Christie’s is celebrating 160 years of diplomatic relations with Japan by holding a sale of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photographs alongside two other sales. The main sale will have a 105 lots, led by works by Irving Penn.
As part of Paris Photo, Christie’s France will organize three events around photography. The department will present for the first time, on November 8, a monographic sale dedicated to the Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. This sale, part of this 160th anniversary celebrating the diplomatic and artistic relations between Japan and France, will also coincide with Sugimoto’s current exhibition at the Château de Versailles, from 16 October 2018 to 17 February 2019.
In addition, a general sale turned this year towards contemporary photography and composed of 105 lots will be offered on the same day. The public will also have the opportunity to discover a fashion photography exhibition featuring nearly fifty photographs by F.C. Gundlach as well as works from his personal collection.
The sale dedicated to Hiroshi Sugimoto is a retrospective of his work, bringing together twenty-nine photographs with a global estimate of €1.5 to 2 million, representing the different themes he explored. One of the highlights of the sale, Sea of Japan, Rebun Island, estimated at €200,000-300,000, is part of the artist’s most famous series “Seascapes” which he began in the 1980’s.
Always looking to the past, Sugimoto had a great admiration for William Henri Fox Talbot‘s works which he has been collecting for several years. One of his series brings back Talbot’s paper negatives to life, copying and enlarging them to the point where the grain of the calotype becomes visible. Transforming the negative into a positive in a ten times larger format, in addition to hand-colored it, gives life to some of Talbot’s prints he never reproduced, such as Bust of Venus, November 26, 1840, 2007, estimated at €30,000-40,000.
One of his other famous series, “Lightning fields” will be offered through a 2009 snapshot, Lightning Fields #128, estimated at €50,000-70,000.
For each sale, the Photography department directed by Elodie Morel, selects high quality corpus including a series of 7 ethnographic portraits by Irving Penn, in which the aesthetics and the care taken to stage the scene, prevail over the historical and sociological character of the indigenous populations. In 1970, Penn traveled to Papua New Guinea. He first visited the tribal village of Bena, not far from the city of Goroka, where he took pictures of the natives and their traditional accessories: bilas (shell ornaments) as in Seated Warrior, Sitting Girl (€20,000- 25,000), or feathers and fur decorations. In the Asaro Valley, Penn immortalized naked men with clay masks, performers of a tribal dance organised by the Australian colonizers in 1957, as in Three Asaro Mudmen (€50,000-70,000).