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Collecting Photography

Vew of the Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom, 2009—by Abelardo Morell

For years, we’ve collected the work of photographers who inspire our own work. In fact, we were initiated into collecting by none other than the late Lee Witkin, a pioneer in the gallery world. Lee was an early believer in photography as an art form and the founder of the Witkin Gallery in New York City, the first gallery in the U.S. devoted exclusively to photography.

In the 1970s, you could purchase an Ansel Adams Clearing Winter Storm or Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico for under $1,000. Now, of course, these prices are ancient history. In fact, our auction house contacts report that, as of summer 2011, the highest price paid for a classic photograph is $2.9 million, paid in 2006, for Edward Steichen’s exquisite, black and white print titled, The Pond, Moonlight. And the highest price paid for a contemporary, large-scale (24” x 48”) color print is the $3.89 million, paid in May, 2011, for a Cindy Sherman self-portrait.

We continue to stay in touch with many galleries and auction houses. Check out the current exhibit (through July 29) at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery (www.bonnibenrubi.com), located at 41 East 57th St. in Manhattan. On view this summer is the work of the late Linda McCartney, wife of  Beatle Paul. She was an admired photographer, known for her portraiture (particularly of musicians and other celebrities) and a wide range of subjects which she captured with a spontaneous style. The exhibition is planned in conjunction with a retrospective book of her work, published by Taschen in May, 2011.

Cuban-born photographer, Abelardo Morell (www.abelardomorell.net), is one of our favorites represented by this gallery. His work is in many museums and private collections. He’s best known for his camera obscura images of New York, Havana, and major European cities as well as his still lifes of old books.

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