Evocative photographs of people and scenes created by leading lights of the world of photography from the 19th century to the present day are to be sold in 175 lots at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions‘ London sale of Fine Photographs and Photobooks.
Highlights include fifty-two hand-coloured albumen prints of Japan from the 1860s-90s by a range of photographers including Felice Beato (1832- 1909), who was renowned for his views and panoramas of the architecture and landscapes of East Asia. The lot includes portraits of tradesmen, geishas and street sellers and rare prints of hara-kiri and crucifixion, as well as street scenes and landscapes of Nagasaki, Kamamura and Tokyo.The sale includes fascinating and vivid pictures of New York by various photographers such as William Gordon Shields with his iconic image of Brooklyn Bridge, 1916 and William Klein, Staten Island Ferry, 1955. Klein commented on photographing the city, “The kinetic quality of New York, the kids, dirt, madness – I tried to find a photographic style that would come close to it. So I would be grainy and contrasted and black. I’d crop, blur, play with the negatives. I didn’t see clean technique being right for New York. I could imagine my pictures lying in the gutter like the New York Daily News.”Also featured is The New York Telephone Building, 1936, by Berenice Abbott. Abbott, an American, is known for capturing the city and chronicling the buildings and neighbourhoods of Manhattan, many of which are no longer in existence. Social Patron (1948) by Louis Faurer serves as another lively snapshot of the city.
An engaging photograph of G. F. Watts, the Victorian painter, sculptor and Royal Academician, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815- 1879) is another sale highlight. The work of Julia Margaret Cameron was recently recognised in a dedicated exhibition held at the V&A. This print was originally in a scrapbook belonging to the artist Edward Clifford which was gifted by Clifford to Henry Blackwell Harris, one of the founders of the Oriental Ceramics Society, who had lodged with him in his Kensington Square flat from 1898 until his death in 1907.The May auction also includes works by Elsbeth Juda (1911 – 2014). Relatively little was known about Juda until her first major exhibition at the age of 98 which reflected on an accomplished career of 45 years. Juda worked for The Ambassador magazine in London, a publication her husband launched after the pair fled Nazi Germany. She was also a respected portraitist, photographing many artist friends such as Norman Parkinson and Graham Sutherland. A key highlight is a portrait of Henry Moore in his studio at Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, 1953, titled King and Queen. Juda was also asked to photograph Winston Churchill to provide visual references for Graham Sutherland’s portrait of the former Prime Minister, commissioned by the Houses of Parliament for his 80th birthday.A striking photograph of a down-to-earth 19- year-old Marilyn Monroe, then known as Norma Jean Baker, by Hungarian-Romanian photographer, Andre De Dienes (1913-1985) is a stand-out portrait from the auction (see below).
Additional celebrity portraiture is well represented with a number of iconic portraits from a private collection including Madonna, True Blue, 1986, by fashion photographer Herb Ritts; a beautiful photograph of Claudia Schiffer by Ellen Von Unwerth; Annie Leibovitz’s portrait of Meg Ryan on the beach, 1995; and Michelle Pfeiffer by Terry O’Neill, 2010.
Four photographs by French photographer Yan Morvan are also presented. This series was unknown until a recent exhibition which explored the experience of this famous war-photographer in a suburban bike gang in the 1970s. These ‘bad boys’ of the time are captured in their more intimate environment and reflect a very outrageous and still beautiful representation of a rebellious French youth from a few decades ago.Works by the following photography masters also appear: Felix Bonflis, Cecil Beaton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Julius Shulman, Paul Strand, Ruth Bernhard, Mario Giacomelli, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Ansel Adams, Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry and many others.The sale takes place on May 18, and here are a few more highlights.(All images are courtesy of Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions)