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

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  • “I pointed my camera at people who…needed someone to say something for them.”
    — Gordon Parks
    In 1956, in the wake of Rosa Parks’ defying act and the subsequent Montgomery bus boycott, LIFE magazine sent Gordon Parks to photograph racial tension in the Jim Crow South. In Mobile and Shady Grove, Alabama, Parks concentrated on members of the related Thornton, Causey, and Tanner families, photographing them as they navigated their way through an inequitable society. Parks’ made subtly-charged images of his subjects in designated ‘colored’ spaces – at water fountains, in shops and theaters. But he also showed them in their own homes, illustrating the sameness of their lives to their white counterparts’, albeit within the sphere of second-class citizenship. 


    While many of Parks’ fellow photographers focused on protests and the charismatic figures at the forefront of the civil rights movement, Parks’ attention to the quiet moments of routine racism offered a personal perspective to the national news story. By capturing his subjects in vivid color, Park infused his photographs with a vitality and humanity that was essential to his storytelling. His work became a moving document of Black America – its community, its family pride, and its resilience in the face of cruel adversity. On 24 September 1956, LIFE published twenty-six of these images in a photo essay titled The Restraints: Open and Hidden


    Excerpts from “The Restraints: Open and Hidden”, LIFE, 24 September 1956

    Segregation Story, a portfolio of 12 archival pigment prints, was published in 2012 and includes three of the images published in LIFE as well as nine discovered by the Gordon Parks Foundation in 2011, five years after the photographer’s death. This is the first time a complete portfolio has been offered at auction.  Other complete editions of this portfolio are in the collections of The High Museum, Atlanta; The Schomburg Center, New York The Birmingham Museum, Birmingham; and A Private Foundation.

    • Literature

      Steidl, Gordon Parks: Segregation Story, pp. 45, 159, 269


Segregation Story

Pleasantville, New York: The Gordon Parks Foundation, 2012. Twelve inkjet prints.
Varying sizes from 13 5/8 x 13 5/8 in. (34.6 x 34.6 cm) to 15 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (40 x 27.3 cm)
Each with the portfolio stamp and signed, dated, and numbered 5/25 by Peter Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director, The Gordon Parks Foundation, in pencil on the verso. Accompanied by a printed introduction by Maurice Berger, signed, dated, and numbered 5/25 in pencil by Peter Kunhardt, Jr., on the colophon. Enclosed within a silver-stamped and embossed black linen portfolio. Number 5 from an edition of 25.

Full Cataloguing

$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $114,300

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