The sale will take place on November 5, at the end of an exhibition called “From silver to iconic” which will open Wednesday in a Parisian gallery, Ellia Art Gallery. The auctions will take place on site and online (drouot.com)
This is the second year that Agence France-Presse has offered its photos at auction. Last year, the sale totaled 297,000 euros, including 15,600 for its biggest success, a photo of Serge Gainsbourg burning a 500-franc note in 1984.
“This sale plunges us into the poetry of news photography,” said Marielle Eudes, director of special photo projects at AFP, quoted in a press release from the Agency.
Framing, play of light, sumptuous black and white, striking colors: these shots from AFP’s rich heritage are at the crossroads of current affairs and art, many of them with historical value.
It is for example Doctor Petiot, serial killer, photographed at his trial in 1946 next to dozens of suitcases of his victims. They are also the painters Picasso and Matisse seized in their studio, or the reflection of the writer Colette in her mirror, in front of her collection of glass balls.
Closer to home, it’s Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt winning a race as lightning lights up the sky, or Donald Trump supporters swarming the Capitol in Washington.
Recent photos are few: most date from before the 1960s, and the oldest from 1871. Estimates range from 300-400 euros to 800-1,200 euros.
In addition to these unique copies, AFP is selling three NFTs (digital photos authenticated by a certificate deemed unforgeable): the image of American politician Bernie Sanders with his mittens (subject of countless diversions on social networks) , that of Gainsbourg burning his note and the first dispatch distributed by the Agency, on August 20, 1944 at the Liberation.
“All the funds raised will go to safeguarding and restoring the Agency’s photographic fund,” AFP said.
All these images also appear in a book published by Fisheye editions, “AFP: a photo epic”.