 1
Total High Lots Bought In 0
High Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $120000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $93750

The top lot by High estimate was lot 238, Irving Penn, Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948/1978, estimated at $80000-120000; it was also the top outcome of the sale at $93750 (image above, via Swann).

82.33% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 21 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate). Eight of these lots came in the vernacular imagery section (lot 335 Thailand, lot 348 Cyanotypes – California, lot 358 Water and Power – Colorado, lot 359 Reading, Pennsylvania – Coal Mining, lot 363 Worlds Fair – Underwood & Underwood, lot 367 New Zealand – Industry, lot 394 Vietnam War, lot 407 Homoerotica). The 13 positive surprises in fine photographs were as follows (images above via Swann):

Lot 28, Edward Curtis, The North American Indian, Portfolio IX (Puget Sound), 1913, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $13750

Lot 66, Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, 1936/1979, estimated at $4000-6000, sold at $12500

Lot 79, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gestapo informer recognized by a woman she had denounced, Dessau, Germany, 1945/1947, estimated at $8000-12000, sold at $42500

Lot 94, Maurice Guibert, Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892/c1900, estimated at $1800-2200, sold at $5250

Lot 102, Cecil Beaton, Designer Charles James fitting a garment on a model, 1951, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $10000

Lot 112, Saul Leiter, Jean Pearson, 1948/1980s, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6000

Lot 113, Barbara Morgan, Martha Graham – Letter to the World (Swirl), 1940/1970s, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6500

Lot 130, John R. Hamilton, Paul Newman, outside the door of his dressing room at Warner Bros Studio, on a break from filming The Left Handed Gun, 1958/1990s, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $7500

Lot 131, Annie Leibovitz, William Wegman with Fay Ray, 1988, estimated at $1200-1800, sold at $5000

Lot 231, Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled (house with roots), 1982, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $5000

Lot 232, Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled (philosopher’s desk), 1976, estimated at $1800-2200, sold at $6500

Lot 287, Bruce Davidson, Pair of photographs from the series Subway, 1985/1990, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $13750

Lot 319, Chris McCaw, Sunburned GSP #319 (Pacific Ocean), 2009, estimated at $3000-4500, sold at $11250

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Annie Leibovitz, Barbara Morgan, Bruce Davidson, Cecil Beaton, Chris McCaw, Dorothea Lange, Edward Curtis, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, Jerry Uelsmann, John R. Hamilton, Maurice Guibert, Saul Leiter, Swann Auction Galleries

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