• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7624

    Photographs

    19 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 57

    ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER (1905-1970 American)

    Stills from the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, 22 November 1963

    Price Realised  

    ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER (1905-1970 American)
    Stills from the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, 22 November 1963
    4 gelatin silver prints
    3 numbered 'Frame 222', 'Frame 225', 'Frame 230' in unknown hands in ink on verso
    varying sizes from 3¾ x 5¼in. (9.5 x 13.2cm.) to 4¼ x 5 1/8in. (10.7 x 13cm.) (4)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The present lot comprises four vintage prints made for press distribution and derived from individual frames of the celebrated amateur film by Abraham Zapruder that serendipitously recorded the crucial moments of the assassination of President Kennedy. The film was acquired in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, with exclusive rights, by Life magazine, which rushed into print a picture story with selected frames as a remarkable and shocking element. They were reproduced in black and white, though the original film was in colour.

    The present lot comprises stills of frames 222, 225, 230 and 234. The potential significance of the latter frame emerged three years later when Life revisited the pictures and invited Governor Connally to interpret them for a major feature in the magazine, 'A Matter of Reasonable Doubt'. Careful analysis led Connally to the conclusion that frame 234 showed the precise moment of impact in his body of the bullet that managed to hit both President and Governor. His assertion challenged the findings of the Warren Commission, which had concluded that this bullet had struck before frame 225. Reproduced this time in colour, and including the previously unseen fragments of image between the sprocket holes, frame 230 was published on the cover.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Literature

    'The Assassination of President Kennedy', LIFE, 29 November 1963; 'A Matter of Reasonable Doubt', LIFE, 25 November 1966 (figs.1-2); The power of photographs as the defining images of Kennedy's career and their iconography in relation to the conventions of Western visual arts are analysed: Lubin, Shooting Kennedy, University of California, 2005.