Issue #242  6/17/2018
  • Issue #242
  • Article
Be-hold June 27th Auction Features Rare Vintage Capa Image of His "Fallen Soldier"
Robert Capa's Fallen Soldier.
Robert Capa's Fallen Soldier.

Be-hold will hold an important auction of 19th and 20th-century photography on June 27th, including many important examples of news and documentary subjects. The auction and other details can be found at http://www.be-hold.com.

Leading the news photo area is a group of vintage press prints by Robert Capa. Included is one of the earliest prints to come to light of Capa's famous image of the Fallen Soldier from the Spanish Civil War. This was printed while Capa still worked for his first agency, Black Star, as shown by the stamp on the back. Its importance is magnified because Capa's negatives have not been located.

Other photographs from WWII are included in the sale that were made very close to when the negative was taken and the news was current. For example, there is an early press print of Joe Rosenthal's iconic image of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. These early prints with usage stamps, text snipes and other material on the verso provide important information about the early dissemination of these images.

Robert Capa, Collaborationist with shaved head.
Robert Capa, Collaborationist with shaved head.

Other press photographs include views of Israel by David Seymour (Chim), an early black and white vintage NASA photograph of the portrait of Buzz Aldrin on the moon taken by Neil Armstrong, and a group of large- format press photographs by John Bryson.

There are several vintage photographs from Esther Bubley's 1947 series taken in the Greyhound bus station in NYC. These are more casual than Walker Evans' earlier Subway Series. Some portraits straddle the areas between document and art, for example Lisette Model's large prints of wealthy gamblers on the Riviera, or the cover photographs of Larry Clark' s Teenage Lust, as well as his Tulsa, or a wonderful portrait of a Pygmy woman from Uganda by George Rodger.

A master print of Max Yavno's "Muscle Beach" is emblematic of the optimistic spirit of post-WWII America. Some of the other 20th-century photographers represented are Anton Bruehl, John Gutmann, Wright Morris, Edmond Teske, Ernst Haas, Arthur Tress, André Kertesz, Paolo Gioli, Don Worth, Kipton Kumler, Jo Ann Callis and Bill Owens.

There is a strong selection of 19th-century photography. A fine daguerreotype of a fabric salesman in his store, showing his wares, has connections with many aspects of American life in the daguerreian era—slavery and cotton production in the South, and the mills of New England. It directly addresses the audience of women seeking to emulate the dress of the fashionable upper classes. There is a probable wedding portrait of an interracial couple, where the bride is also of mixed race.

Max Yavno's Muscle Beach.
Max Yavno's Muscle Beach.

A strong group of daguerreotypes and a whole-plate ambrotype show descendants of founding father John Jay. Several are by Brady. Included in the group is an early 1842 daguerreotype of a painting of Charles Dickens, probably part of the Jay group because of Dickens' concern with slavery during his 1842 visit to the US that brought him into contact with the abolitionists in the next generation of the Jay family, or perhaps it was due to his concern about international copyright that he shared with John Jay II.

The daguerreian offerings are complemented by an interesting selection of early paper photographs, including a pair of images by Fox Talbot of a scene photographed with two of his cameras at the same sitting. There are other photographs by Hill and Adamson, Fenton, Frith, Cameron, Aubry, Durandelle and others. A group of photographs relate to the depiction of motion that led to the cinema. This includes a rare print of a 12-view disk by Marey of a seagull in flight, and other images of a horse in motion by Anschuss, Londe and Muybrdge and a wondrous Polaroid and mixed media homage to Marey by the contemporary Italian experimental filmmaker and photographer Paolo Gioli.

The Be-hold.com website (http://www.be-hold.com) has links to a PDF of the sale and to its presentation on the auction bidding site, Invaluable. Contact Be-hold by email (behold@be-hold.com) or phone (+1-914-423-5806) for further information, arrangements for previewing the material in Yonkers, leaving bids or arranging for phone bidding.