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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

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in 2019 that totalled £4.5 billion / $5.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.