I just received the catalog for the Swann Auction Galleries May 14th Photographic Literature & Fine Photographs auction that will occur on May 14, 2009 in NYC. As always, it provides a pulse on the “collectibility” of photobooks. I have already provided some details on the photobook gem of this auction, a complete set of the Edward Curtis volumes.
There are 138 lots (books, folios, assembled literature) for the first part of the day on May 14, followed by the individual photographs, which comprise lots 139 – 403. As far as the photobooks go, the following I found of interest, although you need to consult the catalog or review the book for the details of the conditions of the book being offered:
Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Londonfolio of 20 photogravures, first edition (1909), lot 4 (estimate $8,000/12,000)
The Work of Atget, Volumes I – IV by Szarkowski and Hambourg, first editions (1981- 1985), lot 16 (estimate $500/750)
Man Ray, Photographs 1920 – 1934 Paris, signed, 1934, lot 18 (estimate $6,000/9,000)
Josef Sudek, Praha Panormatika (Prague), signed first edition, 1959, lot 20 (estimate $2,500/3,500)
Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decision Moment, first American edition, 1952, lot 32 (estimate $1,500/2,500) and as additional trivia, from the library of Joan Crawford (her bookplate on front free endpaper)
Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, first edition, 1941, lot 42 (estimate $1,200/1,800) and from the library of Harvy Zucker.
Robert Frank, Les Americains, first French edition, 1958, lot 56 (estimate $1,000/1,500)
Minor White, Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations; two, lot 73 is first edition, 1969, and lot 74 is delux edition with photograph, 1982, the later (estimate $1,000/1,500)
Wynn Bullock, The Photograph as Symbol, initialed by Bullock, signed by Jonathan Clark (printer), 1976, lot 75 (estimate $1,000/1,500)
Lewis Baltz, The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California, first edition, 1974, lot 85 (estimate $1,500/2,500)
Edward Ruscha, Thirty-four Parking Lots in Los Angeles, first edition, 1967, lot 88 (estimate $2,200/2,800)
Edward Ruscha, Various Small Fires and Milk, signed first edition, 1964, lot 90A (estimate $6,000/9,000) and inscribed to Andy Warhol, with Warhol Ex-Libris bookplate inside the front cover.
Gary Winogrand, Women are Beautiful, signed first edition, 1975, lot 100 (estimate $1,000/1,500)
My own self-realization from reviewing this catalog was my limited knowledge of the photobooks published in Japan, with maybe a couple of better known photographers who have garnered some press in the U.S.A. The following excerpt from the catalog helps explain;
The enormously influential post-war period of photography in Japan is inextricably tied to the creative medium of the photobook. each more radical, dynamic and articulate the last, 20th-century Japanese photobooks realize preeminent conception and production that attempted to push the format to the limit. Although historically the book as an art form has served photographer all over the work as a primary mechanism for exposure, the Japanese photobook tradition, an extension of a longer bookmaking history, is unique in its equal attention to form and function.
Eikoh Hosoe, Kamaitachi, first edition, 1969, lot 60 (estimate $3,500/4,500)
Daido Moriyama, Shashin yo Sayonara, signed first edition, 1972, lot 64 (estimate $4,000/6,000)
Best regards, Douglas Stockdale