NEW YORK, NY.- On September 29th Christie’s will present three distinct photograph auctions in New York, including the diverse ‘Photographs’ sale, and two private collection sales: ‘Photographs from the Forbes Collection’ and ‘Triple XXX: Photographs from the Collection of Don Sanders.’ Running concurrently with the September 29th sales will be an online only auction titled ‘Helmut Newton Photographs for Playboy,’ that includes 20 photographs from the collection of Don Sanders. The online auction will be open for bidding from September 23rd through October 7th at www.christies.com/HelmutNewton. With a total of 266 lots, the sales are expected to exceed $7 million.
This exceptional collection of photographs comprises one of the most important and comprehensive groupings of nude photographs known to exist. Encompassing 77 lots, the sale features works by Nobuyoshi Araki, Lucien Clergue, Ralph Gibson, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, David Levinthal, Helmut Newton, Bettina Rheims and Jock Sturges, and is titled for two of its most prominent lots, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ XXX (estimate: $50,000-70,000), a series of portraits of porn stars, and the complete suite of 272 photographs by David Levinthal of erotic dolls, XXX (estimate: $250,000-350,000).
The collection also features a number of unique, or virtually unique, bodies of work, many personally commissioned by Don Sanders, including the complete set of 125 master prints for Ralph Gibson’s 1970s trilogy, The Somnambulist, Déja-vu, and Days at Sea (estimate: $200,000- 300,000). Other highlights include an oversized print, currently believed to be unique, of Helmut Newton’s Bergstrom over Paris (estimate $200,000- 300,000). Another memorable addition, Nobuyoshi Araki’s For Robert Frank (estimate $60,000-80,000), is a unique scrapbook given by the artist to photographer Robert Frank during his visit to Japan for the opening of his retrospective exhibition in Yokohama in 1995. A complete series of 101 prints, this is one of only five sets in existence.
Don Sanders, a Houston-based businessman, is not only a collector, but a friend and active patron of a number of the prominent artists in the sale, including: Clergue, Gibson, Sturges, Greenfield-Sanders and Rheims. Sanders also champions and encourages the talents of younger photographers, including the fashion photography partnership of Ines Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, as well as the husband and wife team of Gunther and Sylvie Blum whose work is well represented in the sale. This is not the first collection Sanders is selling with Christie’s. In 2012, he sold his watch collection in order to fund another passion - his shelter and adoption center for stray cats, Friends for Life.
The auction’s top lot is a pristine example of Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1950 by Irving Penn ($200,000- 300,000). Also included is an important albumen portrait by Lewis Carroll of Lorina and Alice Liddell in Chinese Costume, c. 1860 (estimate: $10,000-15,000). Alice in Wonderland’s eponymous heroine was inspired by the seated Alice Liddell. The sisters don genuine Chinese costume borrowed from a local museum, reflecting the Victorian passion for all things `Oriental.’ This print was originally in an album belonging to Emma Llewelyn, whose brother John Dillwyn Llewelyn was in Carroll’s circle of friends.
Charles Sheeler’s Ford Plant, River Rouge, Steam Hydraulic Shear, 1927, ($150,000-250,000), was commissioned by N.W. Ayer & Son as part of a $1.3 million advertising campaign to garner interest in the upcoming Model A. Sheeler photographed Ford’s mammoth manufacturing facility southwest of Dearborn, Michigan in the fall of 1927. A truly striking image, Ford Plant, River Rouge, Steam Hydraulic Shear, is one of twenty-eight original images from the commission. Vintage prints from this seminal series are very rare, and presently only one other print of this image is known, located in The Lane Collection, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.
Also among the top lots is an incredibly rare fashion portfolio from Richard Avedon, titled Avedon, Paris ($200,000-300,000), from 1978, that contains 11 of his most renowned images from Paris. Additionally, William Eggleston will be represented by three photographs, including a dye transfer print, Untitled, Memphis, 1970 ($200,000-300,000), one of the artist’s most arresting and instantly recognizable works.