27 September 2018

Phillips Presents Early French Masterworks from The Hyman Collection              


To be Offered in ULTIMATE as a Highlight of the Photographs Sale In London on 1 November 2018

LONDON – 27 SEPTEMBER 2018 – Phillips is proud to offer Early French Masterworks from the Hyman Collection, the private collection of Claire and James Hyman, showcasing rare, important works from the 1840s to the 1850s by the first practitioners of negative-positive photography in France. The 13 featured pioneer-photographers – Édouard Baldus, Hippolyte Bayard, Louis De Clerq, Alphonse Delaunay, John Beasley Greene, Louis-Adolphe Humbert de Molard, Firmin-Eugène Le Dien and Gustave Le Gray, Charles Nègre, Pierre-Émile-Joseph Pécarrère, Henri-Victor Regnault, Louis-Rémy Robert and Félix Teynard – all adopted the new medium of photography in France and contributed towards its technical and artistic advancement. With estimates ranging from £15,000 to £150,000, this exceptional selection of 12 lots comprises 11 salt prints, of which three are accompanied by their unique paper negatives, and one albumen print. Early French Masterworks from the Hyman Collection will go on view in New York between 28 September and 3 October during the New York Photographs viewing, before being exhibited in Paris from 10 to 15 October, and will then be offered in this season’s edition of ULTIMATE, as a highlight of the Photographs Sale at Phillips London on 1 November 2018.

Yuka Yamaji, Co-Head of Photographs, Europe, said, “We are honoured to collaborate with Claire and James Hyman to present Early French Masterworks from the Hyman Collection in ULTIMATE this autumn. It is exceedingly rare in today’s market to find salt prints and paper negatives that are not only technically and aesthetically superior but also in excellent condition as seen in this curation. This offering presents collectors a unique opportunity to acquire rare, museum-quality works from the medium’s early years.”

About the Collectors

James Hyman, said, “I will never forget my excitement at discovering for the first time French photography from its earliest years in the 1840s and 1850s. We already collected modernist and contemporary photographs, but early French salt prints and paper negatives soon became an obsession. Besides beauty there is rarity and many of these works are unique or the only known print. However, as we are now devoting more and more time and energy to supporting modern and contemporary British photography we felt the time was right to let these early French photographs find new homes. We hope that their new owners will derive as much pleasure from these photographs as we have.”

Claire Hyman, said, “This is an exceptional opportunity for collectors to acquire some of the greatest French photographs in private hands. It’s been a labour of love to track down these works from sources across the world and we will be sad to part with such an important collection of works that are unique or irreplaceable. However, it is time for the photographs to find new homes and for us to take new journeys. We hope that proceeds from this auction will help us to develop our support for British photography, especially contemporary practise, over the years ahead.”


About the Collection

A leading highlight of the collection is Model reclining in the artist’s studio, a rare and important early figure study by master French photographer Charles Nègre (estimate: £100,000-150,000). Trained as a painter – studying under Paul Delaroche, Michel-Martin Drolling and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres – Nègre began experimenting with paper photography in 1848-49. According to research published in the 1976 exhibition catalogue Charles Nègre 1820-1880 by the pioneering photography collector and historian André Jammes, and James Borcoman, the National Gallery of Canada’s former Curator of Photographs, this untrimmed salt print from a waxed paper negative was likely taken in 1849 or early 1850 in Nègre’s studio as a study for his painting La Lecture [The Reading], which was exhibited at the Salon in 1850. Originally from the esteemed collection of Marie-Thérèse and André Jammes, the work to be offered is the only known print of this image to date and is likely unique. At present, a total of only two salt prints and five paper negatives of studies with the same model in the artist’s studio, presumably from the same sitting, are known to exist. Of the five paper negatives, the Musée d’Orsay and the Bibliothèque nationale de France each holds a negative of a variant. It is likely that the waxed paper negative of the present image has not survived. 

