Spring’s Fine Arts Auction at Butterfields Sets
Records -- Prints and Fine Photographs Bring Strong Prices
23 May, 2002 San Francisco…Fine art enthusiasts
and collectors gathered in Butterfields’ San Francisco salesroom April
24, 2002 for the West Coast’s leading auctioneer’s Spring sale of Fine
Prints, Photographs & 20th Century Paintings &
Sculpture. The three-session auction brought $2,065,452 for the nearly
600-lots offered. Comprised of property from several museums and
institutions as well as private collections, the auction produced record
sales for Session One’s Old Master and Modern prints and for Session Two
lots which included Contemporary Prints and Fine Photographs.
From the array of collectable prints in Session I,
including works by Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miro
and Alphonse Mucha, was Pablo Picasso’s from Saltimbanques: Le
Saltimbanque au Repos, c.1905, a rare impression before steel-facing
which sold for $14,100. Among other highly sought after Picasso prints was
Fumer (B. 1167), 1932, which sold for $12,925, a price which ties
the only other recorded auction result for the sale of this image.
Session II included much bidder competition for
Joseph Albers’ White Line Squares I-VIII: XII (G. 2-9), 1966.
This Joseph Albers grouping is an incredibly rare find in today’s
market. Squares I-VIII: XII, in pristine condition, never matted or
framed, quadrupled its estimate to bring $16,450.
Two lots by Latvian born artist Vija Celmins set
auction records at Butterfields this spring. Celmins, whose work renders
the integrity and solitude of the natural world, created Untitled
(Galaxy) in 1975. This lot, estimated at $1,000 to $1,500, sold to
competitive bidding for $7,050. Untitled (Desert), also created in
1975, sold for $6,462.50 (est. $1/5,000).
Internet bidding was strong throughout the auction,
with more than 500 bidders registering and placing bids through eBay’s
Live Auctions capability. More than 95 online bidders were successful,
paying more than $200,000 for prints and or photographs. Nearly 35% the
sold lots were purchased by online bidders.
A Jasper Johns image set an auction record with #6
(after ‘Untitled 1975’) 1976, selling for an above estimate $11,
750. Cy Twombly’s Note IV (B. 9), 1967, an etching printed in
brownish- black on handmade Auvergne paper, sold at an above estimate
$26,250. This significant price, the lot’s estimate was $15,000 to
$20,000, rivals the sales results realized the only other time it’s been
seen at auction since the late 1980s.
Among the fine photographs within the sale,
including works by Ansel Adams, Edward S. Curtis and Dorothea Lange, is
one of the top selling lots, a rare full-plate daguerreotype. Cased in
leather, this small image depicts the storefront of a Gold Rush era
California establishment run by a former New Yorker Philip Jacob
Eisenscheid. P.J. Espencheid, Boots & Shoes, Nevada City,
California, 1850’s, shot by an anonymous American photographer,
doubled its estimate and sold for $29,125.
William Henry Jackson’s set of two albumen prints
set at-auction records, selling for $10,575.00. Estimated at $3,000 to
$5,000, William’s Canon: Canon of the Rio Las Animas, 1880’s,
captures the rough terrain of rural American soil.
Judith Eurich, department director for prints and
photographs said, "Sale results were very good despite today’s
uncertain market, resulting in several lots establishing international
The next offering of prints and photographs is
scheduled for the Fall of 2002 and includes works by Toulouse-Lautrec,
David Hockney, Stella, Chagall, Warhol, and Edward Curtis among many