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All Aboard For Vintage Gravure Auction

Famous photographic images of the 20th century are being offered in a Jasper52 auction of photogravures on Sunday, Oct. 9. Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process used for rich, high-quality photo reproduction. This 149-lot sale boasts some of the most revered names in photography. Below are a few standouts from the sale:

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Behind the Gare St. Lazare, the major railway station in Paris, is one of the most famous photographs ever taken. Using a Leica 35mm camera, Cartier-Bresson captured a man leaping over a large puddle in 1932. The sheet-fed gravure in the auction was printed in Paris in 1952.

Henri Cartier-Bresson innovated street photography, bringing it to a new level in modern art. He thought of his photos as ‘capturing a decisive moment,’ as in ‘Behind the Gare St. Lazare.’

Henri Cartier-Bresson innovated street photography, bringing it to a new level in modern art. He thought of his photos as ‘capturing a decisive moment,’ as in ‘Behind the Gare St. Lazare.’

Many of the images in the gravure auction carry a transportation theme, which captivates the attention of photographers. Hungarian photographer Erno Vadas (1899-1962) was one of the most successful photographers in Europe in the 1920s-1930s. His photographs are characterized by the bold contrasts of light and shadow. Vadas’ Locomotive was printed as a sheet-fed gravure in 1936.

Erno Vadas, ‘Locomotive,’ image size: 6 x 8 inches

Erno Vadas, ‘Locomotive,’ image size: 6 x 8 inches

Although American artist Man Ray (1890-1976) considered himself foremost a painter, he is best known for photography. In addition to one of his “rayograph” self-portraits in the auction, is a gravure titled Sailboat printed in 1931.

Man Ray, ‘Sailboat,’ image size: 9 x 11 inches

Man Ray, ‘Sailboat,’ image size: 9 x 11 inches

The use of small hand-held cameras and improved film helped photographers freeze action with short exposure times. Hungarian-born photographer Martin Munkacsi (1896-1963), who started his career as a sports photographer, applied innovative compositions for his action shots. An example is Motorcycle Rider, which was printed in 1931 by La Neogravure Co. of France.

Martin Munkacsi, ‘Motorcycle Rider,’ image size: 9 x 11 inches

Martin Munkacsi, ‘Motorcycle Rider,’ image size: 9 x 11 inches

Rounding out the selection of travel-related images is a striking gravure credited to Photo-Union Berlin titled Aeroplane. It was also printed by Le Neogravure Co. in 1930.

Photo-Union Berlin, ‘Aeroplane,’ image size 8.5 x 6.5 inches

Photo-Union Berlin, ‘Aeroplane,’ image size 8.5 x 6.5 inches

All lots in the Jasper52 auction of gravures have estimates of $75-$150, but because there are no reserves will sell to the highest bidders. Register now.