A pretty average auction took place at Christie's Paris, where Photographies, Icons & Style auction has been held on June 30. It came just when the big Contemporary art auction week has started, so maybe there were less collectors interested in it than usual, since their focus was somewhere else - in London. Around three-quarters of lots were sold, with the total amount of money gathered ($1.55 million without buyer's premium) just in the middle of the estimated range for sold lots. Photographies, Icons & Style sale was marked by 15 works by Irving Penn (12 was sold), and by a huge sale of Helmut Newton's Big Nude II - it had its hammer price well above $300,000 (also without buyer's premium).
According to Christie's, Helmut Newton's Big Nude II achieved the second best result for a print of the Big Nude series at auction. This was the first and most important set of the life-size nude figure studies that Newton started in 1980, for a Paris Vogue shoot. The common characteristic of every Big Nude is that a model is standing, facing forward, and has similar light conditions. In his own words, Newton didn't photograph what he sees, but what he has seen, recreating the social scenario and giving each of his photo a documentary value. Big Nudes were inspired by the life size photographs of the the Bader-Meinhof terrorist group, that were used by the German Police and later given to the press.
(Lot info courtesy of Christie's)
Despite of the fact that Newton's Big Nude II scored big and had a share of more than 21 percent of the whole sale, two out of his four works remained unsold, and the other sold lot (Two Playmates II) had ten times smaller hammer price. The real winner of Photographies, Icons & Style sale were works by Irving Penn - out of total of 63 auctioned artworks at Christie's, 15 were Penn's. An 80 percent of them were sold (better percentage than the auction itself), for a total of $763,138 - around half of the value of all sold lots. Also, after Big Nude II, Penn's works had next four biggest hammer prices (Black and White Vogue Cover (B) (Jean Patchett), Girl Behind Bottle, Two Liqueurs and Harlequin dress). All five works by Horst P. Horst were sold (although just one for a five-figure price), while both photographs of Björk by Stéphane Sednaoui were sold, both for low estimate.
Out of 63 lots, 47 were sold at Photographies, Icons & Style auction in Paris (74.6 percent) for a total of $1,555,890, or with an average lot value of $33,104. More than half (24) lots were sold in range of estimated values, and 13 were sold over high estimate. In two tables bellow, you'll find the summary of the auction and detailed information on every lot.
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All images courtesy of Christie's.