THE ARTHUR ROTHSTEIN PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION


Auction

Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 10am

CONSIGNMENTS ARE CURRENTLY
BEING ACCEPTED

To have your property evaluated for possible consignment in the next auction, please contact:

Edward Ripley-Duggan
Co-Director
212-427-4141, ext 234


Peter Costanzo
Co-Director
212-427-4141, ext 248


Media Contact

Louis LeB. Webre
SVP, Marketing & Media
212-427-4141, ext 232


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The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection


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DOYLE NEW YORK'S AUCTION OF THE ARTHUR ROTHSTEIN PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION FAR SURPASSES ESTIMATE

October 13, 2011 Sale Offered a Comprehensive Selection of Images Spanning the Career of the Award-Winning Photojournalist

Featuring His Iconic 1936 Photograph, Dust Storm, Cimmaron County, Oklahoma


Doyle New York held the highly successful sale of The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection on October 13, 2011. This historic auction offered over one thousand prints, vintage through 1980s, spanning Arthur Rothstein’s long career as an award-winning photojournalist. Featured were Rothstein’s acclaimed Depression-era images, including the iconic Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, as well as photographs of African-Americans in the rural South, England after the Blitz, Jewish refugees in Shangai, and stark images of rural China.

ARTHUR ROTHSTEIN
Arthur Rothstein was born in New York City in 1915 and became one of the most prolific and influential photographers of the 20th century. The broad scope of his work parallels that of American life from the Great Depression through the Reagan years, as well as international events from post-War famine in China to May Day in Moscow’s Red Square at the height of the Cold War. From Welsh coal miners to the Reichstag in ruins, to the unique documentation of the Jewish refugee population in Shanghai after World War II, it was said of Arthur Rothstein that he went everywhere, saw everything and brought his camera.

The images in the Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection range from the historical events that touched us all – Roosevelt meets with Churchill, President Kennedy’s funeral procession – to images equally profound, if on a smaller scale. We see, in contrast to the national display of mourning for President Kennedy, the devastation of an anonymous personal loss as a father places his emaciated son, stricken by famine, in a grave in rural China in the forties. Who will bear witness to this tragedy, the photographer seems to say rhetorically. His answer: Now we all will.

And similarly, there is the power of the iconic Dust Storm, Cimarron County image, widely regarded as one of the most ubiquitous images of the 20th century. We also see dignity in the face of the unemployed black man in Alabama during the Depression, adjusting his tie in the mirror, getting ready for Saturday night. And the regal face of a young girl in the window of a mud shack in Gee’s Bend. But there is a subtle humor as well. Arthur Rothstein was a pioneer in the use of what he called the “third effect”, a message that emerges when an image contains the wry juxtaposition of the written word. A shoe shine man in New York City sits under a sign quoting Disraeli on the importance of being in the right place when opportunity knocks. And then there is the display of dazzling technical expertise as pitcher Eddie Lopat delivers a fastball, his arm moving faster than the shutter speed. The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection is stunning in its power, scope, technical prowess and beauty.

Arthur Rothstein was a gifted student, graduating from Stuyvesant High School and enrolling in Columbia College at age sixteen as a chemistry major. He developed an interest in photography from the technical side, working with film development techniques and eventually becoming a founding member of the camera club at Columbia. Upon graduation he was offered a job by Columbia economist Roy Stryker. Stryker had been asked by colleagues in the Roosevelt administration to form a group of documentary photographers to work within what eventually became known as the Farm Security Administration. In addition to Arthur Rothstein, the FSA photographers included Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, John Vachon and Marion Post Walcott, among others. Together they produced some of the defining images of the 20th century. Many of the works in this collection are among them.

One of the most extraordinary things about Arthur Rothstein was that he excelled in so many different photographic disciplines. He was not at all satisfied to be a documentary photographer alone, although he was a great one. He also excelled as a news photographer, a contract assignment photographer, a food photographer (often working with the food stylist Sylvia Schur), a commercial advertising photographer, and, of course, a pure visual artist, evidence of which is abundant throughout this collection. When asked what he felt his greatest strength was as a photographer, he invariably replied with one word: versatility.

Arthur Rothstein served during World War II in the Army Signal Corps and was stationed primarily in what is now known as Myanmar, formerly Burma. After the war, he resumed his career at Look magazine, in the position of Technical Director of Photography, a title he held
until Look ceased publication in 1970. In that capacity he continued to travel the world on assignment, often bringing his wife Grace, an accomplished portrait photographer in her own right, with him to assist. He placed particular emphasis on the word “technical” as it appeared in his title with his name on the Look masthead. This was a part of his personality that permeated his life: he was an extraordinarily self-assured and competent person and wanted to emphasize that at the core of his craft was a comprehensive technical knowledge. This technical emphasis, a vestige of his earliest interest in photography as a chemistry student at Columbia, never left him. He continued to explore and develop new photographic techniques, including the Xograph three dimensional photo system. Arthur Rothstein was renowned for his technical expertise, and film and camera manufacturers, including Leica, Hasselblad, Kodak and Polaroid, would often send him prototypes as a routine part of their R&D process. He authored numerous published books, some of which were compilations of his documentary and other photographs, but several of his books were of a purely technical nature.

