April 10th, 2013

Spring Photography Auctions Total More Than $30.8 Million, Set Artist Records

© 2013 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Man Ray's "Untitled Rayograph, 1922" set an auction record for a work by the artist of $1.2 million at the Christie's photographs sale on April 4.

© 2013 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Man Ray’s “Untitled Rayograph, 1922″ set an auction record for a work by the artist of $1.2 million during a Christie’s photographs sale on April 4.

Six photography sales last week at the three major auction houses in New York City brought in more than $30.8 million dollars and included record sales for masters Man Ray and Diane Arbus, among others, as well as contemporary artists including Robert Frank, Richard Misrach, Alex Prager and Viviane Sassen.

Two sales at Christie’s on April 4 and 5 totaled nearly 15 million. “The strength of these results is indicative of the thriving market for photographs, which continues to gain momentum with every sale,” said Philippe Garner, one of the Christie’s directors, in a statement.

The April 4 sale of a private collection of modernist photographs totaled more than $7.5 million, including a $1.2 million, auction record sale of a unique gelatin silver photogram by Man Ray, “Untitled Rayograph,” made in 1922. Nine other world auction records for artists were set during the sale, according to Christie’s. (more…)

August 19th, 2011

Lee Miller: Great Conflict Photographer, Not So Great Parent

When he was a little boy, Antony Penrose once bit Pablo Picasso and often played with a Man Ray assemblage. The son of conflict photojournalist Lee Miller and the painter/writer Roland Penrose, the young Penrose grew up around some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. However, in a recent interview, Penrose says he felt little connection to his mother, who before gave birth to her son had photographed the London blitz and the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald as a correspondent for Vogue. “For the first 20 years of my life, she was lost to me, deeply affected by post-traumatic stress disorder,” Penrose explains in an interview with the Peabody Essex Museum, which is currently hosting “Man Ray/Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism.” The exhibition examines the collaboration between surrealist photographer and painter Man Ray and Miller, the former fashion model who in 1929 became Man Ray’s apprentice, frequent subject and at times the victim of his abuse.

Penrose, the author of two books on his mother’s life and photography, tells PEM’s Lisa Kosan that as an adult he eventually became friends with his mom.  After her death, he went through her archive with David E. Scherman, a colleague and friend of Miller’s. “He helped me understand that my mother, whom I saw as a useless drunk, had had a career and been incredibly brave as a combat photographer with the US Army Infantry in Europe. He helped me see a different side of the person I’d been embattled with all my life.”

A sculptor who, like Man Ray, works in found objects, Penrose offers some keen insights into the PEM exhibition, his mother’s work, Man Ray’s art, and the philosophy and politics of their fellows in the surrealist movement. The full interview is available as a PDF on the PEM web site, www.pem.org/exhibitions.

If, as therapists say, you’ve only reached full maturity when you can see your own parents as whole people, Antony Penrose is a very mature individual.