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Art Market Watch
4/19/02


WINTER EGG GOES FOR RECORD $9.6 MILLION
The Winter Egg by Carl Fabergé, a shell of transparent rock crystal engraved on the interior to simulate ice crystals and opening to reveal a platinum basket of wood anemones carved from white quartz, sold at Christie's New York on Apr. 19, 2002, for $9,579,500, a record for a Fabergé egg. Embellished with more than 300 gems, the egg was originally given by Tsar Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, on Easter 1913. The egg was last on the market in 1994, when it was auctioned by Christie's in Geneva for £3.9 million. Hammer price this time around was $8.7 million; the buyer's premium is 19.5 percent on the first $100,000 and 10 percent on the remainder. Buyer was an anonymous telephone bidder.

$2.6 MILLION AT CHRISTIE'S PHOTO SALE
Christie's photo sale on Apr. 18 in New York totaled $2,635,137, with 68 percent of the 302 lots finding buyers. Top lot was an oversized Man Ray Rayograph from 1926, showing a pair of wire hands and a mysterious watch form, which sold for $218,500 (est. $100,000-$150,000), the second highest price for a rayograph at auction. A 1921 portrait of Edward Weston, done by Margrethe Mather (1885-1952) -- Weston's professional colleague and lover -- sold for $207,500, a record for the artist, and a sign that photo connoisseurs are revaluating the work of Mather, who was a member of the Camera Pictorialists of Los Angeles in the 'teens and formed a studio partnership with Weston in the 1920s. The sale also set auction records for Irving Penn, whose Cuzco Children (1948-1976) sold for $74,090 (est. $40,000-$60,000) and for Frantisek Drtikol, whose Untitled (Nude) (1928) sold for $59,750 (est. $40,000-$60,000).

A print of Firefighters at Ground Zero, September 11, 2001, the celebrated image by Bergen Record photographer Thomas E. Franklin of three white firemen raising a U.S. flag by the ruins of the World Trade Center, sold for $89,625. Signed by the photographer and the three firefighters, the print was sold to benefit the North Jersey Media Group Disaster Relief Fund and the Bravest Fund; it was bought by Stewart Rahr, CEO of Kinray, a New York pharmaceutical company.

SOTHEBY'S SELLS PHOTOS
The spring photo auction at Sotheby's New York on Apr. 17, 2002, totaled $2.9 million with 81 percent of the 277 lots finding buyers. The sale's three top lots set auction records for the artists: Helmut Newton's huge diptych, Sie Kommen, Dressed, Paris 1981 and Naked, Paris 1981, a pair of mural-sized images of four dressed and four naked models advancing toward the viewer (in an edition of three), sold for $185,500 (est. $200,000-$250,000); an oversized, hand-inscribed print of Ansel Adams' 1941 Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, printed no later than 1957, sold for $136,000 (est. $60,000-$90,000); and Baron Adolf de Meyer's Maria, a Study, originally included in a landmark 1910 exhibition of Pictorialist photography at the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, sold for $125,000 (est. $80,000-$120,000). All results include the new sale premium of 19.5 percent on the first $100,000 and 10 percent on the remainder.

Among the smaller lots in the sale, Robert Mapplethorpe's Self-Portrait -- a 3 x 4 in. black and white Polaroid of the artist's hands holding the camera above his naked crotch -- sold for $10,157, above its presale estimate of $5,000-$7,000. Hiroshi Sugimoto's Orinda Theatre, Orinda, printed in 1992 from an edition of 25, sold for $19,120 (est. $10,000-$15,000). A mournful photo by Louis Stettner, Twin Towers and Seagull (1979), sold for $7,170 (est. $7,000-$10,000).





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