On October 15, Swann Auction Galleries in New York will present its Icons & Images: Fine & Vernacular Photographs auction, demonstrating how, regardless of subject matter, the finest photographers reveal hidden majesty within even the most run-of-the-mill moments. The collection comprises 362 lots of images by masters of the medium, capturing the legendary and ordinary with equal artistry.
In the vernacular vein, Dorothea Lange’s penultimate portrait, Migrant Mother ($9,000 to $12,000), defines the maternal instinct as depicted in the subject’s gaze, simultaneously forlorn and forbearing. In contrast, Sally Mann’s Candy Cigarette ($100,000 to $150,000) catches the icy apathy of an adolescent girl as we peek uninvited into the whimsy of her youthful world.
But not all the works emanate from everyday events. Joe Rosenthal’s signed photolithograph Marines Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima ($3,500 to $4,500) has become an indelible image from WWII, while Margaret Bourke-White documented its horrors in the hollow stares of Holocaust survivors in The Liberation of Buchenwald ($15,000 to $25,000).
Among the portraits on parade will be Geronimo ($2,000 to $3,000) taken by an unknown Native American photographer, and James Joyce by Berenice Abbott ($7,000 to $10,000). And there is nothing abstract about the fact that Pablo Picasso, Cannes by Irving Penn ($100,000 to $150,000) should be among those taking top dollar.