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Auction PreviewLarry Gottheim’s 51st Be-hold catalog/internet auction is in two parts. Part 1, on February 21st, offers a rich selection of daguerreotypes and other early cased images, as well as images on glass. Part two will follow in early March with a strong offering of photographs on paper.
Be-Hold 51 Part 1
(Feb 21, 2008)
Some of the major daguerreotypes are from the Philadelphia area. A framed 1/6 plate is a wonderful view of a bookstore, full of interesting details, with people posed and prints in the windows. There is a significant group of portraits by the great studios of Langenheim and Root of the Tatham family, important religious, commercial and civic leaders. An early ¼ plate portrait, ca. 1843, came from Baltimore, but may have a Philadelphia connection.
Other outdoor daguerreotypes are an impressive side view of the locomotive "Vermont" stopped in a small town, a ½ plate of a house with an addition that appears to be an inn, and another of a small town store. Outdoor views in the slightly later ambrotype format include a look down at 2 well dressed equestriennes on their mounts, a pair of half plates of a Kinderhook N.Y. homestead, and one of a farm wagon with livestock.
Revealing occupational portraits include one of an expert wallpaper artist, posed with the tools of his trade and some of his decorated paper. An enigmatic figure sports a hat with "WATCHMAN" on the band. There is a view of fruit peddlers in the poor part of town, a scarce subject in the daguerreian era that mostly catered to wealthy clients. An ambrotype shows a South or Central American nanny with her two charges, and one shows an elaborately costumed actor holding a mask. A ½ plate tintype is a portrait of a salty shipwright with his gear.
While most of the material is American, there is a good selection of English and French material. Especially noteworthy is a ¼ plate portrait of a British man o’ war in harbor, with many sailors on deck and up on the masts, a gauzy blue-tinted Union Jack waving from the stern. There is a fine hand-colored French erotic stereodaguerreotype, and in contrast, a portrait of a French country priest. English portraits include an early Beard 1/9 plate in Wharton inner frame and fliptop case.
The mainstay of daguerreian art is portraiture and those offered include a wonderful moody portrait of a poetic woman who is pregnant, a handsome charming "bad boy," and others ranging from children (a very charming girl on her rocking horse, and another girl with her large dog) up to the aged. There is a rich and tender portrait by Whipple of a child with mother just showing inside the edge of the mat. There are also darker but still revealing and moving images of mothers with their deceased children.
Images on glass include a series of glass stereo views by Platt Babbitt dealing with his stereo operation at Niagara Falls, as well as an important glass view by him of Colonel Duryea’s Regiment at Fort Schuyler. There is a rare important vintage positive on glass of a Civil War scene – the 16th Pennsylvania officers at a camp, with a black boy crouched at the side of a tree.
This is an unusually extensive offering of this type material. Everything is presented on the Be-hold.com website, and in the illustrated catalog that can be ordered on the website. All the material can be viewed directly by appointment at the Yonkers NY premises (1/2 hour from mid-town Manhattan) and there will be an open house on Saturday February 16th and Sunday February 17th from 1:00 to 6:00. Much of the material for Part 2 of the auction will also be available for preview. This should be interesting to those who are already involved in studying and collecting daguerreotypes and other early formats, as well as those who just want to learn more about them. Contact Larry by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 914.423.5806. Bids may be placed directly with Be-hold, but bidding can also take place, for those who enjoy that kind of participation, on "eBay Live."