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By Culturekiosque Staff

LOS ANGELES, 16 MAY 2013 — Selected by Austrian expert Johannes Faber, some 200 photographs, including numerous vintage prints and rarities, will go under the hammer at the 8th WestLicht Photo Auction on 24 May in Vienna.

Among the top lots are works by August Sander, including two large format prints from his famous work People of the 20th Century. Sander conceived this large-scale project in the 1920s, photographing hundreds of people from different professions and social groups to show a cross-section of society from the Weimar Republic. The photographs Middle-class Children from 1925 and The Pianist (Max van de Sandt), from 1928, Cologne (Lot 36 and 37) are estimated to fetch 12,000 - 15,000 EUR each.

August Sander (1876–1964) Der Pianist (Max van de Sandt)
Cologne 1928
Gelatin silver print, printed 1990 by Gerd Sander
59 x 40,2 cm (23.2 x 15.8 in)

Austrian photography is represented with works by Heinrich Kühn, Rudolf Koppitz, Trude Fleischmann, Ernst Haas, Erich Lessing and Inge Morath.

International glamour and fashion photography also feature prominently in this auction with both early classic photographs by the likes of Edward Steichen and Horst P. Horst, as well as fashion shots by Lillian Bassman, Jeanloup Sieff, Helmut Newton and David LaChapelle. The later includes Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow: Burning down the House, Essex 1996 (Lot 185, Estimate: 4,000 - 5,000 EUR).

Fashion photographer Irving Penn, created the most expensive lot of the auction. Woman in Chicken Hat is a portrait of his wife Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, taken in 1949 (Lot 121, Estimate: 50,000 - 60,000 EUR). It is a rare vintage print from the estate of the Austrian photographer Roland Pleterski, who was an assistant of Penn and who was close friends with Penn and his wife.

Irving Penn: (1917–2009) Woman in Chicken Hat
(Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York 1949
Vintage silver print, mounted on original cardboard
42,0 x 39,8 cm (16.5 x 15.7 in)

In addition to Alfred Eisenstaedt's iconic photograph VJ Day Kiss, a large format, signed copy of the image of a sailor locked in a passionate kiss with a nurse in New York's Times Square on 14 August, 1945. (Estimate: 16,000 - 18,000 EUR), the camera Eisenstaedt used to capture this moment, a Leica IIIa, is also up for auction in the upcoming WestLicht Camera Auction on 25 May (Lot 74) with an estimate of 20,000 - 25,000 EUR.

Finally, the auction also has a special focus on classic documentary photography of Magnum style from the 1950s and 1960s, with vintage prints by Werner Bishop, Henri-Cartier Bresson, René Burri, Cornell Capa, Raymond Depardon and Marc Riboud.

Leica III Mod. F LUXUS 'Karl Henkell'

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles last month, WestLicht Gallery and Viennese colleague Konzett Gallery made quite an impression at the first edition of Paris Photo Los Angeles with their sober presentation of Viennese Actionist Photography. In theory, this neo-avant-garde phase of Vienna Actionism attempted to rehabilitate human depiction by emphasizing the political significance of the body. Gunter Brus, Hermann Nitsch, Otto Muehl and Rudolf Schwarzkogler were the artists whose photographs were on view at the Los Angeles fair. 

Konzett Gallery's exhibition of Otto Muehl's photo edition Oh Sensibility, 1970 was particularly mesmerizing — introducing an element of wry irony to a showing at Paramount Pictures Studios, as well as reducing the sensationalist efforts of British and American "bad-boys" a decade or two later to so much visual minced meat.

For Otto Muehl (b. 1925), the role of the body and its potential for liberation and sexual emancipation are at the core of his visual world and practice. It was at this time that Muehl founded the Actions Analytical Organisation commune (AAO), which lasted until 1991 when he was convicted and imprisoned in Austria for seven years for drug and sexual offences against minors. His use or treatment of farm animals during his action performances also resullted in public outcry. Soon thereafter though, Otto Muehl participated in the blockbuster exhibition La Peinture comme crime ou la "part maudite" de la modernité (2001) [Painting as Crime or The Dark Side of Modernity] at the Louvre in Paris. Still, while Oh Sensibility and other photo editions by Muehl and his colleagues are of serious interest to art scholars and collectors, social historians and psychiatry, their public display and marketing remain highly controversial and a rather delicate matter to navigate for most museums, galleries and art fairs.

8th WestLicht Photography Auction
Friday, 24 May 2013 at 6 pm
Preview from 8 May, daily from 10 am – 6 pm

WestLicht Auction
Westbahnstraße 40
1070 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 523 56 59

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