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Photographs auction at Christie's London

Photographs auction at Christie's London - Over 90 lots of the finest examples of 19th and 20th century photography to be offered at Christie's King Street 'Photographs' auction

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The sale features works by 20th century luminaries such as Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and Helmut Newton, with estimates ranging from 1,500 to 120,000.

Leading the sale is Helmut Newtons life-size Big Nude III, Paris, 1980 (estimate: 80,000-120,000). The Big Nude series was inspired by photographs Newton had seen of the offices of the German specialist anti-terrorist police tracking the Bader-Meinhof gang. Life-size photographs of the gang members had been pinned on the walls to familiarize the hunters with their quarry. Newton recreated the scene for French Vogue in 1980, incorporating a specially executed series of individual nudes. Big Nude III, the single most visible image from the series, rapidly acquired an iconic status and has become one of the most celebrated of all Newtons photographs. Other Newton works include Mannequins quai dOrsay II, Paris, 1977 (estimate: 12,000-18,000), The Arielle Portfolio, 1982/1999 (estimate: 25,000-35,000), and Self Portrait with Big Nude, Paris, 1994 (estimate: 6,000-8,000).

Two unique Rayographs by Man Ray, 1924 and 1931 (estimate: 60,000-80,000 and 40,000-60,000 respectively) are also among the highlights of the sale. Each of these works embodies his experimental approach to photography, in which he placed objects directly on a sheet of photo-sensitive paper, and then exposed them to light. His camera-less creations are widely regarded as Surrealist masterpieces.

A vintage Richard Avedon photograph of Rudolph Nureyev (estimate: 8,000-12,000), taken for Harpers Bazaar within months of his defection from the Soviet Union in 1961, presents a bare-chested dancer on the cusp of fame in the West. Captured at the height of the supermodel era are Patrick Demarcheliers photographs of Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson (estimates range from 2,000 to 3,500). The ground-breaking 1970s fashion artist Antonio Lopez is represented by photo-sequences taken with his Instamatic, including two groups of images of supermodel Jerry Hall (estimate: 4,000-6,000 each); Lopez was instrumental in her early exposure and eventual rise to stardom. Robert Mapplethorpes now-classic images of Lisa Lyon are well-represented in the sale, with three different portraits from 1982 (estimate: 3,000-4,000 each); a print of his famous photo Patti Smith, 1979 (estimate: 5,000-7,000), which appeared on her Waves album cover, will also be offered.

Within the selection of celebrity images is a rare snapshot of Marilyn Monroe taken in 1942 shortly after, as Norma Jeane Baker, she married James Dougherty (estimate: 1,500-2,000). This original snapshot was acquired by James Danziger from the collection of George Zeno, a noted Monroe expert. A group of Andy Warhols celebrity Polaroids to be featured includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liza Minnelli, Joan Collins and Dennis Hopper (estimates range from 3,000 to 6,000).

A rare group of vintage 1960s-70s prints by the major American postmodern photographer Lee Friedlander, the subject of a recent major retrospective at MoMA, New York, will also be offered. Gifted by Friedlander to the current owner, the seven photographs are superb examples of the juxtapositions of everyday life that Friedlander has been capturing since he began photographing the American social landscape in 1948. The collection includes Atlanta, 1962, Kansas City, 1965 and New York, 1966 (estimates: 10,000-15,000 each).

An exceptional sequence of large-format salt prints by French traveller-photographer Flix Teynard takes us to the ruins of ancient Egypt and Nubia in the mid-19th century. These exceptional proof prints all of them previously unrecorded evoke a mystical and magnificent civilization as it was first revealed through the lens. Leading the collection is Large Speos Colossal statue seen from the front, Abu Simbel, 1851-52 (estimate: 25,000-35,000) and Pyramid of Cheops, Giza, 1851-52 (estimate: 20,000-30,000); estimates range from 2,000 to 35,000.

 

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