Man Ray, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus images fetch millions at auction


posted Friday, April 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM EDT


The photography as collectible art market appears to be alive and well. Recent auctions of several well-known photographs fetched over $30 million in sales, including record prices for work by Man Ray and Diane Arbus, according to PDN Pulse.

A signed, gelatin silver photogram by Man Ray from 1922, called "Untitled Rayograph," (r.) turned heads when it sold for US$1,203,750 at Christie's auction house in New York last week. The 9 1/4 x 7-inch print, which is signed in pencil on the mount, was expected to go for US$250,000 - 350,000, but ended up setting a record for a Man Ray image.

Also last week, a gelatin silver print of Diane Arbus' image, "Identical Twins Cathleen (l) and Colleen, Roselle, N.J., 1966," sold for US$602,500 at the Phillips auction house in New York last week. The 15 x 14 3/4-inch print, which had been estimated to sell for US$180,000 - 220,000, also set a record for an Arbus photo.

"Identical Twins "Cathleen (l) and Colleen, Roselle, N.J., 1966" by Diane Arbus

Also on the auction block at Christie's last week was Robert Frank's classic photo "Trolley - New Orleans, 1955" from his landmark book, The Americans. The 11 3/8 x 16 5/8-inch gelatin silver print sold for US$633,750, even though it was valued at US$400,000 - $600,000.

"The strength of these results is indicative of the thriving market for photographs, which continues to gain momentum with every sale,” Christie's director Philippe Garner said in a statement afterwards.

Sotheby's in New York also had a noteworthy photography sale last week when a 1927 Edward Weston print called "Two Shells" sold for US$533,000.

(Via PDN Pulse and Amateur Photographer)

"Trolley - New Orleans, 1955" by Robert Frank