Christie’s Paris has announced that it will offer Photographs from the Thomas Koerfer Collection,” comprising 74 lots led by the emblematic Man Ray masterpiece, Noire et Blanche, (see top photo) formerly in the collection of Jacques Doucet. The sale will take place on November 9, during the Paris Photo Fair.
The Museum of Modern Art has also announced plans to sell off more than 400 iconic works from its collection via Christie’s online. The sales will take place over the next nine months. The collection is estimated to be worth $3.6 million, with the proceeds going to MoMA’s acquisition fund. 20th-century heavyweights including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans will be on offer in this online sale.
Thomas Koerfer is a highly-regarded film director, writer as well as producer, whose films include, Moon Father, Death of the Flea Circus, Henry’s Romance and The Passionate. From childhood Koerfer was surrounded by the art collection of his parents and in 1992 he established his own collection by concentrating on modern and contemporary photography, and some years later he added paintings and sculptures from the same era. The entire collection focuses on the body and human form as well as the various aspects of sensuality and sexuality and represents the most comprehensive and nuanced group of works on this theme. Twenty years after starting to collect photography, Thomas Koerfer was elected President of the Board of the Foundation of the Fotomuseum Winterthur in 2002 and also became a member of the board of the Kunsthalle Zurich, a position he held for ten years. His collection was exhibited in 2007 at CO Berlin, followed by a show at the Kunsthaus Zurich in 2015.
Darius Himes, International Head of the Photographs Department: “It’s a great honour for Christie’s to work with the Thomas Koerfer Collection of Photography, and to bring to the market certain highlights from this important collection. In particular, we are thrilled to offer Noire et Blanche, from 1926, a stunning and important masterpiece by Man Ray, one of the most seminal artists of the 20th century. Man Ray is known for his experimentalism with photography and deep connections with the Surrealist movement, including his long-lasting friendship with Marcel Duchamp.”
This portrait of Kiki de Montparnasse, muse and lover of Man Ray, holding a tribal art mask, highlights how the artist delved into Surrealism and African art. Kiki was a unique vestige of the Parisian scene, a painter, and a performer, she embodied the headiness of Paris’ off-beat culture. Her portrait can be compared to La muse endormie by Constantin Brancusi, recently sold at Christie’s for $57,3M.
Noire et Blanche was first published in the Parisian edition of Vogue in May 1926. This quiet, elegant and dreamy study naturally appealed to Jacques Doucet, the great French fashion icon and designer. His own vision, which combined the ancient and primitive arts with his graceful and modern taste, is complimented by Man Ray’s vision of a surreal twist of tonality.
Elodie Morel, Director of the Photographs Department Paris: “To be offering this masterpiece at Christie’s when the world’s top collectors are in town for the Paris Photo Fair, is a real thrill. The magic of this masterpiece is what inspired Thomas Koerfer to build his intimate photography collection around. We look forward to welcoming an international clientele to Paris in early November.”
This work on sale on 9 of November, is the earliest print of this iconic image and will be offered with an estimate of €1,000,000- 1,500,000. In addition, the Thomas Koerfer collection will present a print by Diane Arbus: Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ, 1969 estimated at €400,000-600,000, a daguerreotype from 1850 and important and contemporary works by Katy Grannan, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Nobuyoshi Araki, Robert Frank, Francesca Woodman and Paul Outerbridge.
Top Photo: Man Ray (1890-1976), Noire et Blanche, 1926, Estimate: €1,000,000-1,500,000
Stripped Bare – Photographs from the Thomas Koerfer Collection Thursday 9 November 2017 at 3 pm
Photographs sale Friday 10 November at 3 pm Viewings for both auctions: 4 – 9 November 2017 from 10 am to 6 pm Christie’s: 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris Online sale of MoMa collection to be announced in the Autumn.