Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Photography in the Auction Houses

I managed to catch the Monday and Tuesday photography auctions at Sotheby's live on the Web. I've been to one in person, and it's an amazing thing to see: ripples go through the audience of live bidders, both of anticipation and -- sometimes -- of shock.

It's still great to watch online -- you sit at home with the catalog in hand, then see video of the auctioneer. But you don't hear the murmurs of the crowd, and you don't get to see the back and forth of the paddle-raisers.

Some highlights:

A complete set of Camera Work -- 50 volumes of the Quarterly published between 1903-1917 -- went for $229,000 (with Buyer's Premium).

An Edward Weston Nautilus went for $1,105,000 (with Buyer's Premium). And a Weston Nude on Sand, Oceano was $193,000.

A Herb Ritts made a surprising showing: with a catalog estimate at $20,000 - $30,000, it sold for $109,000.

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