So you remember my post about the (rare) sale of Eggleston prints at Christie's, to benefit the Eggleston Artistic Trust? Well, so I showed up at the auction with $150,000 in my pocket, fully intending to walk away with the wonderful lady on the hanging swing. That was the high end of the pre-auction estimate...that ought to have done it, right?
Alas, my cash wasn't nuthin' but trash—the lady on the swing sold for $314,500. Not bad for an inkjet print.
Here's a rare picture of Eggleston himself on the same swinging settee. Kevin Purcell sent me this...it's a screen capture from the 2006 documentary William Eggleston In the Real World. It's in the titles at the end of movie.
The famous trike picture sold for an even more impressive $578,500. The sale as a whole realized just under six million dollars. Not bad for a living photographer.
I was kidding about attending, of course. And $150,000 is more than my house is worth, and I suspect I'd better finish paying for that first. I'm not even very far along.
I did have a chance to steal an Eggleston once—not a valuable one. We were doing an article on him for Camera & Darkroom, and his gallery sent us a big box of prints that turned out to be the repro prints for the book The Democratic Forest. Jim Sherwood and I went through the book and compared the repros to the originals one by one; it was surprising how far the color was off in some cases, and how much the book cropped the photos. Half an inch, sometimes. So anyway, one particular print really grabbed me—a yellow dog sleeping underneath a tree. I flirted with an illicit thought—what if I just sent the box back minus that picture? Would they notice? If they did, I could just return the picture and claim it had gotten separated from the others.
I didn't do it, of course. I would never.
Even though others have done it to me—I sent a quite valuable Charles Peterson print to American Photo once, for a show announcement, and they "lost" it. Yeah, right. I'll bet it got lost right into somebody's collection.
The person who lost it had good taste, at least. It was a beautiful print.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.