William Eggleston - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

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

  • In 1976, John Szarkowski organized the first solo exhibition of William Eggleston’s work at The Museum of Modern Art. The photographs in William Eggleston’s Guide, rendered as deeply saturated dye-transfer prints, confounded much of the photography world at the time. Color was generally associated with commercial – not fine art – photography, and Eggleston’s quotidian and quirky choice of subject matter was at odds with what was then regarded as serious photography. But the exhibition and the associated book have since become touchstones of 20th century photography, and Eggleston’s subtle and masterfully printed work is now understood as a continuation and modernization of the ‘anti-graphic’ approach pioneered by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and others. Morton, Mississippi, was featured in the exhibition and the book, and shows the photographer working at the peak of his abilities. The benign subject within his quaint surroundings is given a hint of menace by the presence of the revolver he holds.


    John Rohrbach, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Amon Carter and an authority of color photography, notes that Eggleston found his ideal print medium in the dye transfer – also known as dye imbibition – process.  He writes:


    ‘Just as [Eliot] Porter had recognized years earlier, the dye imbibition process allowed Eggleston to draw attention to color without making it the subject of the photograph. It enabled his colors to describe and hover, actively shaping the emotional tenor of his images without getting in the way of subject’ (John Rohrbach, Color: American Photography Transformed, pp. 155-6).


    William Eggleston’s Guide, exhibition catalogue (1976)
    • Provenance

      Cheim & Read, New York, 2017
      Private Collection, Texas
      Collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

    • Literature

      Szarkowski, William Eggleston's Guide, pp. 100-101
      Hasselblad Center, William Eggleston, pl. 37
      Thames & Hudson, William Eggleston, p. 97
      Whitney Museum of American Art, William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008, p. 76

    • Catalogue Essay

      The photographs in this sale offered as lots 168 through 186 come from the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and are being sold to benefit acquisition funds. Photography has been a focus of the museum since its founding in 1961 when Dorothea Lange approached the museum about acquiring her portraits of Western painter Charles Russell. Director Mitchell A. Wilder readily made the acquisition, initiating an active engagement with photography and photographers that continues today. In its history, the museum has pursued ambitious exhibition and publication programs, including Marnie Sandweiss’s groundbreaking Photography in Nineteenth Century America (1991) and John Rohrbach’s definitive Color: American Photography Transformed (2013). It was the Amon Carter Museum that commissioned Richard Avedon to produce the series of portraits exhibited and published in 1985 as In the American West.

      Driven by a succession of dynamic photography curators, the Amon Carter early-on established a robust photography acquisition program, collecting singular masterworks as well as entire archives. The collection now encompasses more than 45,000 exhibition-quality photographs ranging from one of the first photographs created in the United States to works made as recently as this year. It also includes eight artist archives – including those of Laura Gilpin, Carlotta Corpron, Eliot Porter, and Karl Struss – that allow scholars opportunities to delve deeply into the working methods of these seminal photographers.

    • Artist Biography

      William Eggleston

      American • 1939

      William Eggleston's highly saturated, vivid images, predominantly capturing the American South, highlight the beauty and lush diversity in the unassuming everyday. Although influenced by legends of street photography Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eggleston broke away from traditional black and white photography and started experimenting with color in the late 1960s.

      At the time, color photography was widely associated with the commercial rather than fine art — something that Eggleston sought to change. His 1976 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Color Photographs, fundamentally shifted how color photography was viewed within an art context, ushering in institutional acceptance and helping to ensure Eggleston's significant legacy in the history of photography.

      View More Works

Property of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art sold to Benefit Acquisition Funds


Morton, Mississippi

circa 1972
Dye transfer print, printed 1986.
20 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (52.7 x 34.9 cm)
Signed in ink, 'William Eggleston's Guide' and edition stamps on the verso. Number 5 from an edition of 11.

Full Cataloguing

$40,000 - 60,000 

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