On The Square

Prized Pics to Plunder

By Bidsquare

May 02,2017 | 12:00 EDT

Short and sweet will be the order of the day when Skinner holds their Fine Prints & Photographs sale on Friday, May 19. With just 170 lots up for grabs, bidders will need to have their wits about them if they hope to walk away with one of the prized works on offer. This is a sale where quality, not quantity, is at a premium.

Nestled snuggly in the back end of the sale is the forty or so works of photography being offered. A host of big names are represented here, including Ansel Adams, Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Jim Marshall, Ernst Haas, and Edward Burtynsky. A great catalog for people looking to get serious about collecting quality work, at price points that won’t blow the doors off the bank balance.

Lot 166, titled Oxford Tire Pile #5, Westley, California, is by noted Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. Burtynsky made this image in 1998, shortly before lightning started a fire in the pile, at the time believed to be the nations seventh largest. The fire was a disaster, burning for over 30 days and releasing heavy black smoke into the air and hot pyrolytic oils into the ground and retaining ponds.

While best-known for his majestic views of the American West, Ansel Adams was also drawn to depictions of nature. Lot 142 - Leaves and Raindrops, Glacier Bay National Monument, captures its subject with a clarity and detail that appears miles ahead of its time. A master technician, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print.

Lot 161 - Western Skies Motel, New Mexico is by Austrian/American artist Ernst Haas. A photojournalist and one-time member of the photography collective Magnum, Haas is best known as one of the pioneers of color photography. In fact, his 1962 retrospective at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art was that institutions first color photography exhibition. 

In December 1948, Life magazine sent Henri Cartier-Bresson to China to document the turbulent transition from Kuomintang to Communist rule. Lot 143 - In the Last Days of the Kuomintang, resulted from that assignment. The photos caption read: "Final days of the Kuomintang. A peasant, whose market has closed down and came to Beijing to sell his vegetables, sits to eat his provisions."

Jim Marshall was a rock star photographer who had extended access to the industrys biggest names through the 1960s and 1970s, including backstage access at The Beatles final live concert in Candlestick Park, and being chief photographer at Woodstock. Lot 158 - taken in 1967, gets in close with Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones at the Monterey Pop Festival.

Skinners Fine Prints & Photgraphs sale is set down for Friday, May 19 and contains 170 expertly curated lots that includes 47 photographic works.