But beyond all of this expertise, or perhaps because of it, we can see in this collection the profound gifts of an extremely intelligent communicator. On a personal note, I can say unequivocally that Arthur Rothstein had the rare ability to speak in complete, fully formed paragraphs. If you asked him question, the response would start with a topic sentence, followedby a declarative exposition, and finally, a recapitulating conclusion. This, it seems, was a skill cultivated more in the education of people born a hundred years ago than it is today. It was the ability to improvise and compose simultaneously for the purpose of enhancing communication. We see this expressed in his craft, analogous to a great jazz solo: extemporaneous and visceral, but elegantly structured. Moments in time, fully formed.

Throughout his life Arthur Rothstein sought to combine his prodigious technical and compositional skills in the service of compelling visual communication. He frequently referred to a quote from one of his influences, the photographer Lewis Hine, that the purpose of a photograph is “to show what needs to be appreciated and to show what needs to be changed.” The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection is evidence of his abundant success in advancing that ideal.

"Because powerful images are fixed in the mind more readily than words, the photographer needs no interpreter. A photograph means the same thing all over the world and no translator is required. Photography is truly a universal language, transcending all boundaries of race, politics and nationality." -- Arthur Rothstein

Images and interviews are available upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT

Louis LeB. Webre
SVP, Marketing & Media
212-427-4141, ext 232
Louis@DoyleNewYork.com
Lot 95
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Large photographic archive of approximately two hundred images
spanning the career of Arthur Rothstein. Comprising four signed examples of Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, including two copies from the limitation of 300 (image 19 x 19 inches), one copy of the photogravure from the limitation of 300 (image 16 x 16 inches), and one example mounted to card and signed on the mount (this being Print number 3 from Portfolio number 4 from the limitation of 25 portfolios, see back label), and six smaller format unsigned examples (contains 2 copies at 11 x 14 inches and 4 copies at 8 x 10 inches); Five signed images from the 1930s including Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama (sheet size 11 x 14 inches); Two signed portraits being John Marin in his Studio, Hoboken, New Jersey and George Washington Carver (each 11 x 14 inches); Six signed images depicting 1940s China and Europe (each 11 x 14 images); One large format print of Wall Street, New York City and three experimental prints of Repeated Faces, both unsigned (larger 23 x 20 inches); Approximately thirty miscellaneous images from the 1930s and 1940s, all unsigned (11 x 14 inches); The complete series of twenty-one images depicting Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, unsigned (11 x 14 inches) and a second example in a smaller format (8 x 10 inches); And a group of approximately one hundred miscellaneous photographs, comprising various subjects spanning Rothstein's career from the 1930s to the 1970s such as his best known rural works, images depicting President Roosevelt, examples from various magazine features, Las Vegas gamblers, notable people, etc. (each approximately 8 x 10 inches). Most images variously stamped, may contain some minor defects and duplicates.
A comprehensive archive spanning five decades of professional photography by Rothstein, featuring numerous signed copies of his major works.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $33,750
Lot 62
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Large photographic archive of approximately two hundred images
spanning the career of Arthur Rothstein. Comprising four signed examples of Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, including two copies from the limitation of 300 (image 19 x 19 inches), one copy of the photogravure from the limitation of 300 (image 16 x 16 inches), and one example mounted to card and signed on the mount (this being Print number 3 from Portfolio number 3 from the limitation of 25 portfolios, see back label), and six smaller format unsigned examples (contains 2 copies at 11 x 14 inches and 4 copies at 8 x 10 inches); Four signed images from the 1930s including Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama (sheet size 11 x 14 inches); Two signed portraits being John Marin in his Studio, Hoboken, New Jersey and George Washington Carver (each 11 x 14 inches); Five signed images depicting 1940s China and Europe (each 11 x 14 images); A partial portfolio entitled The Photographical Historical Society of New York, Inc. presents FSA Farm Security Administration Selected and Printed under the Supervision of Arthur Rothstein, being nine only (of ten) from the portfolio, laid into original printed wrapper, retains Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother; One large format image of Wall Street, New York City and an experimental print of Repeated Faces, both unsigned (larger 23 x 20 inches); Approximately thirty miscellaneous images from the 1930s and 1940s, all unsigned (11 x 14 inches); The complete series of twenty-one images depicting Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, unsigned (11 x 14 inches) and a second example in a smaller format (8 x 10 inches); And a group of approximately one hundred miscellaneous photographs, comprising various subjects spanning Rothstein's career from the 1930s to the 1970s, such as his best-known rural works, images depicting President Roosevelt, examples from various magazine features, Las Vegas gamblers, notable people, etc. (each approximately 8 x 10 inches). Most images variously stamped, may contain some minor defects and duplicates.
A comprehensive archive spanning five decades of professional photography by Rothstein, featuring numerous signed copies of his major works.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $28,125
Lot 159
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Large photographic archive of approximately one hundred eighty images
spanning the career of Arthur Rothstein. Comprising two signed examples of Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, including one copy from the limitation of 300 (image 19 x 19 inches) and one copy of the photogravure from the limitation of 300 (image 16 x 16 inches); Five signed images comprising large format prints of Round Up, Quarter Circle Ranch, Montana (16 x 20 inches) and Skull, Badlands (16 x 16 inches) and three 11 x 14 inch examples including Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama (sheet size 11 x 14 inches); A group of various early images including a signed portrait of a child bearing an FSA backstamp, fourteen prints on card mounts, and a few poster sized prints including an exhibition poster signed by Rothstein and four other photographers; Approximately thirty-five miscellaneous images from the 1930s and 1940s, including several of Rothstein's best-known works and portraits of notable people, all unsigned (11 x 14 inches); The complete series of twenty-one images depicting Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, unsigned (11 x 14 inches); And a group of approximately one hundred miscellaneous photographs, comprising various subjects spanning Rothstein's career from the 1930s to the 1970s such as his best-known rural works, each approximately 8 x 10 inches. Most images variously stamped, may contain some minor defects and duplicates.

