Paris Photo: zooming in on the photography market



Paris becomes the world capital of photography this November, playing host to numerous exhibitions, fairs and auctions. Now in its 14th year, the Month of Photography will provide the occasion for more than 80 themed exhibitions. At the heart of the festivities, Paris Photo, the prestigious international fair held at the Carrousel du Louvre between 16 and 19 November and now in its tenth year, will showcase the works of 106 artists in 88 galleries — a vast panorama of the photography market embracing everything from the early masters to the very latest works.

In parallel with the main fair, Paris’ auction houses will be organising a number of specialist auctions. Piasa will get the ball rolling on 10 November when a range of 300 vintage and modern images often priced at less than EUR 500 will go under the hammer. Tajan then takes up the baton on 14 November with a sale of works from the archives of Maison Braun and a selection of portraits of the Countess of Castiglione by Pierre-Louis Pierson. A couple of days later, Thierry de Maigret will make his contribution to the event with the sale of an important collection of fashion photography. Collectors of the fashion genre will be able to bid for a selection of more than 200 images with estimated ranges in many cases reaching EUR 1,000 to EUR 2,000. The star attraction will be Frank HORVAT’s Lingerie pour Chantelle (Paris, 1958), expected to fetch between EUR 15,000 and EUR 20,000. The next day, Piasa will hold its second auction, this time placing a selection of high-end works under the hammer. Highlights will include Etude de mouvement (1927) by Rudolf KOPPITZ (EUR 100,000–120,000), Last word from Paradise, Nairobi (années 1990) by Peter BEARD (EUR 12,000–15,000), Ken, Lydia & Tyler, 1985 by Robert MAPPLETHORPE (EUR 12,000–14,000) and A Friend, Florida 1992 by Peter LINDBERGH (EUR 15,000–16,000). Artcurial – Briest-Le Fur-Poulain-F.Tajan will round off the series with two auctions. The first, which will take place on 18 November, will include a small selection of vintage works by anonymous photographers. Estimates for some of these, including the daguerreotype entitled Le Dôme de Milan (c. 1845), could go as high as EUR 30,000–40,000. In the same price range, collectors could also bid for Pifferari, circa 1851-1853, a salt-paper print by Gustave LE GRAY. The centrepiece of the second auction, on 20 November, will be the sale of “Treasures of the Photographers of the Agencies of the Hachette Photo Group”.

The market backdrop for these auctions could not be better. Price levels for photographs have never been so high. Following the photography auctions hosted by Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Company in October, the Artprice Index of photography is 173% higher than ten years ago and up 10.5% since the start of the year.