Berlin-based Grisebach's spring auction for Modern and Contemporary Photography on May 30th broke several records. With a lower estimate of 988,000 euros, total sales reached 1,190,000 euros, including buyer's premiums, which is a record for the photography department at Grisebach. The auction house will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.
Top lot of the evening was a photogram by László Moholy-Nagy, a unique work from the artist's time at the Weimar Bauhaus, and a rather exceptional example. An American collector won the bid at 488,000 euros against two other bidders (estimate 300,000–500,000 euros). This is the highest price ever reached for a single photograph in Germany.
High prices were also awarded to Peter Beard's "Ahmed Diptych", which went to a German private collection for 62,500 euros, and František Drtikol's pigment print "Composition" which was purchased by a Belgian collector for 50,000 euros.
Images easily surpassing their estimate included vintage prints by Albert Renger-Patzsch (42,500 euros, estimate 5,000/7,000 euros), Alfred Ehrhardt (11,250 euros, estimate 2,500/3,500 euros), Bernd and Hilla Becher (12,500 euros, estimate 4,000/6,000 euros), Alexander Rodchenko (26,250 euros, estimate 3,000/5,000 euros) and Hugo Schmölz (4,000 euros, estimate 400-600 euros).
Next photography auction for Grisebach is in October.