Perspective Classic Photographs Los Angeles 2015: Michael Lee/Lee Gallery

Editor’s Note: The Classic Photographs Los Angeles fair held last weekend was one we unfortunately couldn’t attend in person, but we asked Michael Lee from Massachusetts-based Lee Gallery (here) to gather up his image highlights as a proxy for actually walking the halls ourselves. Michael also provided us with his perspective on Paris Photo last fall (here).

On the surface, Classic Photographs Los Angeles looks like a regional art fair. Visitors are typically from California, and many of them come from Los Angeles itself. The draw of sunny, 75 degree weather, and a dynamic group of national and international dealers however, makes CPLA a wonderful event for the broader photographic community. Influential curators make the trip to the fair annually, including Keith Davis (Nelson-Atkins Musuem) and Britt Salveson (LACMA) among others. What’s more, the fair has taken on a more global character with the addition of international new-comers High Noon Gallery (Beijing), Admira Photography (Milan) and James Hyman Gallery (London). CPLA is the classic photography world’s winter hang out.

I was tasked by Collector Daily to select a picture from each exhibiting gallery at Classic Photographs Los Angeles in order to highlight and describe what was on view. The project led to many fascinating conversations with my colleagues about photographs that I otherwise would not have had a chance to discuss. Through this exercise I realized the best part of CPLA – the low key atmosphere of the fair is incredibly conducive to learning about art. Of course, there’s an abundance of material in each booth at the fair, but there is also the time and space to really be able to engage with dealers over works of art.

Below are my selections from this year’s fair:

Gallery 19/21 (here): Rich tones make this flowering cherry tree jump off the page. Eugène Atget, priced at $30000.

Admira Photography (here): Being that the fair was located in Hollywood, I couldn’t resist this enigmatic portrait of the great italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. The photographer, Tazio Secchiaroli, was one of the first papparazzi and an inspiration for Fellini’s film, La Dolce Vita. Taken in 1972, and priced at $1650.

Nailya Alexander Gallery (here): A new work by gallery artist Alexey Titarenko. The long exposure and laborious gold toning provides an interesting take on New York street photography. Nailya says each print can take up to a week to make. I like the quiet feel of a busy city. This work is from 2013 and priced at $7000.

Deborah Bell Photographs (no website): High contrast, and grainy experimentalism in this piece showcase the self-taught Dutch photographer G. P Fieret’s loose, lively, and unconventional style. This print stood out as a striking departure from much of what we are used to seeing in 1960s photography. Stamped three times by the artist, and priced at $8500.

Joseph Bellows Gallery (here): Classic Route 66 Americana, described in the signature, no frills style of the New Topographics. John Schott, priced at $10000.

Stephen Bulger Gallery (here): Steve had a spectacular display on his wall of vintage street photographs by Lutz Dille. Dille was a German who fled to Canada during the war and eventually became a cinematographer. Like Walker Evans shooting the Subway Portraits, Dille believed that the camera should be part of the body, and therefore never held it above his shoulder blades. This 1962 image of people walking by a movie theater was priced at $3500.

Michael Dawson Gallery (here): This print is a fine example of early Weston portraiture at the apex of his pictorialist-inspired aesthetic. The luxurious tones and soft colors were perfect for a 20s platinum/palladium print. Adding a pretty model and whispy light elements, I would say this is the value buy of the fair. Priced at $8000.

Gary Edwards Gallery (here): A classic view of Yosemite with strong tones shows the majesty of the western landscape as seen through 19th century eyes. Carleton Watkins, printed by Taber, priced at $1000.

Etherton Gallery (here): Thousands of balloons flying above echo turned heads in the crowd below. This classic image of a Central Park peace demonstration by Garry Winogrand buzzes with life.

Peter Fetterman Gallery (here): Vibrant colored rolls of fabric set the right tone for the lovely and elegant model Dovima. William Helburn, “Dovima under the El”, 1956.

Gitterman Gallery (here): Solarization makes mid-century glamour surreal. Edmund Teske, priced at $7500.

Charles A. Hartman Fine Art (here): Young lovers on a summer day. The pair’s Rush and ACDC t-shirts play nicely against the sensitive and sincere description of the photograph. Mark Steinmetz, priced at $2000.

Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc. (here): A scale-shifting still-life reduces a three foot tall Mexican sculpture onto a photographic print with truly luxurious tonalities. This vintage palladium print from 1926 by Edward Weston is the only such known of this image. Priced at $85000.

