Alfred Eisenstaedt - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    The Famous Photographers School
    The FPS Archives

  • Catalogue Essay

    Founded in 1961, the Famous Photographers School was the foremost institution in mid-century America for teaching photography, then relatively nascent as a lucrative profession. Drawing from the undeniable star-power of ten of the most prolific and successful photographers at the time, from Richard Avedon to Philippe Halsman, Bert Stern, Alfred Eisenstaedt and Irving Penn, to name some of the more salient members, the school purported to help its students “achieve professional-level skill.” Quoting the age-old adage, an ad for the talented hub stated “If you want success, learn from successful people.” And while the success of the photographers was without dispute, their strengths were varied, as evidenced by the solid body of work—from commercial to editorial—that each photographer had produced by then. Indeed, the ten photographers—many of whom would see their star continue to shine brighter over the ensuing decades—collectively mastered a broad and comprehensive variety of skills that exposed their students to such genres as editorial still-life compositions, political portraits, fashion imagery, celebrity photography, darkroom manipulation and action shots, among others.

    The camaraderie and cohesive nature of the exceptional group of trailblazers is best captured in Irving Penn’s Self-portrait with Famous Photographers, January, 1964 (lot 159). At the behest of the School’s advertising agency, the ten photographers assembled for a group shot intended for promotional purposes. Taken on January 25, 1964, the image had been months in the making, with the School’s Director, Victor Keppler, orchestrating the shoot in Bert Stern’s studio. It was decided that each photographer would take his turn shooting the group, reflected in an oversized custom mirror that had been brought in specifically for the occasion. Penn’s take with his 8x10 View Camera ended up being the final shot, selected for the photographer’s revered elegance in capturing the likeness and spirit of his peers. Indeed, Self-portrait with Famous Photographers marks a rare and a most exciting moment in the history of photography, when ten of the most talented and revered photographers in the world united for a wondrous spark.


Dancers of the Opéra de Paris Ballet School

Gelatin silver print.
12 7/8 x 10 1/4 in. (32.7 x 26 cm)
'Famous Photographers Schools', 'Original Art' and 'Please Return to Art Archives' stamps on the reverse of the mount.

$6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for $5,000

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Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs

Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York

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New York Auction 1 October