Bresson’s ‘Decisive Moment’ sets record at Christie’s Auction

Last Friday night 100 timeless photographs by the acclaimed Magnum photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s went on auction at Christie’s in Paris, sold by the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, which netted a large sum of €2 million (£1,7).Paris Photo caused a lot of attention to the master’s auction, as Chrstie’s held the event at the Paris Auction House, during the time of the event, in which three auctions took place. Ninety-one lots sold, and a 1946 silver print of “Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare” (“Behind the Saint-Lazare Train Station”) achieved an artist’s record when it soared to €433,000 (£374,702), more than doubling its high estimate of €180,000, the bidder winning a five-way bidding war for the photographers most recognisable photograph, which was also one of his first silver prints

This sale was followed the very next day by a sale of 51 Irving Penn photographs from a private French collection, which achieved a rare 100 percent sell-through rate and totaled €2.1 million (£1.84). Other prints of Bresson’s sold for considerable amounts such as the 1999 print of “Alberto Giacometti à la Galerie Maeght, 1961” fetched for an impressive price of €75,400 (£65,248), five times its low estimate of €15,000. An anonymous European collector purchased the photo, which shows the sculptor in blurred movement, looking very much like his “Walking Man” sculpture, which is in the foreground. A 1957 print of “Coronation of George VI, Trafalgar Square, London, 12 May 1937” sold for €70,600 (£61,104), and “Sringar, Kashmir, India, 1948” achieved the same price. (The proceeds of the sale go towards the Cartier-Bresson Foundation’s move to a larger space in the Marais near the Pompidou Centre.)

As for the Irving Penn sales, it may not have set any records, but it did mark the second-highest price ever for a Penn photo. The 1951 print, “Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn),” sold for €361,000 (£312,350), passing its high estimate of €300,000. (Penn’s auction record was set at Christie’s New York in April 2008, when his 1948 photo “Cuzco Children” fetched $529,000 (£335.760). )

Here below is the famous ‘Decisive Moment’ photograph including two clips from a 5 part short documentary.


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