By Ashoke Nag
KOLKATA: Photographs, dating from the early 19th century to the current decade, will make a welcome return to Sotheby’s in London when the company stages a 148-lot sale on 7 May 2014.
Simone Klein, Sotheby’s head of photographs, Europe, commented in an email statement: “Featuring works by established names and shooting stars, and with estimates starting at £2,000, the auction will appeal to collectors looking for exceptional examples of photography, specifically images that beguile and seduce the viewer for all the reasons that have made this medium an art form in its own right.”
The sale opens with a 16-lot selection of generously donated photographs by leading contemporary photographers in support of the Bodleian Library’s campaign to save the personal archive of William Henry Fox Talbot. The bid to acquire the archive of Fox Talbot’s life and work was launched by the institution in 2012, in an effort to preserve a major record in the history of photography. With this gesture, these photographers pay homage to the father of photography on paper and of the art they are exponents of.
The sale includes an exciting discovery that has been hidden in a French private collection since the 19th century: An album of 44 photographs by John Beasley Greene of Egypt and Algeria, 1852-1856, which captivate the viewer by their sheer modernity. Audacious framings and an ambitious treatment of light make Greene’s views some of the most radical in early photography. Acquired in Paris, this album, estimated at £100,000-150,000, was assembled by its first owner who may have become personally acquainted with John Beasley Greene in 1853.