The 114-lot sale includes images of fashion, celebrity and history by some of the most well known artists in the field; estimates range from £3,000 to £80,000.
One of the most important moments in 20th century history, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas on 22 November 1963 was captured on film by amateur cameraman Abraham Zapruder (1905-1970). A series of stills made from the film by the Associated Press agency were distributed to press, with few originals surviving to the present day. Appearing on the international market for what is thought to be the first time is a set of six original 1963 prints by AP, including an image of Jackie Kennedy climbing from the back seat of the car in desperation to escape the gunfire (estimate: £5,000-7,000).
Irving Penn’s (b. 1917) image of the world’s first supermodel Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn taken for Vogue in 1950 (estimate: £80,000-120,000) has become one of the most celebrated in Penn’s oeuvre, achieving a deserved status as the quintessence of high fashion refinement.
A contrasting notion of beauty is gloriously expressed in Lisette Model’s (1899-1983) photographs of a powerfully-built woman on the beach at Coney Island in 1940. A picture from the series Coney Island Bather, New York, (estimate: £20,000-30,000) was published in Harper’s Bazaar in 1941 as a vivid counterpoint to the artifices of fashion.
Further fashion highlights include Richard Avedon’s (1923-2004) portfolio Avedon/Paris, published 1978 (estimate: £80,000-120,000) which was a gift from the photographer to Randal Levenson, master printer of the portfolio. This group brings together Avedon’s most electrifying images made on location in Paris during his early years as a photographer -- a time in which he arguably re-invented the language of fashion photography. Also by Avedon is one of his last big fashion shoots In Memory of the Late Mr & Mrs Comfort: A Fable in 24 Episodes, (estimate: £20,000-30,000) taken for The New Yorker in 1995. Appearing at auction for the first time, this remarkable suite of images is infused with the twinned themes of beauty and death – a constant presence in Avedon’s work.
Photographs by emerging contemporary artists include Israeli-born Michal Chelbin’s (b. 1974) evocative Alicia, Ukraine, 2005 (estimate: £3,000-5,000) and Dutch-born Ruud van Empel’s (b. 1958) captivating Moon #1, 2005 (estimate: £6,000-8,000).
The Christie’s South Kensington sale of Photographs on 21 November 2007 features 131 lots with estimates starting from £1,000, presenting the ideal opportunity for new collectors to enter the field. With photographs covering a myriad of genres and by a host of established photographers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész and Peter Beard, the possibilities for assembling a collection are endless.