Christie’s: 100 Photographs
November 11th, 2011
The holidays are just around the
corner, so why not treat yourself
to a photograph by Henri Cartier-
Bresson? A slice of Master pie
would taste great for the holidays.
What’s For Sale
This morning I had a look through the Christies on line catalogue of prints being offered by the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson. The collection of images available is impressive. These are not the reject prints or extras left over from previous sales. The catalogue listings are contain 100 of Cartier-Bresson’s best images, like his portrait of “Henri Matisse and his Pigeons.” When you consider that many of these images cost between $10,000-$20,000, it may be worth rethinking the next purchase of a special edition Leica. The paint brush may be important, but the painting is more engaging.
Photographs are relatively inexpensive compared to their painting cousins. It is no longer uncommon for records to be set by sales in excess of $50 Million for a single work of art or “my kid could have done that” work of art. But the modest numbers for Henri Cartier-Bresson will eventually increase in value. They may not resell for millions of dollars, but I considered them to be no less valuable.
Do You Ever Own A Masterpiece
I admire the personal relationship that Cartier-Bresson maintained with his friends. Many of the prints in circulation were given to a select individual my the master himself. All other prints are signed by Cartier-Bresson. In 2000 he penned a letter address these addition prints which reads:
“I, the undersigned, Henri Cartier-Bresson, domicilated at
198 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, declare what follows – I have always
signed and autographed my photographs to the people I wished to
give them to – all other prints, that are only identified with a
“Henri Cartier-Bresson” stamp or a “Magnum Photos” stamp,
belong to my own person. Therefore, anyone in possession
of such a print cannot possibly claim in good faith that he or she owns it”
—Henri Cartier Bresson
We can picture the old man, in complete satisfaction, set down his pen and slide the paper across the table to his wife Martine.