Phillips Announces Highlights from the Premiere Photographs Auction at New 432 Park Avenue Headquarters

  • NEW YORK CITY, New York
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  • September 20, 2021

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László Moholy-Nagy, Photogram, 1920s, Estimate: $300,000 - 500,000
Courtesy of Phillips

Phillips Announces Highlights from the Premiere Photographs Auction at New 432 Park Avenue Headquarters


Sale on 7 October to Feature Works by László Moholy-Nagy, Robert Frank, Peter Beard, Chuck Close, Deana Lawson, and Hank Willis Thomas


NEW YORK - 20 SEPTEMBER 2021 – Phillips is pleased to announce a selection of upcoming works from the first Photographs sale in the auction house’s new state-of-the-art gallery at 432 Park Ave. Featuring nearly 250 lots, the sale takes place on 7 October, directly following the single-owner sale Reframing Beauty: A Private Seattle Collection.


Sarah Krueger, Head of Photographs, New York, said, “The October Photographs auction brings together a selection of artists from 20th Century masters like László Moholy-Nagy and Ansel Adams to an impressive array of contemporary works by Alec Soth, Gregory Crewdson, Cindy Sherman, Hank Willis Thomas, and Vik Muniz.  This sale highlights the tremendous creative breadth this collecting category has to offer.”


Leading the sale is László Moholy-Nagy’s Photogram. This unique work dates to the early years of Moholy-Nagy’s career in photography when his explorations of the medium expanded its capabilities and informed his expansive understanding of its role in the creation of art for a new age. He made this image without a camera, by placing objects on or over the sheet of photographic paper and carefully directing the angle of light, creating an enigmatic composition that transcends the sum of its parts. Newly discovered in 2010, this photogram takes its place within an oeuvre remarkable for the consistency of the artist’s vision across all media.


The large-format print of Ansel Adams’ virtuosic landscape, The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, comes from a limited edition commissioned in 1975 by Adams’ dealer Harry Lunn, and showcases Adams’ unmatched skills as a photographer of the American landscape and as a photographic printer.

Ansel Adams, The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942, Estimate: $100,000 - 150,000
Courtesy of Phillips


Epic in scale and masterful in execution, Peter Beard’s unique study of the interior of Francis Bacon’s London studio documents the creation of one of Bacon’s masterpieces and illuminates the deep friendship between the two artists. Beard’s panoramic image consists of three consecutive exposures on a strip of enlarged 35mm film and captures the central panel of Bacon’s lauded Triptych, 1976. Taken as a whole, Beard’s multi-panel photograph is a meditation on the passage of time and the inevitability of death, as well as on the potential of the artistic process to overcome mortality.

The October Photographs auction also presents a choice selection of work from the collection of pioneering New Zealand gallerist Peter McLeavey (1936-2015), who essentially created the country’s art market in the 1960s. He had a special affinity for photography and assembled a collection of photographs that is deeply personal in meaning and world-class in quality, including an early print of Robert Frank’s U.S. 285, New Mexico and Dorothea Lange’s The Road West, New Mexico, as well as work by Bill Brandt and Charles Clifford, among others.    

Also among the highlights is Ring Bearer by Deana Lawson, winner of the 2021 Hugo Boss Prize and subject of an ongoing Guggenheim exhibition. While borrowing elements of documentary photography and portraiture, Deana Lawson’s images are carefully crafted vignettes informed by her travels throughout the African diaspora. From the satin and lace ring pillow, to the family photos and play of textile patterns, every detail of Ring Bearer is full of intention and meaning.

Peter Beard, Prometheus figure with vultures feeding . . . Bacon Studio @ 7 Reece Mews, London SW7, 1976, Estimate: $120,000 - 180,000
Courtesy of Phillips

Two rare early prints by Francesca Woodman will be offered on 7 October. Woodman’s photographs are celebrated for their critical dialogue with the history of art, the examination of the body, and the complexities of self-portraiture. While her life and career were short, her distinct body of work reveals her quick and impressive evolution as a photographer who drew inspiration from sources as varied as Surrealism, Conceptualism, and Post-Minimalism. Similarly influenced by these movements was Jiro Takamatsu whose dynamic practice established him as a leading influence in the Japanese conceptual art movement of the 1960s and 70s. In his Photograph of Photograph series, Takamatsu recontextualizes his own family photographs, elevating vernacular imagery to the level of fine art.

A strong selection of prints from the collection of the late New York gallerist Robert Schoelkopf (1927-1991) highlight Walker Evans’ sensitive and astute portrayal of life during and after the great depression.


The five photographs comprising Ruth Orkin’s The Card Players, New York City showcase the photographer’s ability to create, through a progression of images, a character study of depth, nuance, and humor. The early prints offered here are similar in size and presentation to those exhibited in the landmark Family of Man exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1955.


Following the successful offering in the April auction is more property from the former owners of the Michelin-star-recipient Gotham Bar & Grill in Manhattan.  The group includes works by Vera Lutter and Philip-Lorca diCorcia.


Preceding the various owners sale on 7 October is Reframing Beauty: A Private Seattle Collection. This relevant and socially minded collection includes works by Robert Adams, Peter Hujar and Nan Goldin, among others, and speaks to many current themes in contemporary discourse—be it climate change, the environmental impact of deforestation, the struggle for equal rights and representation for LGBTQIA+ and the ever-broadening definition of beauty.


Auction: 7 October 2021 | 11am & 2pm ET

Auction viewing: 2 - 6 October

Location: 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY

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Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world.  In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services.

Visit for further information.


*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.



NEW YORK – Magda Grigorian, Chief Communications Officer           +1 212 940 1384         

NEW YORK – Jaime Israni, Public Relations Director, Americas                  +1 212 940 1398


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