• Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 24 March 2017

PRESS RELEASE: The spring season of photographs

Ansel Adams (1902-1984), Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941. Estimate: $400,000-600,000.

Ansel Adams (1902-1984), Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941. Estimate: $400,000-600,000.

August Sander (1876-1964), Secretary at West German Radio, Cologne, 1931. Estimate: $80,000-120,000.

August Sander (1876-1964), Secretary at West German Radio, Cologne, 1931. Estimate: $80,000-120,000.

New York – On April 6, Christie’s will present two photographs auctions in New York, including Portrait of a Collector: The John M. Bransten Collection of Photographs at 11am and Photographs Including Property Sold to Benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation at 1pm.

Christie’s is honored to present John M. Bransten’s visionary collection, on behalf of the Bransten family, to the general public. Portrait of a Collector: The John M. Bransten Collection of Photographs encompasses twenty-eight exquisite photographs. Each work was judiciously selected by Bransten, a voracious collector who had always been ahead of the general public. Bransten enjoyed learning all that he could about the medium and accordingly pursued seminal examples by their respective artists. His pioneering timing in the marketplace allowed him to secure blue-chip photographs well before the rest of the world caught up, and he was fortunate enough to begin acquiring works by major photographers during their lifetime.

Highlighting the collection are two prints by August Sanders that Bransten bought directly from Ileanna Sonnabend in 1972. One of which, the sale’s cover lot, pictured left, was once in the personal collection of the legendary dealer. Secretary at West German Radio, Cologne, 1931 ($80,000-120,000) likely printed in the late 1940s or early 1950s, is one of Sander’s most iconic images and is representative of the vision and artistic enterprise that cemented his status as Germany’s most influential photographer of the 20th Century.

Photographs Including Property Sold to Benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation will commence with a selection of 25 works sold to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. This sale holds great personal significance for the Oscar and Grammy Award-winning star. ‘It’s my 70th birthday, and the 50th anniversary of my songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin,’ Sir Elton stated. Please see dedicated release here.

The various-owner portion of the sale is representative of many of the medium’s most prolific figures, ranging from the early 20th century to present day. Prime works by artists such as Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams, Cindy Sherman and Richard Avedon are encompassed in the sale, with estimates from $3,000 to $600,000. Among the sale’s top lots is a vintage mural print of Ansel Adams’ Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941 ($400,000-600,000) – pictured on page 1 center. Additional highlights include Thomas Struth’s Control Panel, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, 2008 ($100,000-150,000), Man Ray’s Marcel Duchamp and his 'Glider Containing a Water Mill in Neighboring Metals', c. 1923 ($50,000-70,000) and Irving Penn’s 1,000 Year Old Eggs (A), New York, 2003 ($20,000-30,000) – all illustrated below.

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Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

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