Fall Auction Season begins

Last Saturday and Sunday, I visited the Phillips de Pury & Company auction house in Chelsea for their Fall Photography Auction preview. Auctions provide a great opportunity to view artwork up close and to inspect it in atypical ways. For example, if the artwork that is not in an artist's frame you may ask them to un-matt and inspect the print-there is usually interesting writing and markings on the back of the work and you can see how the print is aging. When you see the art out of its frame you get to know the print in a completely different way. Sometimes the print was yellowing and sometimes you could see that it was even more stunning then any catalogue or mechanical reproduction could ever match-take that Walter Benjamin! Below are a few choice shots of their artwork viewing room.

Alec Soth's Cadillac Motel, 2005 "Color coupler print. 40 x 32 in. (101.6 x 81.3 cm). Signed in ink on a label affixed to the reverse of the frame. One from an edition of 7." On the wall at Phillips during sunset.

The art examination room at Phillips. Back wall left to right: Alec Soth, Elger Esser, and Lucinda Devlin.

Leni Riefenstahl's Nuba Portfolio on a viewing desk. "Berlin: Fine Art Photography, 2002. Thirty color coupler prints. Each approximately 22 3/4 x 17 in. (57.8 x 43.2 cm) or the reverse. Each signed and titled in pencil on the mount; each numbered 13/15 in ink, copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the reverse of the mount. Two colophons, one in English and one in German. Contained in two linen clamshell cases."