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First Day of Polaroid Sale Breaks a Record

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010

The woes of Polaroid have been widely covered after the company, which was started in 1937 became a victim of the digital age and a ponzi scheme going bust first in 2001 and again in 2008. In a forces sale of photographs, the Polaroid Company brought in more than $7 million Monday at Sotheby’s.



According to The New York Times:


The first day of a forced sale of photographs owned by the Polaroid Company – a collection that includes work by dozens of well-known artists – brought in more than $7 million Monday at Sotheby’s, breaking a record for the highest price ever paid for an Ansel Adams picture.

“Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park,” a large 1938 black-and-white landscape, went for $722,500, including a buyer’s commission to the auction house, topping the $609,000 that was paid for another Adams work in 2006.


Polaroid, founded in 1937 by Edwin H. Land, fell victim to the digital revolution, going bust in 2001 and again in 2008. To pay off creditors, a bankruptcy court in Minnesota ordered the company to sell a portion of its collection, which includes 400 photographs by Ansel Adams alone, along with prints by Chuck Close, William Wegman, Robert Rauschenberg, David Hockney, Robert Frank, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol and Lucas Samaras, whose photograph “Ultra-Large (Hands)” went for $194,500 on Monday, breaking a previous record for Mr. Samaras set in 1989.


Polaroid’s collection grew out of the Artist Support Program, a project started by Land in which he provided some of the world’s best photographers with equipment and film and in return the photographers gave the company some of the work they made. Sotheby’s said it expected the 1,200 pieces in the sale to fetch $7.5 million to $11.5 million. As of noon on the sale’s second day, it had brought in $8.3 million.




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