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.


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"

Some New York Photography Auctions – October

Christie’s Photographs sale held October 6-7 in New York yielded 5,571,537 USD including buyer’s premium.
IRVING PENN (1917-2009) photograph, The Palm of Miles Davis (New York), 1986, sold for 146,500 USD, nearly three times its high estimate (30,000 – 50,000 USD). This lot was the second highest sale price of all the Penn lots, and the third highest seller in the entire auction of 263 lots.
Irving Penn, The Palm of Miles Davis, 1986
ASA C. PARTRIDGE photograph, Portrait of a slave woman and her young charge, 1840, a half-plate daguerreotype with hand coloring, sold for 1,250 USD, well below its estimate of  7,000-9,000 USD. 

Asa C. Partridge, Portrait of A Slave Women and Her Young Charge, 1840s

At the Sotheby’s Photographs sale, held October 6,  works by  Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) SELECTED STUDIES sold for 8,750 USD, just below its low estimate: 10,000—15,000 USD. The sale, held in New York, yielded 4,970,754  USD including buyer’s premium.

Roy DeCarava Photographs to Auction at Sotheby’s

Lots 79 through 82 of Sotheby’s April 13th Photography Auction include works by Roy DeCarava. The images were originally included in the library of entertainer and social activist, Harry Belafonte.

Catalogue notes indicate that the images were used as part of the production of Belafonte: New York 19, a CBS television special broadcasted on Sunday, 20 November 1960. Along with DeCarava’s well-known work on jazz musicians and Harlem, he collaborated on album photography for Belafonte.

Roy DeCarava (1919-2009) Dancers' Legs, New York 19, ca. 1956, printed ca. 1960. Estimate: 10,000-15,000 USD. Lot 81.

Roy De Carava (1919-2009)

One of the world’s greatest photographers passed on Tuesday, October 27, 2009: Roy De Carava. His contributions to the world of photography are insurmountable. He was a skilled practitioner of the medium, teacher and mentor, activist, and role model for countless photographers, particularly black photographers living and working in the United States and abroad.

If you are not familiar with Mr. De Carava’s work I encourage you to read The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955), co-produced with Langston Hughes and work your way forward to the catalog representing his retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1996).

Several media outlets have written on Mr. De Carava’s passing:

The New York Times


The Los Angeles Times

Mr. De Carava was the first African-American photographer to receive a Guggenheim fellowship (1952).  See his interview on Charlie Rose in 1996, the year he received the National Medal of Arts.

Graduation, 1949
Graduation, 1949

Be-Hold Presents First Live Auction, April 28th in New York City

160 lots of fine photographs from daguerreotypes to modern prints will be auctioned live at the Radisson Martinique Hotel in New York City by Be-Hold, a photography auction house that has sold works via catalog and the internet for twenty-five years.

Among the lots are four images representing the African diaspora. The information shown below is cataloged on the Be-Hold/Artfact web site.

"South Carolina, Two Women" by Doris Ulmann 1926 platinum
Lot 92: "South Carolina, Two Women" by Doris Ulmann 1926 platinum

Estimate: $3,000 – $4,000


8″ x 6″ platinum print, vintage ca. 1920. Signed by Ulmann in pen on the mount beneath the image. Label on the verso from the NYNEX collection.

Lynching, Springfield Misssouri
Lot 93: Lynching, Springfield Misssouri

Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000


14″ x 10 7/8″ brown toned matte gelatin silver print. No maker indicated, but “Springfield MO” written in pencil on verso. Sorry to place this immediately following the sensitive double portrait by Doris Ulmann, but this is the other side. There was a “race riot” and a series of lynchings in Springfield in 1906, but there were lynchings there at other times as well, so I haven’t been able to place this in a specific time. What is most striking and important about this photograph is that it well shows the horror of the event — it is even a kind of death portrait of the victim, including the spectators below– but it is also a carefully composed pictorialist photograph.

Josephine Baker Dancing, by Drtikol.
Lot 104: Josephine Baker Dancing, by Drtikol

$3,000 – $4,000


9 1/8″ x 6 ½” matte mounted pigment print, signed by Drtikol and dated 1927 in pencil on the mount, recto, Just a wonderful example of photography poised between drawing and representation, and of course a wonderful subject.

Lot 157: "Karim Keita Le Gentilman - 1967" by Malik Sidibe

$4,000 – $5,000


21 ¼” x 14 ¼” gelatin silver print, signed titled dated 2003 below image, matted and framed. The artist was awarded the Golden Lion at the 2008 Venice Biennial.

You’ll want to be sure to prepare for the auction, in advance. Make sure to see the photographs live, if possible, and inquire about the condition and provenance with the auction house owner, staffer, or representative.

See Be-Hold: Fine Early Photography and Sales for preview times, bidding information, and relevant terms and conditions.

Cowan’s Auction of Historic and Western Americana – June 25 & 26, 2009

Cowan’s Auctions has scheduled its Historic and Western Americana auction for June 25th and 26th, 2009. The lots are expected to represent materials that pertain to Civil War Photography, Early Photography, Slavery and the African-American Experience, and more.

In 2003, Cowan’s sold a daguerreotype image of slavery in Virginia from the Brasseur Collection of Cased Images, for $22,425. The estimate was $10,000-$15,000.