Josef Sudek - Photographs New York Friday, April 5, 2024 | Phillips
  • The Josef Sudek photographs offered in lots 402 through 406 come from the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and are being sold to benefit acquisition funds. The AGO is home to a remarkable collection of Josef Sudek photographs. Totaling over 1000 prints, it is one of the largest holdings of the photographer’s work. Within that group are a number of close variants which have been identified for deaccession. It is Phillips’ honor to work with the AGO on the sale of these photographs. 


    While the Art Gallery of Ontario committed to collecting photography in 1978, the museum did not have a curatorial department devoted to the medium until much later. In 2000, an anonymous gift of 973 photographs by Sudek was donated to the AGO. Covering the breadth of Sudek’s career, this large gift transformed the museum’s collection, brought new direction to the development of future collection-building, and prompted the creation of a curatorial department devoted specifically to photography. Since then, the photography collection at the AGO has grown to cover the entire history of the medium, from the 1840s to the present, and now includes more than 70,000 works, illustrating not only the historical breadth of the medium but the vibrancy of work created by photographers today. The sale of these Josef Sudek photographs will help ensure the continuance of the AGOs important work in this field. 


    For many years, beginning in the 1940s, Josef Sudek made still life images of the inanimate objects around him. Working in series, he photographed onions, beets, apples, pears, shells, glasses of water, eggs (as seen in this lot) and different arrangements of these combined objects. Often plainly lit and positioned so that the presence of the object was the main focus, Sudek referred to these studies as ‘simple still lifes,’ although that downplays the perfect aesthetic complexity of his compositions. 

    • Provenance

      Josef Sudek, Prague, Czechoslovakia
      Estate of Sudek and Anna Farova, Prague, 1976
      Private Collection, Toronto, Canada, 1997
      Donation to the Art Gallery of Ontario, 2000



Selected Still Life Studies of Eggs

Five gelatin silver prints.
Varying sizes from 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (8.9 x 8.9 cm) to 7 1/4 x 4 1/4 in. (18.4 x 10.8 cm)
Each with 'FOTO SUDEK' credit stamp on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for $6,096

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 5 April 2024