Press | Phillips

20 March 2024

Phillips’ New York Photographs Auction on 5 April Showcases Esteemed Works by Renowned Artists

Phillips’ New York Photographs Auction on 5 April Showcases Esteemed Works by Renowned Artists


Featuring the Full Spectrum of the Photographic Medium, From Alfred Stieglitz to Hiroshi Sugimoto, and More


Sale to Include a Select Single-Owner Offering, Figure + Form: Photographs from a Private Collection


Auction Follows Dedicated Sale on 4 April of Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation


Richard Avedon
Francis Bacon, artist, Paris, 4-11-79, 1979
Estimate $100,000 - 150,000

NEW YORK – 20 MARCH 2024 – Phillips is pleased to present its spring Photographs lineup in New York. As previously announced, a single-owner auction of Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation will take place on 4 April, followed by a various-owner sale full of exemplary material from a variety of private collections. The various-owner sale will take place on 5 April with two sessions at 10am and 2pm. The auction showcases pieces from renowned classic photographers like Alexander Rodchenko, Man Ray, and Irving Penn, as well as contemporary artists such as Richard Learoyd, Vee Speers, and Helmut Newton, among others.


Sarah Krueger, Head of Photographs, New York, said, “It is a rare and wonderful thing to be featuring two sales this April that are so complementary to one another, and that will present collectors with a wide array of top-tier material to compete for. We look forward to welcoming clients to our pre-auction exhibition, and to our salesroom for two live auctions on 4 and 5 April.”


Figure + Form: Photographs from a Private Collection

Phillips is proud to present Figure + Form: Photographs from a Private Collection featured as its own section within Phillips’ 5 April auction. Built over four decades by a collector with an experienced eye and discerning connoisseurship, this stellar selection shows photography’s full expressive range as illustrated by many of the medium’s marquee names. Foremost among these is Alexander Rodchenko, whose Gathering for a Demonstration shows how revolutionary the artist’s vision was. Rodchenko took this photograph from the elevated vantage point of his studio balcony, which throws the scene below into a tautly framed Constructivist composition. The example presented here is a unique print upon which the artist has delineated and emphasized details with the application of pigment on the print’s surface.


Another classic piece is Man Ray’s circa 1920 photograph made in his New York City studio, Study of Danger/Dancer and Other Works, which shows three artworks from his Dada period. An early print from Walker Evans’ seminal book American Photographs, made in Tupelo, Mississippi, shows the artist’s keen interest in vernacular architecture. The collection is especially strong in photographers associated with Chicago’s Institute of Design, including two rare early exhibition prints by Aaron Siskind and Harry Callahan, both shown at The Museum of Modern Art.


Tina Modotti’s 1924 Untitled (Mexico City) illustrates the artist’s compositional precision and is one of only a few known prints of the image. Two classic Edward Steichen photographs, Harmonica Riddle and Backbone and Ribs of a Sunflower, show the young artist establishing his own brand of American photographic Modernism. Other works in Figure + Form include Bill Brandt’s iconic Nude Torso, as well as significant works by Irving Penn, Robert Adams, Josef Koudelka, and others.



Phillips’ spring Photographs auction offers a full range of material from the nineteenth century to the current day. Richard Avedon’s mural-sized diptych portrait Francis Bacon, artist, Paris 4-11-79 [illustrated page one] shows the painter at his peak of creativity. Bacon’s pensive visage hints at the man’s complexities, while the bisected frame resonates with Bacon’s own iconoclastic approach to composition. This is one of the photographs that helped seal Avedon’s reputation as the greatest portraitist of the post-war period.


Leading Phillips’ offerings of classic material is a rare large-format print of Alfred Stieglitz’s The Net Mender, a study of a young woman mending fishing nets on the dunes in Katwijk aan Zee, Netherlands. Stieglitz was fascinated by his subject’s complete dedication to her task and created this study which references the work of Millet but leans into photography’s unique ability to capture the light and detail of a specific time and place. This is one of only three carbon prints of this image known to exist.


The auction’s robust Contemporary offerings include Hiroshi Sugimoto’s United Nations Headquarters, from his series of conceptually rigorous and visually superb architectural studies. Richard Learoyd’s The River Stour from Deadman's Bridge near Flatford (Winter) is the first of the photographer’s serene camera obscura landscapes to be offered at auction. Another debut is Sandra Kantanen, who makes her first United States auction appearance with the sublimely meditative Untitled (Sakura 5). Vee Speers’ Untitled #16, the definitive image from her series The Birthday Party, captures her daughter’s last days of childhood, combining whimsy, meticulous styling, and technical excellence in equal measures.  Excellent works by Peter Hujar, Vik Muniz, Gregory Crewdson, Helmut Newton, Sally Mann, Vera Lutter, Ana Mendieta, and many others are featured. An especially choice example from Thomas Ruff’s nudes series is also on offer, as is Sohei Nishino’s masterful multi-image Diorama Map Tokyo. Following its success with the collection in 2023, Phillips will continue its offering of material from the collection of Fred and Laura Bidwell, founders of Cleveland’s Transformer Station exhibition space, including work by Kehinde Wiley, Todd Hido, Alison Rossiter, and Chris McCaw.


Edward Steichen is represented by several images that demonstrate his incomparable technical and aesthetic skills, including Big and Little Sunflower. The Steichens and Constantin Brancusi’s sculptural masterwork Mademoiselle Pogany II all come originally from the collection of poet, journalist, and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg, the photographer’s brother-in-law and author of the 1929 book, Steichen the Photographer.


Phillips is honored to offer a select group of photographs by Josef Sudek being sold by the Art Gallery of Ontario to benefit acquisition funds. Other classic offerings include Margaret Bourke-White’s haut-Modernist study of the George Washington Bridge, a fine selection of work by Ansel Adams, as well as two majestic mammoth-plate studies by Carleton Watkins, the 19th-century master of American landscape photography. 



Auction: 5 April 2024 10am & 2pm EDT

Auction viewing: 27 March - 4 April

Location: 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY, United States, 10022

Click here for more information:



Phillips: where the world’s curious and bold connect with the art, design and luxury that inspires them. As a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century works, Phillips offers dedicated expertise in the areas of Modern and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewels. Auctions and exhibitions are primarily held in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, with representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips offers a regular selection of live and online auctions, along with items available for immediate purchase. Phillips also offers a range of services and advice on all aspects of collecting, including private sales and assistance with appraisals, valuations, and financial planning.

Visit for further information.


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


PRESS CONTACTS:            

NEW YORK – Jaime Israni, Head of PR and Corporate Communications, Americas  


PHILLIPS NEW YORK – 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022

PHILLIPS LONDON – 30 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EX

PHILLIPS HONG KONG – G/F, WKCDA Tower, West Kowloon Cultural District, No. 8 Austin Road, West Kowloon