Auction News: Eastman House and International Museum of Photography

Posted by David Ozanich — 27 Sep 2010

Next time you’re traveling through upstate New York, specifically Rochester, definitely put aside a couple of hours to explore the magnificent George Eastman House and International Museum of Photography and Film - the world’s oldest dedicated solely to photography. George Eastman, a mercurial character to say the least, was of course the founder of Eastman Kodak.

The museum is comprised of several galleries devoted to the history of photography (with oodles of relics like old movie cameras, photo ephemera, and rare prints) as well as rotating shows. I visited earlier this month and saw the EXCELLENT Colorama show which showcases the gigantic panoramic advertorials created by Kodak and displayed - at a size of 18 feet by 60 feet - in the Great Hall of Grand Central Terminal (see below). Its really worth checking out and Colorama closes October 17th so check it out if you get the chance.


The other major attraction is George Eastman’s spectacular Colonial Revival mansion that is meticulously preserved in its turn-of-the-20th-century style. If you are fan of historical houses, this is one to see. I’ve toured tons of them across the US and Europe and this is one of the best. Below is the awesome conservatory adorned with marvelous taxidermy. The whole place is very “Clue” and you should definitely bring a candlestick to the billiard room in case you run into Colonel Mustard.



All of this serves as mere prologue, however, to the fact that the Eastman House is sponsoring a major benefit auction via Sotheby’s with profits going to support the museum. The items went on view starting today at the New York galleries on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Here’s a few highlights from the press release which you can read in full here if you so desire.

The donations have come from more than 200 donors, spanning 160 years of photography, with work dating from 1850 to 2010. Types of photographs include daguerreotypes, salted paper prints, heliogravures, photogravures, carbon, platinum, gelatin silver, dye transfer, and archival pigment prints. 

Subjects of the featured photographs include Marilyn Monroe, Frido Kahlo, John F. and Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Martin Luther King Jr., Coco Chanel, Auguste Rodin, and New York City sites, plus a Kodak Colorama art-directed by Norman Rockwell. The auction is not exclusively photographs, however. Also available for bidding are rare cameras, such as one belonging to Herb Ritts, and photographic literature including a book of 19th-century Scottish scenery. 

Now I am of course someone who loves putting on a tuxedo and spending large amounts of my disposable income on pricey works of art. If you are like me, you’ll want to check out the actual auction on October 4th.

If you are not such a person, you’re not out of luck! The selection is huge and many lots are being sold right now by silent auction with prices starting at the very reasonable $100.

All the information you need and the real showstopper lots can be found at the Eastman House website. Below are a few of my favorites.

Sebastião Salgado
Gelatin Silver Print signed by the artist
Donated by Sebastião Salgado

The Rockwell Colorama

Herb Ritts.jpg
Herb Ritts
Platinum Print signed by the artist, and Ritts's Mamiya RZ67 camera
and Sekor lens in a custom case used by the photographer
Courtesy of the Herb Ritts Foundation

Horst P. Horst
Platinum/palladium print, signed in pencil by the artist
Donated by Manfred Heiting

Nickolas Muray
Carbon Print
Courtesy of the Nickolas Muray Photo Archives, LLC.

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