Honoring Black Photographers during New York’s Photo Month – April 201

In preparation for next month’s photography fairs, exhibits, and auctions, African Diaspora Photography wanted to share information on some of the top black photographers in the photography market. The first is Carrie Mae Weems. In this video segment of Art21, Ms. Weems discusses the life blood of her photography work: narrative and storytelling.



Sotheby’s October 5, Photographs Sale

At the Sotheby’s Photographs sale on October 5th, there were a handful of lots which featured photographs of black people, or were produced by black photographers.  Among the 185 lots offerred were:

Lot 65: Henri Cartier Bresson

Easter Parade Harlem, 1947

Sold for 7,500 USD

Lot 72: Herman Leonard

Jazz Studies, 1948-1991

Sold for 28, 125 USD

Lot 113: Paul Outerbridge, Jr.

Sleepy Negro” 1924

Sold for 31, 250 USD

Lot 168: Carrie Mae Weems

Made for Him, Made for Her” 1993

Sold for 13,750 USD

Elizabeth Sunday Photograph Sells at Eastman House Benefit Auction

The stunning archival pigment print, Animus #3, Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2011, by Elizabeth Sunday, sold for $ 390 at the online auction benefiting the George Eastman House.

The benefit auction, both its live and online event, took place from the end of September until Monday, October 10th.  204 photographs from vintage photography to contemporary works were available for sale by famous and emerging photographers from across the globe.

Sunday’s signed print was valued at $ 3,000 and is #7 in an edition of 7.

Elisabeth Sunday, Animus #3, Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2011

Gerald Cyrus Photographs Sell at Stair Galleries

Two black and white photographs by Philadelphia-based photographer, Gerald Cyrus, sold for $ 75.00 at Stair Galleries on September 10, 2011. Cyrus’ images were among 705 available lots, including 20th century paintings, prints, furniture, and estate property.

Lot #471 included the photographs New Orleans (Eating Ice Cream), and Untitled (Boy on Swing). Both images were framed.

Round-up on Spring Photography Auctions

The March and April photography auctions have drawn to a close.  Here’s a quick round-up of noteworthy sales.

Christie’s, First Open Post-War and Contemporary Art, New York, Rockefeller Plaza ( SALE 2421, March 10, 2011)

LOT 0035

Lorna Simpson (b. 1960), Nervous Conditions (see right)

Color Polaroid prints with engraved Plexiglas
48 7/8 x 20 1/8 in. (124.1 x 51.1 cm.)
Executed in 1992. This work is number four from an edition of five.

Estimate: $6,000 – $8,000  Price Realized: $ 10,625

SALE TOTAL: 10,278,275 (USD) (Prices include buyer’s premium)

Christie’s, Crossing America: Photographs from the Consolidated Freightways Collection, Part I
New York, Rockefeller Plaza (Sale 2522, 7 April 2011)

Lot 235

P.H. POLK (1898-1984), The Boss, 1932

Gelatin silver print, 9¼ x 7½in. (23.5 x 19.3cm.)

Estimate $2,500 – $3,500 Price realized: $1,750.  First time Christie’s sold a Polk image.

Three (3) Lots

(Lot 237) He’s too tired to change, c 1954

Estimate $4,000 – $6,000  Price realized:$2,750

(Lot 239) Three Men Standing on a Corner, Morning, 1950,
Estimate $4,000 – $6,000  Price realized: $6,875

(Lot 240) Untitled, c 1959,
Estimate $4,000 – $6,000 Price realized: $6,875

All gelatin silver prints.

SALE TOTAL: 1,838,437 (USD) (Prices include buyer’s premium)

Avedon, Van Der Zee, Stewart, and Van Vechten Sell at Lena Horne Estate Sale

Photographs of Lena Horne and the “Atlantic City” 1930 and “By the Pool” c. 1924 photographs by James Van der Zee sold at Horne’s estate sale conducted at Doyle New York, February 23, 2011.  The Richard Avedon contact sheets of Horne sold for $ 8,750; the Chuck Stewart for $ 750; the Carl Van Vechten portrait of Horne sold for $ 3,438; and the Van der Zee for $ 9,375 and $ 3,438.

The Avedon, Stewart, Van Vechten, and Van der Zee photographs are all silver gelatin prints.  A color photograph of Horne by Wendy Hilty, Lena Horne, ca. 1958, sold for $ 1,088, and a set of three black & white and color photographs by Carol Friedman sold for $500.  Two groups of publicity photographs sold for $ 3,750 and $ 625 respectively.

Low estimates for all the photographs began at $50, and high estimates ended at $300.

Each sales price includes the 25% buyer’s premium.

CHUCK STEWART. Lena Horne. Silver gelatin print, 11 3/8" x 9"


JAMES VAN DER ZEE. Atlantic City, 1930. Silver gelatin print, 6 3/8" x 3 7/8"

Lorna Simpson “HE HE, SHE SHE…” Sells at Polaroid Collection Auction at Sotheby’s

Five large format Polaroid Polacolor prints make up “HE HE, SHE SHE, HE SHE, HE SHE, SHE HE” which sold at Sotheby’s auction of Photograph from the Polaroid Collection on June 21-22, 2010. The photograph, produced by Lorna Simpson, drew a hammer price with buyer’s premium of 21, 250 USD. The photograph was estimated at 20,000 – 30,000 USD. The auction generated a sales total of 12,467,636 USD.

Each print of “HE HE, SHE SHE…” measures 24 x 20 1/2 inches and was part of the traveling exhibition, Selections 6: Works from the Polaroid Collection (1992-1999).

Lorna Simpson, HE HE, SHE SHE, HE SHE, HE SHE, SHE HE, c. 1992