Edward Steichen - Photographs New York Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Phillips

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  • The remarkable selection of photographs offered in this auction as lots 203 through 240 comes from the collection of Peter C. Bunnell (1937-2021), the pioneering curator, teacher, and photographic historian. All of the sale’s proceeds will be distributed to six institutions with whom Bunnell was associated — Rochester Institute of Technology, Ohio University, Yale University, The George Eastman Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and Princeton University Art Museum — to establish endowments to support the study of photographic history.


    Bunnell began his long career in photography as a student of Minor White’s at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the 1950s, and was recruited by White to work on the seminal periodical of artistic photography, Aperture. He joined the staff of The Museum of Modern Art in 1966 as a collection cataloguer, becoming Associate Curator and then Curator of Photography. At MoMA he curated the noteworthy exhibitions Photography as Printmaking (1968), Photography into Sculpture (1970), and the first retrospective of the work of Clarence H. White (1971). In 1972, he was hired as the inaugural David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University. 


    Bunnell served as Director of the Princeton University Art Museum from 1973 to 1978, and as Acting Director from 1998 to 2000, while also being the Museum’s Curator of Photography throughout the entirety of his tenure. Bunnell built a broad-ranging collection of photographs at the Museum, the firsthand examination of which became a central element of the student experience in his classes and seminars. Bunnell also assembled a personal collection of photography over the course of his long career that reflects his vast and deep understanding of the medium. Begun in the 1950s, before photography galleries and dealers were commonplace, Bunnell’s collection is a deeply personal one, put together with a sense of joy and curiosity that includes both icons and lesser-known gems spanning the history of photography.

    • Provenance

      Collection of Peter C. Bunnell, Princeton, New Jersey

    • Catalogue Essay

      The plates included in this lot are as follows:

      I. Rodin—Le Penseur
      II. George Frederick Watts
      III. Maurice Maeterlinck
      IV. Eleonore Duse
      V. J. Pierpont Morgan, Esq.
      VI. Clarence H. White
      VII. William M. Chase
      VIII. Mr. and Mrs. Steichen
      IX. A. Bartholome
      X. The White Lady
      XI. Lilac Buds
      XII. Solitude
      XIII. The Little Round Mirror
      XV. La Cigale
      XVI. The Little Model
      XVII. The Model and the Mask
      XVIII. Profile
      XX. Poster Lady
      XXI. Portrait—W. M. C.
      XXII. The Big White Cloud—Lake George
      XXIII. The Pond—Moonrise
      XXIV. Mother and Child—Sunlight
      XXV. The Flatiron
      XXVI. Experiment in Three-color Photography
      XXVII. Landscape in Two Colors
      XXVIII. Road to the Valley—Moonrise
      XXIX. Figure with Lens—Poster Design

A Reverence for Beauty: The Peter C. Bunnell Collection, Part 2


Steichen (The Steichen Book)

New York: Alfred Stieglitz, 1906. Illustrated with 27 of the original 29 prints produced for the volume including 19 photogravures, 5 halftone prints, 1 two-color halftone print, and 2 tricolor halftone prints.
The plates various sizes from 4 1/4 x 4 7/8 in. (10.8 x 12.4 cm) to 8 3/8 x 6 1/2 in. (21.3 x 16.5 cm).

Signed by Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz, numbered '6' in pencil on the colophon. Folio, gilt-lettered quarter vellum. Number 6 from a projected edition of 65.

Full Cataloguing

$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $53,340

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 4 April 2023