Re: Gum at Christies New York
Yes, I suspect it will go for more than the estimate, though I don't think it is a good example of his work. This doesn't appear to make much difference to the price though. In the same sale there are quite a few photographers with several prints, and the estimates for some of their better images are no higher than for others they probably would have preferred to forget.
The high prices of the Steichen images are in part a reflection of the rarity of such images, although I don't think the record-breaking image is one of his better works. There was a nice one on show at Paris Photo, 'In Memoriam' and I did ask the price, but only for amusement. I can't remember what it was, but around 4 0r 5 '0's too many for my pocket.
I think the buying market is still very much American, and Demachy wasn't. Steichen was also in many ways a more important figure in photography as well as being a photographer.
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Katharine Thayer wrote:
I suppose it does no good to speculate, but I've been puzzling why it is that Steichen's gums, or gum over whatevers, have sold for so much more; in fact his moon over the pond cyanogum I believe still holds the record for highest price paid yet for a photograph, a couple of years ago (I don't now remember the price, but someone probably does). Way more than $9,000, which I actually think is a steal for a Demachy, even though like you, I'm not keen on the Symbolist content. I suppose it has mostly to do with name recognition, and then to a lesser extent with a more universally appealing content. Steichen's evokes a universally accessible mood, an emotion, where Demachy's is more interesting in an academic sense as a record of a style that was popular once but now seems just curious.