Christie's Announces Fall Sales of Photographs, Prints and Multiples from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monday, September 20, 2021
Christie's Announces Fall Sales of Photographs, Prints and Multiples from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Christie’s announces it has been entrusted to sell a selection of photographs, prints and multiples from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Christie’s announces it has been entrusted to sell a selection of photographs, prints and multiples from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All of the works are duplicates of works within the Museum’s collection. The Met has shared it will use the sale proceeds to support care of its collection in accordance with its Collections Management Policy – in line with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) policy that enables institutions to direct funds from deaccession sales toward collection care for a limited period of time in consideration of earned revenue losses resulting from the ongoing pandemic. Works spanning the history of photography will be offered beginning with a dedicated online sale of 168 lots of Civil War photography from 24 September–7 October. Sixteen lots, including seven Robert Frank images from his seminal book The Americans, will be included in a dedicated section of the 6 October live Photographs auction. Prints and multiples will be featured in the online sale, A Graphic Century: 1875–1975 from 4-18 November.

ROBERT FRANK (1924–2019), Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955 Estimate: $100,000-150,000

Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas, comments: “We treasure our relationship with the museums that have been so profoundly affected by the pandemic, and yet continued to engage the public both in person and digitally when their doors were closed. Christie’s is honored to be entrusted to present this selection of works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art at auction which will provide meaningful support to their care of collections.” 

Darius Himes, International Head of Photographs, Christie’s, remarks: “Christie’s is honored to offer a selection of photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art that includes examples that span much of the history of the medium, beginning with a collection of Civil War photographs, created at a time when photography was still a recent invention, and extending to the early 1970s with the offering of artist books by Ed Ruscha and Allen Ruppersberg. Quality photographic material of the Civil War made by the principal players rarely comes to market, and these auctions present a unique opportunity to support the Museum and own a piece of photographic history.”

Richard Lloyd, International Head of Prints and Multiples, Christie’s, remarks: “One of the most important roles any major museum has is to assemble a comprehensive and considered survey of whichever fields they cover. As befits one of the great print collections of the world, the selection offered here illustrates how thoughtfully the curators have pursued this task. From pop iconography of Jim Dine, James Rosenquist and Roy Lichtenstein, through the experimental printmaking of Jean Dubuffet to the vorticist works of the British war artist C.R.W. Nevinson, each work is a prime example of its type. They are destined to enhance print collections worldwide.” 



The Civil War photographs are among the earliest photographic documentation of a conflict on American soil and represent the innovators in the new medium of photography — Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, and George Barnard. The 168 albumen prints offered for sale are duplicate works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which holds one of the largest and most celebrated collections of Civil War photographs at any public institution. Most of these photographs were acquired in 1933 from the storied collection of The Military Order of the Loyal Legion.

A distinguished selection of sixteen works in the 6 October live Photographs sale includes works by Brassaï, Anne Brigman, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Robert Frank, André Kertész, Eadweard Muybridge, and a book of photogravures published by the New York Camera Club in 1900.


Prints and Multiples

Printmaking expanded dramatically in scope during the century covered in the online auction of A Graphic Century: 1875–1975, open for bidding from 4-18 November. The consignment by The Metropolitan Museum of Art perfectly illustrates the rapid development of the field, with seminal works Jim Dine, Jean Dubuffet, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro, C.R.W. Nevinson, Pablo Picasso and an important group of early lithographs by Frank Stella. 

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