Auction Results: The Eye That Shapes: Further Selections from the Peter C. Bunnell Collection, February 1, 2023 @Phillips (online)

Phillips got the 2023 auction year for photography going earlier this week with an early season, no reserve sale of works from the collection of former MoMA and Princeton University Art Museum curator Peter Bunnell. Filled with some unexpected prints from Minor White and others active in the 1960s and 1970s, the modest sale generally performed to expectations. A pair of works by Naomi Savage from the late 1960s took the top lot honors, and with no reserves to limit the action, every lot found a buyer. When the dust settled, the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $130K) fell in the middle 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 $111300
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $168700
Total Lots Sold 42
Total Lots Bought In 0
Buy In % 0.00%
Total Sale Proceeds $130350

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 42
Total Low Lots Sold 42
Total Low Lots Bought In 0
Low Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $168700
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $130350
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 lot 3, Minor White, Peeled Paint, Rochester, New York, 1959, estimated at $6000-8000; it sold at $7500, but was not the top outcome of the sale. That honor went to lot 34, Naomi Savage, Selected Variants: Enmeshed Man, 1966-1968, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $8000 (image above via Phillips).

Just 64.29% 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 Phillips):

Lot 33, Jerry Uelsmann, Rock-Tree, 1969, estimated at 700-900, sold at $2200

Lot 34, Naomi Savage, Selected Variants: Enmeshed Man, 1966-1968, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $8000

Lot 36, Bea Nettles, Pleasant Pasture II, 1969, estimated at $700-1000, sold at $4000

Lot 40, Lynton Wells, Six Wizards (Italian Bellflowers), 1976, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $3200

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Bea Nettles, Jerry Uelsmann, Lynton Wells, Naomi Savage, Phillips

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