Irving Penn’s Harlequin Dress brings $131,450 as top lot in Heritage Auctions New York Photography sale
The work of Irving Penn proved irresistible to a passionate collector on May 2 at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion as the famed photographer’s Harlequin Dress, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, 1950, brought $131,450 to lead Heritage Auctions’ $697,000+ Signature® Vintage & Contemporary Photography Auction. All prices quoted include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“This image dates directly from the very peak period of Penn’s powers as a fashion photographer,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “It features his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, herself one of the top models of the day, in a photograph that is particularly revered among Penn’s 150 cover photos for Vogue.”
Another Penn fashion photo of his wife, Woman in Dior Hat with Martini (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1952, also took the second spot in the auction’s top lots with a $56,763 finish on the day, while a vintage gelatin silver print of Edward Weston’s Pepper (No. 14), 1929, signed, dated and numbered, showed the continuing allure of the artist’s work to the tune of $50,788.
A 1980 dye destruction print of Annie Leibovitz’s John and Yoko, New York, December 8, 1980, one of the most famous rock and roll photographs ever taken, showed its enduring power amidst spirited bidding to rise to $26,290.
“Leibovitz captured this intimate moment in John and Yoko’s apartment just hours before John was shot,” said Rachel Peart, Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions, “and, when another example of this photograph was used on the cover of January 1981 Rolling Stone magazine commemorating the former Beatle, it became an instant classic.”
Massimo Vitali’s sweeping Chromogenic Calafuria #1774, 2002 was one of the top contemporary highlights of the day, realizing $17,925 while one of the most unexpected bright spots was O. Winston Link’s Birmingham Special, Rural Retreat, Virginia, 1957, one of the photographer’s most stirring images, which more than tripled its pre-auction estimate of $4,000+ to finish the auction at $13,145. A later print of Yousuf Karsh’s famous Winston Churchill, 1941, which realized $11,353 and Weston’s Nude, 1936 brought $10,158 to round out the auction’s top offerings.