Another highlight is an exceptional positive and negative pair of Karnak in Thebes (Luxor) by Félix Teynard, the French master of paper photography in Egypt (estimate: £70,000-90,000). A civil engineer from Grenoble, Teynard travelled to Egypt in 1851-52 with the desire to create a photographic complement to the monumental Description de l’Égypte (published 1810-28) from Napoleon’s 1798-1801 expedition. Using the paper negative process with great success, Teynard was only the second after Maxime Du Camp to photograph in Egypt; Teynard’s negatives were larger in format and his subjects were more varied than those of his predecessor. Teynard’s survey was published serially from 1853-54, and then in 1858 as Égypte et Nubie: sites et monuments les plus intéressants pour l’étude de l’art et de l’histoire, a compilation volume of 160 plates. Distinguished by its warm, reddish hue, the salt print to be offered is Plate 51 – showing the Court and the remaining column by the Second Pylon entrance to the Hypostyle Hall – from a rare, complete copy of Égypte et Nubie originally from the library of the Marquis Emmanuel du Bourg de Bozas Chaix d’est-Ange, Château de Prye. Once part of a group of negatives by Teynard in a private French collection, the paired waxed paper negative is clearly visible even without transmitted light and reveals the photographer’s intricate handwork. By applying black ink to the sky and boulders, as well as blue watercolour to the column, he heightened the chiaroscuro qualities of the paper negative. Created over 150 years ago, this negative is a unique relic and represents early techniques and artistry that have been lost in present day photography. This is the first auction offering of Teynard’s paper negative paired with its salt print.

Painter-turned-photographer Édouard Baldus was celebrated in his time for his large-format architectural views of Paris, of which La Madeleine is an exceptional example (estimate: £30,000-50,000). It was likely taken in 1852-55, during which time Baldus photographed the main monuments of Paris for the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Developing his own refinement to the Calotype process, Baldus was able to create images of unequalled sharpness and clarity as evidenced in this print. Ernest Lacan (1828-1879), editor of La Lumière, Europe’s first photography journal, wrote in the autumn of 1853 that he had observed ‘rare perfection,’ ‘tonal beauty,’ and ‘incredible fineness of detail’ in Baldus’s photographs of Paris. This salt print from a waxed paper negative was originally in an album of early French photographs, mainly by Baldus and his contemporary Pierre Manguin, that had been in the same private collection in Lyon since the 1870s. According to the family archive, a great grand-uncle who was an architect had corresponded with Manguin who had initially trained as an architectural draftsman. This work is the earliest known print and the only known untrimmed print of this image to date. Other known prints of this image are trimmed, as well as signed, titled and numbered in the negative, including one held at the Musée Carnavalet, Paris, which was reproduced in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1994 monograph on Baldus and there dated from the mid-1850s.

Auction: Thursday, 1 November 2018, 2pm

Auction viewing: 26 October - 1 November

Location: 30 Berkeley Square, London

Click here for more information.





Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world.  In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services.

Visit www.phillips.com for further information.


*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.


The Hyman Collection is the private collection of Claire and James Hyman. It began in 1996 and consists of around 3,000 artworks in all media. Over the last fifteen years The Hyman Collection has focused more and more on international photography from the 1840s to the present. In recent years The Hyman Collection has increased its attention to British photography and has sought to support and promote it through acquisitions, loans, education and donations. In 2015 it launched www.britishphotography.org to provide online access to British photographs in the collection and to use this part of the collection as an educational resource. The Hyman Collection includes an equal number of works by male and female artists, and seeks to champion diversity. It encompasses varied forms of photography and embraces modernist, documentary, feminist and conceptual practice.  The Hyman Collection is committed to presenting British photography internationally, as well as nationally, in order to increase knowledge of British culture. In 2018 exhibitions of the collection were staged at the Yale Centre for British Art (USA) and the Hepworth Wakefield, England (2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year). The Hyman Collection is committed to philanthropy. In 2017 The Hyman Collection donated 125 pictures to the Yale Center for British Art (New Haven, USA).

More information about the Hyman Collection can be found at www.britishphotography.org

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