Margaret Bourke-White - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Originally from the Collection of Margaret Bourke-White

  • Exhibited

    Ideas in Images, Worcester Art Museum, October - December 1962, and travelling thereafter to other venues through February 1965

  • Literature

    Pollack, Ideas in Images, pl. 12 (this print)
    LIFE, 26 December 1960, p. 100
    Brown, Margaret Bourke-White: Photojournalist, p. 85

  • Catalogue Essay

    In April 1945, Margaret Bourke-White accompanied General George Patton and his Third Army troops into the concentration camp at Buchenwald. This was the first concentration camp to be liberated by western forces, and Bourke-White’s images documented the horrific scene. The intensity of the experience was a challenge for Bourke-White, who wrote: 'Using the camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me.'

    Bourke-White’s photographs of Buchenwald were reproduced the following month in LIFE magazine, although this image was not included within those pages. It was ultimately published by the magazine in 1960 in an anniversary issue devoted to photography. The caption reads: 'Grim Greeting at Buchenwald: In Margaret Bourke-White’s grim comment on man’s inhumanity to man, survivors of Buchenwald stare out at their Allied rescuers like so many living corpses, barely able to believe that they would be freed from a Nazi camp where the only deliverance had been death.'

    As indicated by the accompanying exhibition label, the oversized print was featured in the exhibition Ideas in Images curated by photographic historian Peter Pollack and organized by the American Federation of Arts, which toured from 1962 to 1965. The label states that this print was loaned by Bourke-White herself. Founded by Secretary of State Elihu Root in 1909, the American Federation of Arts was charged with creating touring exhibitions of original artworks.


The Living Dead at Buchenwald

Gelatin silver print, printed no later than 1962.
15 x 19 1/2 in. (38.1 x 49.5 cm)
American Federation of Arts exhibition label and credited and titled in an unidentified hand in ink on the reverse of the flush mount.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs, New York

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 12 October 2022