Irving Penn: 'Woman with Roses on Her Arm (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in Lafaurie Dress)' & 'Nude 58'
Photography was something very close to Lars Hall’s heart. The first exhibition of photography that he saw was Edward Steichen’s Vi människor – The Family of Man, shown at Liljevalchs Konsthall in 1957. At that time he could have never imagined that 44 years later his own collection would be on display in the same spot. The exhibition 396 Fotografiska förälskelser (396 Photographic Love Affairs) from 2001 was curated by Niclas Östlind. When Bukowskis, in the autumn of 2012, sold 161 images by Swedish photographers from Hall’s collection Östlind described the story behind the Liljevalchs exhibition title:
– To be honest, I’m no collector was the surprising comment Lars Hall uttered as we were making the selection for the show that we came to call 396 Photographic Love Affairs […]. Considering the number of images accumulated throughout the years the statement was somewhat contradictory. He noticed my surprise, as after all we were surrounded by the photographic collection assembled by Hall and his wife Karin: Of course, it is a collection, but there hasn’t been a plan of action. Each image is like a love affair and that’s a sentiment that’s only grown stronger with time.
It is a unique opportunity to be able to present a photographic collection of this importance. When the collection was at its biggest it contained more than 400 photographs. Many of the images are iconic in the history of photography, others less well known. What they all have in common is that they were handpicked by people with a great sense for quality and knowledge about the development of the media. Furthermore, the collection very much reflects Karin and Lars Hall’s personal taste. Through their passionate interest, auction finds, gallery visits and gifts Hall’s collection expanded. During the years many photographs have passed through it.
To the left; August Sander, 'Secretary at West German Radio in Cologne'.
From the left; Mark Cohen 'Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, June 1975' / Ralph Gibson 'From the series: Days at Sea' / Irving Penn 'Cuzco Children' / André Kertész 'Satiric Dancer, Paris' / Edouard Boubat 'Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris'.
Due to the great size of the collection, the sale will be divided into several auctions. Bukowskis has previously sold a large part of the Swedish works and we now have the pleasure to offer you sixty images of predominantly international photographers. There will also be an online sale in 2021.
Lars Hall (1938-2018) was a successful and award-winning adman, art director and creator, who’s had an enormous influence on the Swedish advertising world. He has been called Sweden’s greatest ever art director. From 1977 to 1983 he ran, together with his partners at the legendary advertising agency Hall & Cederquist and the photographer Lennart Durehed, the mythical gallery Camera Obscura.
The gallery was the first in Sweden to focus entirely on photography. They exhibited many international photographers that today we consider iconic. Images by Irving Penn, Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, Edward Weston and Christer Strömholm, amongst others, were displayed at the gallery in Stockholm’s Old Town. The market for and interest in photography in Sweden at that time was completely different from now, and it is difficult to imagine from a contemporary perspective just how radical a gallery dedicated to photography was. In New York, the photographic scene was flourishing with galleries exhibiting and selling works of both contemporary and historical photographers and MoMa had already had their photographic section for 30 years. Both Lars Hall and Lennart Durehed had been to New York and seen what was possible. When the gallery opened no equivalent institution existed in Scandinavia. Camera Obscura’s first show was a solo-exhibition of Irving Penn’s photographs. All in all Camera Obscura exhibited Penn’s work four times and it was here that his platinum prints were shown for the first time in Europe.
I sincerely hope that many more people will come to experience the love affair with photography that Lars Hall described. This auction includes about sixty images that all deserve to be loved and to find new places in other people’s homes and hearts, says Karin Aringer, Specialist photography and contemporary art.
When is the viewing and auction?
Contemporary Art & Design
Viewing: 5 – 9 November, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Auction: 10 November, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm
The catalogue will go live on 28 October