Danny Lyon - Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation New York Thursday, April 4, 2024 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • “When I signed in, I wrote, ‘Danny Lyon, Visitor.’ As to purpose of visit, I wrote, ‘Spy.’”

    Photographer Danny Lyon’s immersive style of practice furthered the development of ‘New Journalism’ within the photographic community and is characteristic of his lifelong interest in documenting the overlooked and outcast. In 1967 and 1968 he spent fourteen months in seven Texas prisons photographing the harsh, degrading, and monotonous routine of incarceration, capturing inmates serving all levels of sentencing, including death row. The resulting images were published in Lyon’s book Conversations with the Dead in 1971. During his time photographing in the prisons, he formed relationships with individual prisoners and earned their trust. An early lithographic version of the series was made in the print shop of The Walls penitentiary, the work supervised by inmate James ‘Smiley’ Renton. Taken as a whole, Conversations with the Dead is a document that encompasses both the personal and the institutional. Although made over 50 years ago, it has lost none of its relevance to the American carceral system. Long out of print, Conversations with the Dead was reissued by Phaidon in 2015. 

    • Provenance

      David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, 2005

    • Exhibited

      Danny Lyon, Foto Colectania, Barcelona, 18 October 2013 - 18 January 2014

    • Literature

      Cox, Danny Lyon: Message to the Future, p. 104, 187


Conversations with the Dead

New York: RFG Publishing, 1983. Seventy-six gelatin silver prints.
Each approximately 11 3/4 x 8 in. (29.8 x 20.3 cm) or the reverse
Each signed in pencil on the verso. Housed back-to-back within transparent sleeves, with printed title and colophon, the latter numbered '10' in an unidentified hand in ink. Enclosed within a grey linen post-bound album and slipcase. Number 10 from an edition of 50 plus 12 artist proofs.

Full Cataloguing

$50,000 - 70,000 

This lot is still available to purchase. Enter an offer amount below and a specialist will follow up with you. Standard buyer's premium will be added to your offer.

Contact Specialist

Caroline Deck
Senior Specialist, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas

Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation

New York Auction 4 April 2024