On 11 and 12 December 2014 Sotheby’s New York will present 175 masterworks to celebrate 175 years of photography: property from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, a single owner sale of the most significant collection of photographs in private hands today.
The works to be offered date from photography’s earliest years in the 1840s to contemporary 21st Century color images and include major photographs from all of the medium’s most important practitioners including: Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, Gustave Le Gray, Irving Penn, August Sander, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston, among others.
The collection was meticulously put together over decades by Howard Stein (1926-2011), one of photography’s greatest collectors, whose vision and keen understanding of the medium informed his purchases. Mr. Stein donated the collection to the Joy of Giving Something Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the photographic arts, which is the sole beneficiary of the sale. Highlights will be shown in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris prior to the full exhibition in New York. The pre-sale estimate of $13/20 million is the highest ever for a Photographs auction.
Denise Bethel, Chairman, Sotheby’s Photographs, Americas commented: “A world without photographs is now unimaginable. In the 175 years since photography first appeared, we have witnessed the remarkable achievement of this medium. Initially a recording device, photography quickly became, even in its early years, artistic, expressive, and profound. Its broad appeal to the public has now been matched—in museums, in academia, and in innumerable books—with the critical acclaim its influence deserves. We are honored that we have been entrusted by the Joy of Giving Something Foundation to present at auction 175 masterworks from its collection, in a sale that is destined to become among Sotheby’s most memorable.”
Christopher Mahoney, Head of Sotheby’s Photographs Department said: “We have never before encountered a collection in which the quality of the images, in terms of vision and craft, is so high. From photographs by some of the earliest practitioners of the 19th century, such as William Henry Fox Talbot and John Plumbe, Jr.; to Pictorialist masterworks by Alvin Langdon Coburn and Frederick Evans; to the great Modernist explorations of László Moholy-Nagy and Charles Sheeler; to the gritty post-war realism of Robert Frank and William Klein; and to contemporary images by Cindy Sherman and Adam Fuss, each photograph in the collection demonstrates – in its own way and for its own time period – an important achievement in the history of the medium.”
Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the photographic arts and arts education. Working in partnership with museums, schools, and community organizations, JGS supports scholarships for students pursuing post-secondary studies in photography and media arts. JGS also provides arts education programs for public school students throughout New York City. In 2007 JGS instituted the Forward Thinking Museum, a virtual space for professional emerging artists.
Historic Single Owner Photographs Sales At Sotheby’s
Important Photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Including Works from the Gilman Paper
Company Collection, February 2006, estimate: $4/6 million, sale total: $15 million.
Auction Record for any collection of photographs
Photographs from the Polaroid Collection, June 2010, estimate: $7/10.7 million, sale total: $12.5 million.
Auction Record for a corporate collection of photographs
A Show of Hands: Photographs from the Collection of Henry Buhl, December 2012, estimate: $8.1/12.2 million,
sale total: $12.3 million.
Auction Record for a private collection of photographs
La Photographie. Collection Marie-Thérèse et André Jammes, October 1999, estimate: $3.4 – 5 million, sale
total: $12.3 million.
La Photographie II, Partie Deux et Partie Trois: Collection de Marie-Thérèse et André Jammes
March 2002, estimate: $6.6 – 8.9 million, sale total: $10.5 million.
The Quillan Collection of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Photographs, April 2008, estimate: $4.6/7 million,
sale total: $8.9 million.
Photographs from the Private Collection of Margaret W. Weston, April 2007, estimate: $5.3/8 million, sale
total: $7.8 million.