Peter Hujar - Photographs London Tuesday, November 22, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • “You immediately see the clumsy elegance of a dog, the tragic gaze of a cow, the physical mass of a black horse, the ludicrous, coquettish turn of a goose, but on second examination you realise that each animal bears the weight of the same tragic and irrevocable mortality as Hujar’s human sitters.”
    —Hripsimé Visser, Peter Hujar: A Retrospective, 1994
    As exemplified here, Peter Hujar’s animal portraits embody a unique empathy for his subjects, depicting the essence of each animal. Having spent his early childhood on his grandparents’ farm in New Jersey, Hujar photographed animals with the same intimacy and respect as he did his friends. To achieve this closeness, he would approach slowly, speaking softly over a long period to build a rapport and soothe the subject into stillness. This rare lifetime print with delicate textures and powerful chiaroscuro effect demonstrates Hujar’s incredible technical skill in the darkroom.


    Although Hujar has annotated ‘ED 1/3’ on the verso of the current print, the Peter Hujar Archive knows of only two extant lifetime prints of this image – the other print is unsigned.

    • Provenance

      Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, 2006
      Sotheby's, New York, 3 October 2018, lot 191

    • Exhibited

      Peter Hujar: A Retrospective, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1994, another

    • Literature

      Peter Hujar: A Retrospective, New York: Scalo, 1994, p. 135
      Peter Hujar: Night, San Francisco and New York: Fraenkel Gallery and Matthew Marks Gallery, 2005, fig. 3



Cow with Straw in its Mouth

Gelatin silver print.
37 x 37 cm (14 5/8 x 14 5/8 in.)
Signed, titled 'COW W. STRAW IN MOUTH', dated and annotated in pencil on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £22,680

Contact Specialist

Rachel Peart
Head of Department, London

Yuka Yamaji
Head of Photographs, Europe

General Enquiries
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 22 November 2022