Erwin Olaf - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “The shots I took in Berlin were meant to be restless. They should provoke an unsettled feeling in my mind, but also in your mind. They should be like a nightmare.”
    —Erwin Olaf

    In his Berlin series, Erwin Olaf photographed a range of costumed characters in various historical settings throughout the city including the Stadtbad Neukölln; Clarchens ballhaus; and, as seen here, Olympiastadion. In each location Olaf photographed himself walking up a set of stairs; his role as photographer indicated by the camera in his left hand. Due to his own personal health issues, stairs became the perfect embodiment of a nightmare scenario, brilliantly enhanced by his deft use of chiaroscuro and the seemingly endless ascent before him.

    • Provenance

      Hasted Kraeutler, New York

    • Literature

      Aperture, Erwin Olaf Volume II, pp. 90-1


Berlin, Olympia Stadion, Westend, Selbstporträt, 25th of April

Chromogenic print.
46 3/4 x 69 3/4 in. (118.7 x 177.2 cm)
Overall 48 x 71 1/4 in. (121.9 x 181 cm)

Signed, titled, dated and numbered 4/10 in ink on an artist's label affixed to the reverse of the flush-mount.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023