Auction Results: The World of Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographs from the Personal Collection of Peter Fetterman, December 16, 2021 @Sotheby’s

The secondary market for later prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson is very liquid, with dozens of prints coming up for sale every season. And as result, there tend to be few surprises in the sales of these later prints, as the market knows well what the right values are, for both well known images and lesser known obscurities.

This sale of Cartier-Bresson prints from the collection of gallerist Peter Fetterman followed this pattern, with most of the prints settling into established ranges. The top lot was a larger-than-usual print of a winter scene from Hungary, which doubled its high estimate. Overall, the Buy-In rate was roughly a third, and the Total Sale Proceeds (of roughly $715K) came in just above 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 95
Aggregate Pre Sale Low Estimate $670000
Aggregate Pre Sale High Estimate $993000
Total Lots Sold 63
Total Lots Bought In 32
Buy In % 33.68%
Total Sale Proceeds $714042

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

Detailed Breakdown
Low Total Lots 62
Total Low Lots Sold 37
Total Low Lots Bought In 25
Low Buy In % 40.32%
Aggregate High Estimate of Low Lots $497000
Total Proceeds from Low Lots $285012
Mid Total Lots 33
Total Mid Lots Sold 26
Total Mid Lots Bought In 7
Mid Buy In % 21.21%
Aggregate High Estimate of Mid Lots $496000
Total Proceeds from Mid Lots $429030
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 36, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Natchez, Mississippi, 1947/later, estimated at $15000-25000; it sold at $25200. The top outcome of the sale was lot 82, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Győr, Hungary, 1964/later, estimated at $12000-18000, sold at $37800 (image above via Sotheby’s).

96.83% of the lots that sold had proceeds in or above the estimate range and there were a total of 2 positive surprises in the sale (defined as having proceeds of at least double the high estimate) (images above via Sotheby’s):

Lot 49, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Srinagar, India, 1948/later, estimated at $7000-10000, sold at $20160

Lot 82, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Győr, Hungary, 1964/later, estimated at $12000-18000, sold at $37800

The complete lot by lot results can be found here.

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