Iconic Photographs

On the occasion of its photography jubilee, Lempertz’ special catalogue 30 Years of Photographyat Lempertz – 30 Photographic Masterworks spans a wide arc in terms of content and technique from the beginning of photography to the present day. In 1989, Lempertz was the first German auction house to introduce the sale of photography in Germany – a pioneering achievement. To celebrate, Lempertz has released its own catalogue with 30 highlights ...

The highpoint of the auction was by Karl Blossfeldt with his characteristic shot Aconitum anthora (Eisenhut) from 1915–20 for which an American bidder conceded € 47,000 (lot 4). A further important representative of New Objective photography of the 1920s, Albert Renger-Patzsch, was present with “Industrielandschaft bei Essen, Kiesgrube bei Bottrop”, a vintage from 1929 which the German trade took on for € 15,000 (lot 6, € 12/15,000).

A further top lot was Irving Penn’s famous photograph Gisele (B) New York from 1999, as a print from 2002, which reached € 31,000 (lot 24, € 25/30,000). Horst P. Horst’s famous fashion shot of Mainbocher Corsets brought in € 12,500 (lot 12, € 10/15,000), whilst Ansel Adams’ later gelatin silver print from 1958, the famous shot of Aspens, Northern New Mexico, went to an American collection for € 14,000 (lot 16).

One photograph which has strongly influenced the collective image memory of the second half of the 20th century is Neil Armstrong’s recording of his colleague, Buzz Aldrin’s, first steps on the surface of the moon. The shot was keenly sought-after and sold eventually to a German collector for € 33,000 (lot 19, € 20,000). Julius Shulman created an iconic image of American post-war modernism with his nocturnal view of the spectacular Case Study House #22, Los Angeles, California, which was acquired by a Dutch collector for € 12,500 (lot 17, € 10/15,000).

Andreas Gursky’s late autumn-hazy landscape Meerbusch from 1987/88 took € 21,000 (lot 22, € 18/22,000).

The regular “Photography” auction also produced high results such as a price of € 15,000 for Lucia Moholy’s twenty vintages Bauhaus Dessau from 1929 (lot 56, € 5/7,000). The beautiful shot of Christy Turlington with towel, Panoramic View, Montauk from Sante D’Orazio sold after a serious bidding war for € 11,000 (lot 167, € 4/5,000).