Capturing the Past
RR Auction's 19th and 20th century Historic and Celebrity Photograph auction is featuring a museum-quality mammoth albumen photograph of George Meade and fellow Civil War Union generals. Meade is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, and this is probably the largest, grandest original photograph of he and his staff.
The auction includes a veritable who's who of 1800s society and culture. This includes original and vintage CDVs, cabinet cards, and display photographs of celebrities, intellectuals, and dignitaries including Franz Liszt, Oscar Wilde, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas Carlyle, Boss Tweed, Charles Dickens, Susan B. Anthony, P. T. Barnum, Frederick Douglass, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Florence Nightingale, Giuseppe Verdi, and Otto von Bismark. One standout is a mammoth albumen exhibit photograph of actor Edwin Booth. Photographers include Mathew Brady, Napoleon Sarony, and Felix Nadar.
The auction has a quality selection of original photographs from the US Civil War, including Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and William T. Sherman. Key photographs include 1863 generals Custer and Pleasanton at Warranton, Virginia by Timothy O'Sullivan; Allan Pinkerton and staff by Mathew Brady; a variety of display photographs of Lincoln including a George Ayers platinum print portrait; a large albumen print showing a ragtag regiment; and an album containing over 300 CDVs of soldiers from famed generals to privates.
A highlight of the 20th century photographs is a rare vintage example of the 1937 news photo 'Bloody Saturday,' the iconic and harrowing image showing a baby screaming after the Japanese bombing of Shanghai railway station. This often-reproduced image has been called the most famous image of the 1930s.
Other highlights include a 1959 stroboscopic portrait of pioneering photographer Harold Edgerton holding a balloon as a bullet is fired through it, with original M.I.T. documentation on back; an Edward Curtis platinum print of a Native American fishing; a 1906 studio portrait of Maxim Gorky and his wife from their visit to New York; a 1930s Carl Van Vetchen portrait of Eugene O'Neill; a Cecil Beaton portrait of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret; a David Bailey close-up portrait of Andy Warhol; a 1930 Irving Chidnoff studio portrait of Bela Lugosi before Lugosi was a star; a magnificent oversize mounted display portrait of Cecil Beaton by Ben Pinchot; a 1906 oversized gelatin silver print of Mark Twain writing in bed; and a Russian Royal cabinet card of the Romanov family.
The auction includes a large selection of original and vintage news photos from the archives of the San Francisco Examiner, including US presidents, Rasputin, Elvis, Babe Ruth, Greta Garbo, Red Grange, Charlie Chaplin, Amelia Earhart and the Beatles.