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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 11 March 2020

RELEASE: Christie's Spring Photographs Auctions

Left: Robert Frank, 'Mcclellanville, S. C.' (Barber Shop Through Screen Door), 1955. $80,000-120,000; Right: Laura Gilpin, Storm from La Bajada Hill, New Mexico, 1946. $20,000-30,000

New York – On March 31, Christie’s will present its Spring Photographs auction in New York. The sale will include examples by many of the 20th century’s most important photographers, including Edward WestonIrving PennRichard AvedonDiane ArbusRobert FrankWilliam Eggleston, Peter Beard, and Gordon Parks as well as contemporary artists including Hiroshi SugimotoThomas Ruff and Wolfgang Tillmans.

The morning session will feature two photographs from Alfred Stieglitz’s deeply personal Equivalents series; Laura Gilpin’s celebrated Storm from La Bajada Hill, New Mexico – pictured above, right; and a rare album of Polaroid prints by Ansel Adams. Irving Penn will be represented by four works from the artist’s definitive Small Trades series among other highlights. The afternoon session bridges classic and contemporary works, including a rare selection of post-war Japanese photographs. The remainder of the afternoon session spotlights a unique group of works by Peter Beard from The Collection of Richard L. Weisman. Our Spring offering will also feature works from the personal collection of David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek, as well as Property from the Collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex.

In addition to the March 31 auction, Christie’s will also hold a dedicated Online-Only Sale of Ansel Adams and the American West Photographs from the Center for Creative Photography on the heels of the extremely successful iteration of the sale held in December of 2019. Bidding will be open from March 24 – April 2.

The top lot of the sale is Family on their lawn one Sunday in Westchester, N.Y., 1968, by Diane Arbus ($200,000-300,000) – pictured left. In 1968, an extremely fruitful year for Arbus, the artist wrote Peter Crookston, her editor at The London Sunday Times Magazine, to propose a story idea: 

'I have been wanting to do families. I stopped two elderly sisters the other day … And especially there is a woman I stopped in a Bookstore who lives in Westchester which is Upper Suburbia. She is about 35 with terribly blonde hair and enormously eyelashed and booted and probably married to a dress manufacturer or restaurateur and I said I wanted to photograph her with husband and children so she suggested I wait till warm weather so I can do it around the pool! They are a fascinating family. I think all families are creepy in a way.' 

Arbus and Crookston continued to correspond about this story and others over the course of the summer and fall. Eventually published as a special issue on November 10, 1968 in the London Sunday Times Magazine with the title 'Two American Families', the piece includes the two photographs by Arbus, A young Brooklyn family going for a Sunday outing, N.Y.C., 1966, and A family on their lawn, Westchester, N.Y., 1968. Both of these images make their way into her final selection of works for the portfolio, A box of ten photographs, begun and completed in 1971.

The work being offered here on 16x20 paper was printed between the years 1968 – 1971 and is signed, titled and inscribed by the artist.


About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. 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). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.