Spotlight On Photography Auction Press Release / by SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS



Works by Irving Penn, Ruud van Empel, George Tice, Julius Shulman, Andre de Dienes, Ruth Bernhard, Weegee, Arnold Newman, Lillian Bassman, Elliott Erwitt, Horst P. Horst, Frank Horvat, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Abelardo Morell, Dennis Stock, Bert Stern and George Platt Lynes lead the sale.  

SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS is pleased to announce Spotlight on Photography - an auction of contemporary and classic photographs along with photo-based work on Saturday, April 26, 2014 beginning at 4PM at Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA.  

Anchoring the catalogue is Irving Penn’s Optician’s Shop Window, New York, 1939 (Printed 1983) gelatin silver print, from the edition of 65, estimated at $20,000/$25,000 (pictured left).

“Made at the very beginning of Penn's career, this photograph is emblematic of his life's work.  At once a still-life and a portrait, even a kind of self-portrait, this modest bit of vernacular advertising is portrayed by Penn simultaneously as a document of folk art and a work of surrealism--then at its apogee.” -John Szarkowski.

Vintage offerings include a George Platt Lynes - likely, a self-portrait - taken during an exhibition of his ballet scenes at Pierre Matisse’s New York gallery in 1941 estimated at $2,500/$3,500, an Andre de Dienes’ nude circa 1940, estimated at $1,800/$2,200 and another Andre de Dienes Breakfast in Bed portrait of Marilyn Monroe from 1953, estimated at $5,000/$7,000 (de Dienes famously hired Monroe, then Norma Jean, for her first modeling job at age 19) and two Weegee prints: Stripper in a Dressing Room, 1950, estimated at $4,000/$6,000 and Milwaukee (Woman Knocked Over in a Brawl) from 1948, estimated at $5,000/$7,000.

An assortment of iconic fashion photographs follow, among them- Horst P. Horst’s Lisa With Harp shot on assignment for Vogue in 1939, estimated at $10,000/$12,000 and Lillian Bassman’s stunning gelatin silver print of a Christian Dior corset photographed for Harper’s Bazaar in 1950, estimated at $4,000/$6,000 which join Annie Leibovitz’s 2003 cibachrome print of The White Stripes as illustrated in her monograph, American Music, estimated at $6,000/$8,000.

Renowned architectural and celebrity portraits from Julius Shulman (an Artist Proof of Case Study House #22, Los Angeles, CA, Pierre Koenig, Architect, acquired directly from his studio, estimated at $10,000/$12,000), George Tice (Petit’s Mobil Gas Station, Cherry Hill, NJ, 1974, estimated at $7,500/$8,500), Ron Galella (vintage print of Andy Warhol and Truman Capote arriving at Studio 54 in 1978, estimated at $1,800/$2,200) and Arnold Newman (John F. Kennedy at the Capitol when the future president had just become a United States Senator in 1953, estimated at $5,000/$7,000).  

Contemporary photography will be represented as well with World #9 from Ruud van Empel’s breakthrough 2005 series (pictured right), estimated at $20,000/$25,000; two fresh to auction Abelardo Morell gelatin silver prints- The Coliseum by Piranesi #2, 1994 and Map in the sink, 1996, estimated at $4,000/$5,000 each; and a collaborative print from Rashid Johnson & Hank Willis Thomas titled A portrait of Two American Artists as Young Negro Scholars from the sold out edition of 31, published by the Rubell Family Collection in 2008, estimated at $1,500/$2,500.

Previews begin April 1, 2014 in conjunction with the Month of Photography Los Angeles [MOPLA] at Bergamot Station in Gallery A5 and online at  The catalogue is ever-expanding as SMA continually considers consignments up until the weekend of the auction.  Submissions are invited via email (

2014 marks the 30-year anniversary of SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS - an independently owned and operated boutique auction house specializing in sourcing modern and contemporary fine art of all mediums.  Please visit our recently relaunched website to join our mailing list, peruse auction highlights and receive catalogue updates.