High Noon Gallery (here): In his work titled “Memory Lost”, Lu Yanpeng creates meditative narratives inspired by his childhood. Moody and enigmatic, priced at $1350 each.

James Hyman Gallery (here): James brought a fine selection of both 19th and 20th century pictures from London. My eye kept focusing on a late Bill Brandt nude from 1978. We had previously owned a similar posed interior nude by Brandt but this picture was cranked up a notch, showing the textures of the beach and more of the nude. The print had heavy retouching in her hair which is important to the use of the work and an element I find almost necessary when I buy. Priced at $18000.

Klotz Gallery (here): A late Walker Evans of London, I found this picture to be another example of influence that Robert Frank and Walker Evans had on each other. A great discovery, as I very rarely see Evans work from London. Priced at $24000.

Robert Koch Gallery (here): Bob was very kind to spend some time showing me photographs by Hungarian artist János Szász. I chose “Movie Hall” from 1970 for its bold abstraction and cinematic quality. Priced at $6500.

Kopeikin Gallery (here): Space and scale are distorted and destabilized in this always-intriguing Ralph Steiner, priced at $7800.

Lee Gallery (here): Humor and conceptualism combine in a reverse-photobomb from the pre-selfie world. Mike Mandel (from Myself: Timed Exposures), priced at $5000.

Laurence Miller Gallery (here): New collaborative work by gallery artist Denis Darzacq and ceramist Anna Lüneman. These unique works play the permanence of a ceramic sculpture against the ephemeral qualities of a digital photograph. The gallery’s best selling artist for the fair, priced at $3800.

Richard Moore Photographs (here): I always like seeing this Garry Winogrand image made on the Staten Island Ferry. Though not one of his most wild and chaotic images, Winogrand still finds a way to pack this picture with details, narratives, and photographic moments. Priced at $10000.

Nazraeli Press (here): John Divola, San Fernando Valley. An exquisite slipcased book documenting quintessential Los Angeles in the 1970s. The pictures of people watering their sidewalks in the Valley provide a wonderful time capsule. Priced at $250.

Scott Nichols Gallery (here): This photograph of The Who playing in San Francisco in 1976 by Michael Zagaris features not only the rock and roll energy of Roger Daltry, but also young budding photography dealer Scott Nichols, throwing his hands up in the second row. Priced at $2000.

William Schaeffer (no website): It was a treat to see such a rare early American landscape with such rich tonalities. A. J. Russell, “Great Falls, Potomac River,” 1864.

Barry Singer Gallery (here): This vintage, mounted (and very large) exhibition print by Joe Schwartz provides us with an early and atypical example of civil rights photography. The image depicts one of the first black women to protest Woolworth’s policies in the 1940s. Priced at $5500.

Vintage Works (here): Grasse depicted through Cézanne-like visual layering. Charles Nègre, priced at $25000.

Winter Works on Paper (here): You can count on David Winter to display a broad and democratic group of photographs, full of great finds. This press print by an unknown-maker gives pause for reflection on American culture and values during the King years.

Read more about: Alexey Titarenko, Andrew J. Russell, Bill Brandt, Carleton Watkins, Charles Nègre, Denis Darzacq, Edmund Teske, Edward Weston, Eugène Atget, Garry Winogrand, Gerard Petrus Fieret, János Szász, Joe Schwartz, John Divola, John Schott, Lu Yanpeng, Lutz Dille, Mark Steinmetz, Michael Zagaris, Mike Mandel, Ralph Steiner, Tazio Secchiaroli, Walker Evans, William Helburn, Admira Photography, Alan Klotz Gallery, Barry Singer Gallery, Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, Deborah Bell Photographs, Etherton Gallery, Gallery 19/21, Gary Edwards Gallery, Gitterman Gallery, High Noon Gallery, James Hyman Gallery, Joseph Bellows Gallery, Kopeikin Gallery, Laurence Miller Gallery, Lee Gallery, Michael Dawson Gallery, Nailya Alexander Gallery, Paul M. Hertzmann Inc., Peter Fetterman Gallery, Richard Moore Photographs, Robert Koch Gallery, Scott Nichols Gallery, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Vintage Works, Ltd, William L. Schaeffer Photographs, Winter Works on Paper, Classic Photographs Los Angeles, Nazraeli Press

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