Thanks to the online sales, Photographs auction perseveres as strong as ever

VIK MUNIZ, Pictures of pigment: The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, after Sebastian Pether, 2007 - Venduto € 13.899

An absolute record for the Photography Department! With a splendid catalogue, the Italian auction house conquers the web like never before and exceeds all expectations.

In a surreal Milan, the Photography Department’s auction on Tuesday, March 17th recorded a surprising response, totalling almost € 400,000, marking a + 40% on the October auction.

In this particular historical moment, it is indeed a concrete and encouraging outcome.

Despite being closed to the public, in compliance with the decree relating to the health emergency, Finarte managed to satisfy buyers and sellers with an excellent auction result.

The sale was a great success with all collectors participating remotely, enthusiasts and curious people from all over the world (almost 50% of buyers coming from abroad) who ideally let themselves be taken by the clerk’s hand.

Thanks to the online platforms and the telephones connection, the charm of the sale entered directly into collector’s homes. It revealed one after the other the exceptional lots that the Photography Department has managed to collect in the past months, giving shape to a catalogue that stood out for its quality and rhythm.

The auction from the beginning was dynamic. Several photos by Italian authors were awarded well beyond the highest estimate. Franco Fontana‘s beautiful ciba-chrome, lot 3, an unusual and sunny corner of the city of Zurich, was sold for € 3,584.

FRANCO FONTANA, Zurigo, 1981 - Sold € 3.584,00

FRANCO FONTANA, Zurigo, 1981 – Sold € 3.584


The silent deck of Luigi Ghirri‘s cruise ship, lot 6, was sold for an excellent € 7,620.

Continuing with lot 8, the vision of the animated beach of Viareggio by Massimo Vitali sold for € 3,072, while to Gabriele Basilico‘s view of Rome, lot 15, sold for € 5,856. A unique work for the unusual presence of the human figure in the landscape.

Excellent results also for the two prints of the Florentine photographer Massimo Listri, with the Weimar Librarylot 13, sold for € 2,816 and, lot 9, the Castello di Rivoli sold for € 6,380, his new Italian record.

After the good results of other Italian authors, between lot 53 and 63, the auction ignites with an escalation of prestigious photographs by world-renowned international photographers. From Wolfgang Tillmans, whose Japanese worker found a new home for € 5,100, continuing with Steve McCurry‘s Shaolin monks sold for € 3,584 and € 2,560 respectively, and the classic female portraits of Nobuyoshi Araki or the picture of Amanda by the American Nan Goldin.

The culmination of this extraordinary session is the fantastic unique work with a collage of feathers and gouache interventions by Peter Beard, sold for an excellent € 21,360.

PETER BEARD, <em>Spitting Cobra, Tsavo</em>, 1960 - Sold € 21.339

PETER BEARD, Spitting Cobra, Tsavo, 1960 – Sold € 21.339

Of particular value and rarity also Untitled from the “Women of Allah” series by the Iranian Shirin Neshat, the beautiful print, lot 91, with handwritten writings by the author was sold for € 10,139.

William Eggleston‘s performance was also excellent with two of his classic prints, lots 120 and 121, made on the road for the States sold for over € 6,000.

The American presence continued to prove vital for the achievement of the excellent sale with three lots by Cindy Sherman, three of her classic disguises dated 1980 and all sold over € 30,000.

Also of great interest are those authors of contemporary art who make photographic medium theirs. Excellent results for the Italian Grazia Toderi, at lot 149, her Diamond, aerial photograph of a baseball field, was sold for € 4,091 and Luisa Lambri with one of her researches of architectural details hammered at 3,584 €.

The Brazilian Vik Muniz, famous for his compositions in recycled materials, gives an excellent result with his erupting volcano, pigment reproduction of an eighteenth-century painting, lot 193, sold for € 13,899Thomas Ruff‘s photographic experiments, lot 197, reached a sale price of € 18,859 confirming the international interest for the German author.

Among the authors always appreciated in our sales are the Italian Mario Giacomelli with his classic subjects – ScannoPretini, aerial shots of his native land: the Marche – and Maurizio Galimberti with his polaroid compositions. Three of his lots, 213, 214 and 215, reached an exceptional result, in particular, Duomo Pop Milano sold for € 6,107.

The portraits also deserve particular attention, as they proved to be among the most appealing subjects for buyers: Ugo Mulas who portrays the sculptor Lynn Chadwick at work, the performance of Joe JonesAlberto Korda‘s Che Guevara caught, iconic representation, lot 186 was sold for € 2,304. Or again, Einstein found laughing at Ruth Orkin, Yousuf Karsh‘s Winston Churchill up to Duane Michals‘ Willem de Kooning; historical and non-historical figures who obtained the favour of the buyers.

What the human eye and photographic lenses have forever imprinted on gelatin silver prints, has gone up for auction with a pressing succession that has recorded over 60% on the total sale value.

The photographs are now taking up residence in the collections of new attentive buyers who have placed their interest both on historicized and renowned photographers such as Peter Beard, Luigi Ghirri or William Eggleston and on the new artist-photographers like Shirin Neshat and Thomas Ruff.

The excellent performance that this auction has achieved, despite the dire historical moment, is a positive sign and reaffirms how passions are the engine that makes art the real refuge – commodity.


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