This Spring, Phillips presents Photographs in London, showcasing many of the key moments in photography over the past century, and bringing to the fore notable contemporary artists of today. Available for sale only at Phillips is ULTIMATE, a multifaceted selection of exclusive works ranging from rare masterpieces to unique works and sold-out editions. Following on from the success of ULTIMATE VOGUE last year, ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN champions advertising photography by today’s leading forces in fashion, from legendary photographer Bruce Weber to rising star Tyrone Lebon. The Photographs sale showcases the legacies of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Seiji Kurata and John Baldessari, among others. Comprising over 90 lots, the Photographs sale will take place on 18 May at Phillips London.
Genevieve Janvrin, Co-Head of Photographs, Europe, said, “Building on our considerable success in 2016, we are thrilled to present another carefully curated and tightly edited selection of works to market. Following up on Thomas Struth’s Art Institute of Chicago II, 1990, which became the highest sold lot in a Phillips London Photographs sale last November, we are especially excited by our top lot – John Baldessari’s Transform (Lipstick), 1990. These offerings position ULTIMATE as the ideal platform for acquiring contemporary masterworks.”
ULTIMATE is a curated offering, available for sale only at Phillips, ranging from rare masterpieces to unique works and sold-out editions. Leading ULTIMATE and the Photographs sale is John Baldessari’s Transform (Lipstick), 1990, which stands out for its nuanced examination of femininity and has been in the same collection for the past ten years (estimate: £300,000 - 400,000). The present work made its public debut in Baldessari’s solo exhibition at Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris in 1991. The following summer it was shown at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Jouy-en-Josas. Transform (Lipstick) presents an examination of the construct of feminity, bringing us face to face with how women present and transform themselves.
Following up on the world auction record for Masahisa Fukase set in ULTIMATE last May, Phillips are thrilled to present a rare early exhibition print of Seiji Kurata’s Tattoed Man, 1975, immortalised on the cover of his seminal photobook Flash Up. This powerful and provocative photograph presents a heavily tattooed yakuza in his loincloth, with neck extended and samurai sword in hand, standing on a building rooftop. Beginning in 1975, Kurata photographed the seedy streets of Ikebukuro in north-western Tokyo at night to reveal with his bright flash the underbelly of Japanese society.
ULTIMATE also offers fresh works by six exciting artists debuting at auction, including life-sized tintypes by Walter & Zoniel (estimate: £20,000 - 30,000), a reimagined map of London by Sohei Nishino (estimate: £30,000 - 50,000) and an evocative self-portrait by British photographer of the moment Juno Calypso (estimate: £5,000 - 7,000). All of these works are either sold out or unique, presenting an exciting opportunity for collectors internationally.
ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN celebrates collaborative creativity in nine captivating photographs by today’s leading forces in fashion. All nine works have been made exclusively for ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN and are either the last prints from sold-out editions or unique-sized one-off prints. The images were all created for advertising campaigns and appeared originally in magazines, on billboards and even on fly-posters. These campaigns were commissioned by leading brands, the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein, known for their visionary approach to advertising. Among them are rising star Tyrone Lebon’s Justin Bieber Sunset, 2015 (estimate: £7,000 - 9,000) and Mikael Jansson’s Kendall Jenner, New York studio, 2015 (estimate: £10,000 - 15,000); both works immortalise these Pop icons and are the first photographs of them to appear at auction. These collaborations between artist, brand, and model have produced defining images that reflect and inform our society and visual culture. Leading this section is Nick Knight’s Alexander McQueen, Snakes, 2009 (estimate: £40,000 - 60,000). Building on the world auction record Phillips established for Nick Knight in Hong Kong last November, this work documents the artist’s collaboration with the late Alexander McQueen and pictures model Raquel Zimmermann lying on a bed of sand, her body merging with an undulating mass of serpents.
“We never knew what was going to be in a Calvin Klein picture.” Bruce Weber, April 2017
As a highlight of ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN, Phillips present a unique oversized gelatin silver print of this iconic image by Bruce Weber – Ric and Natalie, Villa Tejas, Montecito, California, 1988 (estimate: £40,000 - 60,000). When the moment came to create an explosive campaign for a new fragrance, Calvin Klein turned to Bruce Weber. Introduced in 1985, Obsession would come to produce some of the most famous campaign images of all time. An exceptional example is Weber’s black-and-white photograph of a naked couple on a swing used for the 1989 Obsession ad. This provocative and sensuous image was seared in the memory of a generation that experienced the consumer culture of the 1980s.
Yuka Yamaji, Co-Head of Photographs, Europe, said, “It was a great honour to interview the legendary Bruce Weber for ULTIMATE CAMPAIGN this Spring. The extraordinary caliber of photographs featured in this curation is a testament to the power of collaborative creativity.”
The Photographs sale celebrates the legacy of Richard Avedon with a rare, early print of Dovima with Elephants – Avedon’s most iconic fashion photograph (estimate: £100,000 - 150,000). From the archive of the Famous Photographers School (FPS), this lot presents collectors with a unique glimpse into Avedon’s work as a teacher and his participation with the FPS. Irving Penn is also represented with captivating photographs including Gisele, New York, 1 April 1999 (estimate: £70,000 - 90,000) and Kate Moss, New York, 25 April 1996 (estimate: £25,000 - 35,000).
Delving further back in time to the work of 20th century master Henri Cartier-Bresson, Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris, 1932 exemplifies his idea of the decisive moment (estimate: £30,000 - 50,000). One of only five known early prints of this iconic image, the present lot was reproduced in the March 1947 issue of LIFE magazine alongside their praising review of Cartier-Bresson’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
American Post-War photography is represented by Robert Frank’s Charleston, South Carolina, 1955 (estimate: £50,000 - 70,000) and William Eggleston’s photograph of a diner taken in 1976 for his first artist’s book Election Eve (estimate: £60,000 - 80,000).
Contemporary photographs include Ruud van Empel’s Boy & Girl, which highlights the beauty of nature and the innocence of children (estimate: £50,000 - 70,000). Alex Prager is featured with Crowd #1 (Stan Douglas), 2010 (estimate: £15,000 - 20,000) and Desiree, 2008 (estimate: £7,000 - 9,000).
Auction: 18 May 2017, 2pm GMT
Auction viewing: 12 – 18 May | Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
Location: 30 Berkeley Square, London
Link to more information: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/UK040117
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Visit www.phillips.com for further information.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.