Phillips Announces New York Photography Auction Highlights

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Cindy Sherman | Untitled #580 | Estimate: $250,000 – 350,000
Courtesy of Phillips

Phillips announces highlights of the New York Photography Auction

Sale April 6 at Feature Works by Cindy Sherman, Robert Frank,

Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe

New York state of mindOnline auction only for companions,

Auction opens March 30

NEW YORK – MARCH 23, 2022 – Phillips’ upcoming photography auction on April 6 in New York will feature nearly 300 lots spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. The sale is led by a selection of works defining Cindy Sherman’s career and will also include important photographs by Robert Frank, Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe, among others. In the context of direct sales, Brazen Beauty: Photographs from a Private Collection offers a playful take on fashion photography, and Property of a West Coast Private Collection includes a seminal Mapplethorpe self-portrait from 1980. Alongside the live auction, Phillips will run a complementary online-only sale, New York state of mind in partnership with gallery owner Peter Fetterman, which will be open for auction from March 30 to April 7.

Sarah Krueger, Head of Photography at Phillips, New Yorksaid: “Our April auctions feature some of the best photography the category has to offer, with works that have shaped the career trajectory of photographers – from Cindy Sherman Murder Mysterywhich predates its iconic Stills from the untitled film, at Robert Frank Londonwhich foreshadowed Americans. It is also a privilege to have Peter Fetterman again to present the online-only sale.New York state of mind, which evokes the rhythm, sounds and emotion of the urban landscape. We look forward to presenting both sales to our international community of collectors. »

Cindy Sherman | Murder mystery, scenes 8, 10 and 11 | Estimate: $200,000 – 300,000
Courtesy of Phillips

Inspired by Hollywood stars of the 1920s, Untitled #580 leads the auction and originated from Cindy Sherman’s 2016 work, in which she played the characters of fading screen stars captured in commercial-like photos. Untitled #580 is perhaps the most traditionally attractive, in the Hollywood sense, comprising all the characteristics of a leading lady of Hollywood’s Golden Age. This work is about the actress behind the archetype or, more accurately, actresses who are no longer treated as stars.

Also by Sherman is a sequence of three unique photo collages which are rare primary documents from the early phase of his career. Each image constitutes a story of its long pictorial narrative entitled Murder Mystery, in which a cast of 13 characters, all played by Sherman, stage the plot through 80 scenes, each of which is a collage of several meticulously cut and seamlessly combined photographs. In planning and execution, Murder Mystery is masterfully done. The sequence of the three scenes proposed here, Scenes 8, 10 and 11, include two of the most important characters – the self-important director and the femme fatale actress – as well as three members of the press. The themes that Sherman would continue to explore over the following decades are present in Murder Mystery. The series, and these three images drawn from it, are brilliant in every way.

Mickalene Thomas | Photomontage 5 | Estimate: $40,000 – 60,000
Courtesy of Phillips

by Robert Frank London is a rare, perhaps unique, image from his seminal series made in London between 1951 and 1953. Focusing primarily on bankers in the urban environment of the “City” of London, this body of work marked a progression in Frank’s approach to his subject and was a definitive step towards the extended narrative structure he would employ in the years to come in Americans. This print was included in London/Wales, the definitive exhibition of Frank’s work in early 1950s Britain at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. DC, in 2003. Since then, no further prints of the image have been located.

Created only a few years later London is Frank’s Parade – Hoboken, New Jersey, the first plate from Frank’s historical book Americans. This, with Political Rally – Chicago and Canal Street, New Orleans completes a selection of central images from Americans and show the complexities of a country experiencing a post-war boom but also divided by race and class. These images illustrate some key themes of Frank’s work in the 1950s, including his fascination with the American flag and the pageantry of politics. Late work by Frank, including Beware of Hope, Mabou and New Yorkshow how his work has become increasingly personal.

Joining the range of classic black and white images is Irving Penn’s platinum-palladium print of Woman in a Chicken Hat (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn) (A), New York. An exemplary illustration of the delicacy and expressive range of platinum printing, this work showcases Penn’s unparalleled mastery of the process. Like all of Penn’s work on the medium, it is entirely handmade and deliberately unique in its tonality and interpretation of the source image. In addition to this work, Penn’s Two Miyake warriors (B), New York, June 3 is seen for the first time at auction and features sculptural clothing by Japanese designer Issey Miyake.

Highlights of Brazen Beauty: Photographs from a Private Collection include Ellen von Unwerth’s cheeky Double Trouble, New York and Lillian Bassman Barbara Mullen aboard the Bateau-Mouche, Chanel advertising campaign, Paris.

The April auction features a solid selection of classic photographs by 20th-century masters, including Margaret Bourke-White’s modernist study of the George Washington Bridge, and works by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Paul Strand, Lewis Hine and Eugène Atget. Contemporary highlights include a signed first impression of Diane Arbus Barefoot Child Skipping Rope, NYC, and the work of Peter Hujar, Mickalene Thomas, Hannah Wilke, Carrie Mae Weems and Vik Muniz, among many others. Overall, the sale presents an eloquent illustration of the expressive potential of the photographic medium.

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