Man Ray
'Noire et Blanche' by Man Ray, a photo of Kiki de Montparnasse, sold for a hammer price of €2.25m (£2.05m) at Christie’s on November 9. ©Christie’s Images Ltd, 2017.

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Christie’s fielded two sales and there was a significant result in the single-owner sale of photographs from the collection of Thomas Koerfer on November 9, when Man Ray’s famous image Noire et Blanche sold for a hammer price of €2.25m (or €2.68m/£2.3m/$3.1m including premium). 

The price establishes a new auction high for the photographer, beating the premium-inclusive $2.16m paid in Christie’s New York rooms in May for his Portrait of a Tearful Woman. It also set a new auction record for any photo sold in France, surpassing the €917,000 paid in 2011 in Vendôme for Gustave le Gray’s Bateaux quittant le port du Havre of 1856.

Noire et Blanche, a print from 1926, depicts Kiki de Montparnasse, Man Ray’s muse and lover, with an African mask. It was formerly in the collection of the couturier and art collector Jacques Doucet.

Sotheby’s, like Christie’s, offered two photo sales: a single-owner and a various-owners offering on November 10. Topping the bill here at a hammer price of €120,000 (£109,090) was a 1985 dye-transfer print of Irving Penn’s Still Life with Watermelon, New York, 1947 from an edition of 22 that featured in the single-owner European collection.


Etienne Carjat’s 1865 portrait of Baudelaire which sold for €90,000 (£81,820) at Sotheby’s on November 10.

The auctioneers’ mixed-owner sale produced a notable high of €90,000 (£81,820), dramatically outstripping the €10,000-15,000 estimate for an albumen print of Charles Baudelaire by Etienne Carjat.

Taken in 1865, the image measuring 14.5 x 11.5in (37 x 29cm), including its original passe partout mount, is the last-known portrait of the celebrated poet and critic and has a provenance to Baudelaire and his mother before him. The albumen print is several decades earlier than the other known variant, a silver print from 1903.