Auction Results: The Virginia Zabriskie Collection, September 21, 2021 @Swann

I’ve been at this effort of thinking and writing about photography for long enough now that the name Virginia Zabriskie isn’t just an anonymous name on an auction catalog. I met and visited with Zabriskie several times in the late 2000s, when she was nearing the end of her career as a gallerist but still putting on smart shows, including photography, at her small space in the Fuller building. We talked about the photographs of Ralston Crawford (which I saw for the first time at her gallery), Lisette Model, Tomoko Sawada, and others she was showing, and we crossed paths at the ADAA art fair now and again in those years. She passed away in 2019.

This sale gathered up a variety of works from her inventory and personal collection, with a decent dose of photography. The results were dominated by a Man Ray photographic object, which more than doubled its high estimate. Overall, the Buy-In rate for photography was a respectable 22% and with more than a handful of positive surprises, the Total Sale Proceeds for photography came in above the high end of the aggregate pre-sale estimate range.

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

Summary Statistics
Total Lots 67
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $221500
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $323650
Total Lots Sold 52
Total Lots Bought In 15
Buy In % 22.39%
Total Sale Proceeds $365784

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 63
Total Low Lots Sold 48
Total Low Lots Bought In 15
Low Buy In % 23.81%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $211650
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $160409
Mid Total Lots 3
Total Mid Lots Sold 3
Total Mid Lots Bought In 0
Mid Buy In % 0.00%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $52000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $44375
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 $60000
Total Proceeds from High Lots $161000

The top photography lot by High estimate was lot 122, Man Ray, Perpetual Motif, 1922-33/1970-71, estimated at $40000-60000; it was also the top photography outcome of the sale at $161000 (image above, via Swann).

71.15% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 8 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Swann):

Lot 84, Ilse Bing, Tours, France, 1935, estimated at $2500-3500, sold at $10000

Lot 88, Brassaï, Matisse, Sketching, 1944, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $4500

Lot 93, François Kollar, Lilas Blanc1932, estimated at $1500-2500, sold at $5250

Lot 118, Man Ray, La Photographie n’est pas l’Art, 1937, estimated at $1000-1500, sold at $5750

Lot 122, Man Ray, Perpetual Motif, 1922-33/1970-71, estimated at $40000-60000, sold at $161000

Lot 135, Alexander Liberman, Marcel Duchamp’s Hands, New York City, 1959-60/1960s, estimated at $700-1000, sold at $2250

Lot 161, Paul Strand, Lupin, the Garden, Orgeval, 1959, estimated at $6000-9000, sold at $25000

Lot 280, Harry Callahan, Morocco, 1981, estimated at $2000-3000, sold at $6000

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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Read more about: Alexander Liberman, Brassaï (Gyula Halász), Francois Kollar, Harry Callahan, Ilse Bing, Man Ray, Paul Strand, Swann Auction Galleries

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