Collection of Paul Strand photos to be auctioned off at Bonhams, NYC

Bonhams auction off Paul Strand Photos
Central Park, New York (Image credit: Paul Strand/Bonhams)

A collection of work by American filmmaker and photographer Paul Strand is up for sale at Bonhams auctioneers in New York. The 20th century photographer was known for his straight approach to photography, resulting in honest, emotive images of his subjects. 

Strand photographed everything from portraits and city street scenes to landscapes and wildlife, all captured with the same precision and clarity. After studying at the Ethical Culture School in New York, where he was born, he was introduced to Alfred Steiglitz by his teacher Lewis Hine. Steiglitz played a huge part in getting his photography accepted art and, in 1916, he gave Strand his first solo exhibition. 

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The exhibition took place at the 291 Gallery in midtown Manhattan, which was owned and managed by Steiglitz. He used this space to introduce more avant-garde artists and pioneering photographers to the States, such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Clarence H White. 

Grazing Horses, Taos, New Mexico (Image credit: Paul Strand / Bonhams)

Photos exhibited by Strand were published in Camera Works the same year, and these two events were the catalyst of his photographic career. He went on to photograph all around the world, documenting the people of Toluca, Mexico, the streets of Egypt and life on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

Today he is remembered as one of the most important photographers of the Twenties and Thirties, and the collection that will be on sale at Bonhams was gifted to his friend Michael E Hoffman – the longtime director of the Aperture Foundation.  

Cobweb in Rain, Georgetown, Maine (Image credit: Paul Strand / Bonhams)

The collection of 13 photographs includes some of his famous street shots as well as his more experimental and abstract photographs. Highlights from the lot include an early vintage platinum print of Central Park, which is estimated to go for anywhere between $50,000 (approximately £46,500 / AU$77,000) and $70,000 (£65,000 / AU$108,000) at auction. 

Other highlights include a portrait of a young farmer taken in Luzzara, Italy, which is expected to sell for $20,000-$30,000 (£18,600-£27,900) / AU$30,800-AU$46,200), and an abstract nature shot called Cobweb in the Rain that is expected to sell for roughly the same. 

The live auction will take place on October 11 in New York at 10:00EDT / 15:00BST / October 12 00:00AEST. To keep up to date with future auctions or to find out more about the Strand collection, head to the Bonhams website where you can sign up for the mailing list. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.