LOCATION: Phillips de Pury & Company, London
DATE: November 8, 2012
ABOUT: Fashion photography leads Phillips de Pury’s photography sale in London next week, with Patrick DeMarchelier and David LaChapelle contributing shots of contemporary PYTs (Gisele and Paris Hilton, respectively), while Herb Ritts and Norman Parkinson cover the women of the 1980s. But perhaps the most striking shots are the vintage prints by Horst P. Horst and Brassai, who together offer several pictures of women’s legs–dressed up in various thigh-highs, garters, and other silkies–presumably taken at a time when there was still such a thing as a “leg man.”
Photography sales are usually good places to pick up a nude, and this auction is no exception. There’s a kneeling Gisele covering her chest with her arms, three 1980s supermodels giggling in a bathtub, and a snow-white blonde sprawled nude across a velvety couch for a Vogue Italia spread, among many others in the 160-lot sale.
Indeed, the top lot, by a landslide, is Helmut Newton’s 1973 photograph of a nude Charlotte Rampling gazing over her shoulder at the Hotel Nord-Pinus in Paris, one from an edition of three, estimated at £150,000 to £180,000.
The fine art gets second billing, but there are still several noteworthy lots. A big, dreamy Thomas Demand print of a night-sky constellation is expected to fetch £40,000 to £60,000, while a view of sculptures in Constantin Brancusi’s studio is up for £18,000 to £22,000.
Usually the late ingenue Francesca Woodman is the model in her photographs, but the 1977-78 shot of her former lover Benjamin, offered at Phillips for £12,000 to £18,000, happens to be the the sale’s lone male nude.
— Rachel Corbett
(Photo: Roxanne Lowitt, “Three Models in a Tub, Paris,” 1990, at Phillips de Pury London)