A comprehensive archive spanning five decades of professional photography by Rothstein, featuring signed copies of his major works.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $25,000
Lot 27
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Large photographic archive of approximately two hundred images
spanning the career of Arthur Rothstein. Comprising four signed examples of Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, including two copies from the limitation of 300 (image 19 x 19 inches), one copy of the photogravure from the limitation of 300 (image 16 x 16 inches), and one example mounted to card and signed on the mount (this being Print number 3 from Portfolio number 2 from the limitation of 25 portfolios, see back label), and six smaller format unsigned examples (contains 2 copies at 11 x 14 inches and 4 copies at 8 x 10 inches); Four signed images from the 1930s including Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama (sheet size 11 x 14 inches); Two signed portraits being John Marin in his Studio, Hoboken, New Jersey and George Washington Carver (each 11 x 14 inches); Five signed images depicting 1940s China and Europe (each 11 x 14 images); A partial portfolio entitled The Photographical Historical Society of New York, Inc. presents FSA Farm Security Administration Selected and Printed under the Supervision of Arthur Rothstein, being nine only (of ten) from the portfolio, laid into original printed wrapper, retains Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother; One large format image of Wall Street, New York City and an experimental print of Repeated Faces, both unsigned (larger 23 x 20 inches); Approximately thirty miscellaneous images from the 1930s and 1940s, all unsigned (11 x 14 inches); The complete series of twenty-one images depicting Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, unsigned (11 x 14 inches) and a second example in a smaller format (8 x 10 inches); And a group of approximately one hundred miscellaneous photographs, comprising various subjects spanning Rothstein's career from the 1930s to the 1970s, such as his best-known rural works, images depicting President Roosevelt, examples from various magazine features, Las Vegas gamblers, notable people, etc. (each approximately 8 x 10 inches). Most images variously stamped, may contain some minor defects and duplicates.
A comprehensive archive spanning five decades of professional photography by Rothstein, featuring numerous signed copies of his major works.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $30,000
Lot 1A
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma
, ferrotyped vintage gelatin silver print, 1936 (printed soon after) image 5 3/4 x 7 1/8 inches (147 x 182 mm), unsigned, but with Rothstein's F.S.A. stamp on the verso, as well as other stamps. Very slight emulsion defects, overall quite attractive.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $23,750
Lot 132
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Group of mostly vintage images mounted to exhibition boards
, contains ten images, each from the 1930s, including two signed examples of Dust storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma and other examples of Rothstein's F.S.A. work. Sizes vary, largest approximately 24 x 20 inches (610 x 510 mm). Variously stamped and titled in Rothstein's hand. A few with glue residue to verso, other defects.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $22,500
Lot 36
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Sharecropper's wife and child, Arkansas-1935
, vintage gelatin silver print on card mount, image 13 1/2 x 10 5/8 inches (340 x 270 mm), signed in pencil on mount (lr) and with Rothstein's handwritten Division of Information address on verso. A near fine example.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $12,500
Lot 67
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Group of twenty-one images (the complete set) of Jewish refugees in a Shanghai Refugee Camp, 1946
, the largest image approximately 11 3/4 x 9 inches (177 x 125 mm), thirteen signed in pencil by Arthur Rothstein (lr), all titled by him on verso, the balance of eight images unsigned, with the Rothstein Estate Stamp on verso. Fine condition.
An extraordinary series of images.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $8,125
Lot 146
ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR
Group of ten images of African-American subjects, including three signed
, gelatin silver prints, most approximately 11 x 14 inches (275 x 355 mm). Includes signed copies of Large Family, Gee's Bend, Alabama-1937, Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama-1937, George Washington Carver. Unsigned images include images of Gee's Bend, Unemployed Youth, Saturday Night, Birmingham, Alabama-1940, school and church scenes, and others. Unsigned images variously stamped and titled on the verso in Rothstein's hand. A few minor defects.

C The Arthur Rothstein Photograph Collection
Sold For $7,500