A Collection of Photographers’ Favorite Subjects

Many of the foremost photographers of the 20th century and their favorite subjects are featured in this unique collection of photogravures. Bidders in this week’s auction will be mesmerized by the surrealistic images by Man Ray or a poignant portrait by Yousuf Karsh. Below are a few of the standout images from the collection.

Trolley, New Orleans, perhaps the most famous of Robert Frank’s photographs from his seminal book The Americans, is estimated at $600-$800. The image was printed in 1958, the year The Americans was published.

Robert Frank, ‘Trolley, New Orleans,’ vintage sheet-fed gravure, printed in 1958 in France, 7.5 x 5 in. Estimate: $600-$800. Jasper52 image


From the same era, but miles apart in subject matter, is a bewitching portrait of actress Audrey Hepburn by Yousuf Karsh. Time magazine called Karsh (1908-2002) one of the great photographers of the 20th century, as did the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the latter noting the “distinct style in his theatrical lighting.”

Yousuf Karsh, ‘Audrey Hepburn,’ vintage sheet-fed gravure, printed in 1959 in the Netherlands, 9 x 11.5 in. Estimate: $150-$200. Jasper52 image


Indeed, people stand out in this auction. Another fine example is a couple sunbathing on air mattresses in a lake as a pair of ducks paddle by. The tranquil image is by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who specialized in humanistic photography. He was one of the first prominent users of 35 mm film, which enabled him to become a master of candid photography. The print titled The Lake of Zurich (1955) is estimated at $200-$300.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, ‘The Lake of Zurich,’ sheet-fed copper plate gravure, printed by Draeger, France, 9 x 13in. Estimate: $200-$300. Jasper52 image


Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971) was an American photographer who recorded many “firsts” on her resume: the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of the Soviet five-year plan, the first American female ware photojournalist, and the photographer to shoot the first Life magazine. During the mid-1930s, Bourke-White, like Dorothea Lange, photographed drought victims of the Dust Bowl. One of those images is titled Hamilton, Alabama, a portrait of a weathered woman behind a horse-drawn plow.

Margaret Bourke-White, ‘Hamilton, Alabama,’ vintage sheet-fed gravure, printed in USA, 1937, 6 x 9 in. Estimate: $150-$250. Jasper52 image


Bill Brandt was a British photographer and photojournalist. Born in Germany, Brandt moved to England, where he became known for his images of British society for such magazines as Lilliput. Offered in this auction, is The Boy, a copper plate gravure printed in 1937.

Bill Brant, ‘The Boy,’ sheet-fed copper plate gravure, printed by Neogravure, France 1937, 8 x12 in. Estimate: $250-$500. Jasper52 image


Four gravures by Man Ray (1890-1976) are in the auction including an early printing of Photogramme (1930). Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, Man Ray was a photographer, painter, and filmmaker, who was the only American to play a major role in both the Dada and surrealist movements. A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light.

Man Ray, ‘Photogramme,’ sheet-fed gravure, printed by Neogravure Co., France, 1930, 7.5 x 9.5 in. Estimate: $300-$500. Jasper52 image


View the full collection of stunning images here.