PARIS — Coinciding with the 15th anniversary of Paris Photo, Christie’s Paris capped off the weekend with two sales, including 100 photographs from Henri Cartier-Bresson and a private collection of images by Irving Penn.
The top lot was one of Cartier-Bresson’s iconic images, “Derrière la Gare-Saint-Lazare, Paris, 1932,” which went under the hammer for 433,000 euros, or $590,455 at current exchange rates.
Other top earners included Irving Penn’s 1951 portrait of his model wife, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, “Woman in Moroccan Palace,” which sold for 361,000 euros, or $492,273, making it the second-highest sum ever paid for a Penn photograph, according to Matthieu Humery, specialist and head of photography sales at Christie’s in Paris.
Another image of Penn’s wife, dubbed the “Harlequin Dress,” from 1950, commanded 265,000 euros, or $361,364. The auctions, held on Friday and Saturday, netted around 6 million euros, or $8 million at current exchange. “The photography market is really solid and seems to be resisting the crisis,” said Humery.
Meanwhile, Paris Photo, which decamped this year from the Carrousel du Louvre to the Grand Palais, welcomed 117 international galleries and publishers.
Fashion played an important role this year, with Giorgio Armani coming on board as an official sponsor. The designer also put together an exhibition titled “Acqua,” which included seascapes by Hiroshi Sugimoto and an underwater swimming scene lensed by André Kertész in 1917.
Tim Jefferies, director and owner of Hamiltons Gallery in London, filled his walls at the fair with works by Penn, Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe and Don McCullin. “Fashion pictures transcend all areas — like icons of contemporary art,” said Jefferies.
“There is a real interest from the public in fashion photographs and a recognition that has emerged for the artistic process and detail,” said Humery.