Auction Results: Eugène Atget Photographs Sold by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, December 6, 2022 @Hindman

The single artist collection of prints by Eugène Atget on offer at Hindman earlier this week didn’t deliver the splash that it might have. The provenance for the prints was solid – originally owned by Berenice Abbott, then in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, before ending up at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – but the outcomes were generally soft. While the overall Buy-In rate was an impressive 2% (just one lot failed to find a buyer), there were few positive surprises, and worse, more than 70% of the lots that did sell did so below their affordable estimate ranges. In the end, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $95K) just cleared the 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 42
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $93800
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $154200
Total Lots Sold 41
Total Lots Bought In 1
Buy In % 2.38%
Total Sale Proceeds $95347

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 42
Total Low Lots Sold 41
Total Low Lots Bought In 1
Low Buy In % 2.38%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $154200
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $95347
Mid Total Lots 0
Total Mid Lots Sold NA
Total Mid Lots Bought In NA
Mid Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $0
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $0
Total High Lots 0
Total High Lots Sold NA
Total High Lots Bought In NA
High Buy In % NA
Aggregate High Estimate of High Lots $0
Total Proceeds from High Lots $0

The top lot by High estimate was tied between five lots, each estimated at $4000-6000: lot 1, Eugène Atget, A group of six photographs depicting early 20th Century Parisian architectural details, 1903-1904, 1905, 1905-1906, 1907, 1911; lot 14, Eugène Atget, A group of four photographs depicting Paris, 1926; lot 28, Eugène Atget, A group of five photographs, 1909; lot 32, Eugène Atget, A group of four photographs, 1901, 1908, 1911-1912; and lot 37, Eugène Atget, A group of five photographs depicting the grounds of Versailles, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1906. None of these lots was the top outcome of the sale, with the results from these five respectively as did not sell, $3438, $3438, $1625, and $3750. The top outcome was lot 12, Eugène Atget, A group of four photographs, 1902, 1907, 1925, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $8125 (image above, via Hindman).

Even with very modest estimates, only 29.27% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 4 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Hindman):

Lot 12, Eugène Atget, A group of four photographs, 1902, 1907, 1925, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $8125

Lot 18, Eugène Atget, Fête de la Villette, 1926, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $5625

Lot 35, Eugène Atget, Hôtel du Maréchal de Tallard, rue des Archives 78, 1901-1902, estimated at $1000-2000, sold at $5000

Lot 40, Eugène Atget, A pair of photographs depicting trees, Saint-Cloud, 1921, 1926, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $5625

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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