Jim Morrison And The Doors Star Alongside Charlie Chaplin And a Galaxy of Hollywood Stars at Swann Auction Galleries

Art Daily
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An image from the Michael Montfort portfolio of The Doors on their 1968 European tour. The estimate for the group of nine photographs is $1,500 to $2,500. Image courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY.- A series of photographs showing Jim Morrison and The Doors on their first European tour in 1968 is being offered in Swann Auction Galleries’ Classic & Contemporary Photographs auction in New York on February 25.

Taken by Michael Montfort – the German-born photo journalist known for his images of the band – the group of nine photographs were taken in Frankfurt, following The Doors’ first foray outside the United States, starting with concerts in London followed by dates across Europe with Jefferson Airplane.

Pictured at the height of their popularity, these photographs date to the beginning of Morrison’s decline into alcoholism and drug use, with the tour culminating in him collapsing onstage during a show in Amsterdam.

The estimate for the group of nine photographs is $1,500 to $2,500.

The sale also includes a portfolio of ten photographs by George Hurrell of Hollywood stars of the 1930s and ’40s, including James Cagney, Anna Mae Wong, Joan Crawford and John Barrymore. Hurrell, who was under contract to MGM Studios until 1932 before setting up his own business, photographed every star at MGM throughout the 1930s, moved to Warner Brothers in the 1940s and, later, Columbia Pictures.

His images were used extensively to market the stars and the studios, contributing significantly to the creation of the idealised glamour of Hollywood of the period.

The estimate is $4,000 to $6,000.

Charlie Chaplin also features in the auction. Fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon’s striking black and white close-up of the ageing star dates to 1972, five years before Chaplin’s death at the age of 88.

Avedon took the portrait in Beverly Hills when Chaplin had finally returned to the United States after 20 years in exile in Europe following his banning from the US on political and moral grounds in 1952. It marked the moment that America effectively apologised to Chaplin for his treatment, presenting him with an Honorary Award at the 1972 Oscars ceremony at which he was given a 12-miute standing ovation – the longest ever accorded in the Academy’s history.

The estimate is $7,000 to $10,000.

“Together with other important portraits of notable historical figures in the auction, these images join a broad range of photographic achievement, while also defining glamour and sex appeal, from the experimental and ground-breaking to the iconic and unforgettable that come together in our catalogue,” says Swann Galleries’ Director of Photographs & Photobooks, Daile Kaplan.

These include works by Edward Steichen, once the highest paid photographer in the world, whose White Lotus print from 1939 is expected to lead the sale with an estimate of $50,000 to $75,000, the same estimate set for Margaret Bourke-White’s rare 1933 vintage print of The George Washington Bridge. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Horst P. Horst also feature.