Peter Beard - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • When Peter Beard began photographing the landscape and wildlife of Africa in the 1960s he was motivated both by a deep love for the continent and a desire to bring attention to the devastation occurring throughout the land. In 1970, the elephant population in Africa was estimated to be roughly 1.4 million but drought and poachers took their toll and, today, the population stands at just over 400,000.


    This portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints was self-published by the artist in 2008 and includes his most iconic photographs of elephants taken between 1960 and 1984. Despite being nearly killed by the animal in the 1990s, they remained a source of great inspiration to him and this portfolio is his love letter to the power and beauty of this majestic creature.


    Another complete portfolio is currently on view at the Wendell Gilley Museum, Maine in the exhibition Nature’s Masterpiece: Elephant Photographs of Peter Beard through 4 November 2023.

    • Provenance

      Peter Beard Studio, New York, 2012

    • Literature

      Life, vol. 44, no. 178, December 1967, cover
      Taschen, Peter Beard, vol. 2, pp. 47, 129, 133, 144 (including variants)
      Bowermaster, The Adventures and Misadventures of Peter Beard in Africa, p. 65
      Each citation for various prints

    • Catalogue Essay

      The photographs included in this lot are as follows:

      Life Cover, 1967
      Elephant's Memory, 1972
      Gardeners of Eden, 1984
      Aberdare Forest Elephants, 1966
      Elephants at Night, 1984
      Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1984
      Tiva Lugga Tsavo North, 1965
      Elephant & Eland at Kathamula on the Tiva Dary River, 1965
      Elephant Under Kilimanjaro, 1984
      Uganda Overpopulation with Alistair Graham for Wildlife Services, 1966
      Reaching Elephant, 1960
      "Starvo" 965 Elephants, 1976
      Bull Elephant Demonstration, 1965
      Rest in Peace, 1972-1973
      Elephant Embryo, 1966

Property from an International Collector


Ele Portfolio

New York: Peter Beard Studio, 2008. Fifteen selenium toned gelatin silver prints, printed by Steve Rifkin.
Thirteen prints approximately 16 x 24 in. (40.6 x 60.3 cm) or the reverse; two prints 8 x 23 3/4 in. (20.3 x 60.3 cm)
Each signed, dated, and numbered in ink in the margin. Accompanied by printed title, essay by Romain Gary, plate list, and colophon. Enclosed within a quarter-leather clamshell box with gilt-lettered leather title label, and linen slipcase. Number 5 from an edition of 15 plus 2 artist's proofs.

Full Cataloguing

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $88,900

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023