Photography - A new top price for Heinrich Kühn


For the fourth time in a row, Lempertz offered a selection of outstanding high quality prints by Heinrich Kühn, the master of pictorialistphotography. Made in 1898, the large-format combination gumprint "In Bacino di San Marco, Venezia", with its atmospheric outlook reminiscent of vedutapainting of the 19th century, was one of the highlights of the auction with a result of 40,000 euro, passing into an American collection (lot 18, € 20/30,000).

Photography │ 31 May 2019

A daguerreotypefrom 1845 depicting the sixfounders of the "PhysikalischeGesellschaft zu Berlin" shortly after its foundation, offered a particular rarity. The picture was taken by the physicist and mineralogist Gustav Karsten (1820–1900), who, thanks to the long exposure time, is also seen with his colleagues. The photograph was sold to a Germancollection for € 6,500 (lot 1, € 6/8,000).

A portfolio by Willy Zielke consisted of a selection of twelve still lifes from the years 1929–35 with the characteristic close-up views of Objective photography. The elaborate portfolio, one of only a few examples, has never been offered before at auction and this example sold for € 7,500 to the German trade (lot 59, € 6,000). Significant increaseswere seen by prints by Marianne Breslauer, whose vintage "Sommer" from 1929 was met with intense bidding, pushing past the € 1,500/2,000 estimate to reach € 10,000 (lot 56), a vintage by T. Lux Feininger with the same estimate, reaching € 7,500 (lot 54), a further vintage by Walter Dexel from 1925 rising to € 8,700 (lot 57, € 800/1,000), as well as another vintage by Fritz Schleifer, jumping from the € 800 estimate up to € 7,000 (lot 51).

Robert Mapplethorpe's "Snakeman" belongs to those portraits in which the photographer presents his models with antique attributes: this example shows an anonymousyoung man wearing a black satyr mask,reminiscent of a fetish object. The print was taken over into a German collection for € 10,500 (lot 156, € 8,000). Colour photography by Saul Leiter has rarely been offered at German-speaking auctions. His C-print "Snow" from 1960 changed hands for € 8,700 (lot 147, € 5/7,000). "Antartica", showing a mountain reaching up to the horizon populated by penguins, from the famous "Genesis" series by Sebastião Salgado was also offered for sale and was won by a North German collection for € 10,000 (lot 182, € 8,000).

Contemporary Art + Photography │ 1 June 2019

Highlights of the "Contemporary Art" auction included a large-format work by Marina Abramovic depicting a film still from the video installation "Balkan Erotic Epic". The artist herself poses as the goddess of fertility, as seen in traditional Balkan folk culture. It sold for € 25,000 (lot 625, € 25/30,000). "TattooedFuck" by Nabuyoshi Araki is a popularmotif from his "Tokyo Comedy" series, and sold to the Netherlands for € 20,000 (lot 647, € 20/30,000).

Further top lots were from photographers of the "Düsseldorf School", including Axel Hütte with a poetic shot of an Icelandic waterfall as a large-format C-print, which sold for € 19,000 (lot 903, € 15/20,000). A screen print from the series "Anderes Portrait" by Thomas Ruff sold for € 11,000 (lot 850, € 9,000), whilst Elger Esser was present with a characteristically light, old masterly river landscape, shining as if lit from within, which sold for € 10,000 (8/12,000).