The sale features an extremely rare set of six daguerreotypes by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, one of the most important early European masters and a pioneer of travel photography. Ironically, his works were not exhibited during his lifetime; they became widely known a hundred years after his death.
In 2003 a daguerreotype of his was auctioned for over £565 000 at Christie's, setting a world record price. Check out realised prices for Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey here.
His are the earliest surviving photographs of Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Turkey and the daguerreotypes presented for sale at MacDougall’s were made in the 1842–1844 during his trips to Italy and Cairo.
''Very little is known about Russian photography, hence at the moment that art sector presents excellent investment opportunities,'' comments director Catherine MacDougall.
''At most people are currently familiar with Russian war photography, with names like Dmitry Baltermans, Evgeny Khaldei and Georgy Zelma, as well as with some avant-garde and constructivist masters such as Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky. This is just the tip of the iceberg though and we have every intention to bring Russian photography to life.''
Alexander Grinberg is a typical example of a Russian genius the Western world has heard little of. A classic of the Russian pictorial school, a distinguished master who considered his photography as art, in 1936 he held an exhibition of Female Nudes after which he was accused by the Stalin regime of pornography, arrested and prosecuted. After rehabilitation he exhibited very little and worked as a photographer for the most important Russian monastery St. Sergius Lavra. Four photographs presented now for sale are typical examples of his works from the 1920s–early 1930s.
''One of the most important tasks as we see it now is to introduce collectors and connoisseurs to the array of Russian classic and contemporary photographers,'' explained William MacDougall.
''That is why we are planning a series of lectures and exhibitions dedicated to the subject. Having specialised in Russian art for over decade now, we would love to share the unique vision of these Russian artists with the world.''
A second photography auction, will take place on 8th June, following MacDougall's Russian art auction. It will feature a diverse collection spanning the history of Russian photography from the 19th century to the present. Among the early photographs, one of the top lots is a collection of images from the 1903 Costume Ball in the Winter Palace, celebrating the 290th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, as well as the extensive collection of the World War II photographs.