The longstanding Leitz Photographica Auction returns for the 43rd time with a defining motto of ‘black’ as rare black-paint Leica cameras lead the auction from Yul Brenner and Günther Leitz alongside vintage photographs from Otto Steinert. The first day of the auction on the 24 November begins with the photography auction “Shaping Visions” with four photographs from Yul Brenner including a large-format special edition showing Audrey Hepburn in Venice in 1956.
Black Leicas are popular collector’s items as the series was produced in particularly small batches. The black paint applied to the metal parts of the camera body develops a unique patina, making the two MP cameras that lead the auction from Yul Brynner (1920-1985) even more enticing. The iconic black-paint Leica MP-59 and MP-60 accompanied the Hollywood actor who starred in the Western classic ‘The Magnificent Seven’ from film sets in Hollywood to trips through Europe and now goes under the hammer for an estimated €600,000 to €700,000 each.
The Leica M3 from Günther Leitz, former managing director of Ernst Leitz GmbH is estimated to reach between €200,000 to €240,000 euros. The M3 was a milestone in Leica’s history as the first serially produced M model, this particular camera was the 27th to ever leave the factory in 1954.
Twenty-two black and white photographs from the innovative German photographer and founder of the Subjective Photography movement Otto Steinert are also auctioned. From the influential figure in post-war era photography, the auction includes iconic images such as Maske einer Tänzerin, Blick vom Arc de Triomphe, Ein-Fuß-Gänger and Lampen der Place de la Concorde, for an estimated price of €200,000 to €300,000.
43rd LEITZ PHOTOGRAPHICA AUCTION:
Black-paint rarities from the man in black and Steinert masterpieces in black and white
2023 – Black is the defining motto of the upcoming Leitz Photographica Auction, which will take place on the 24th and 25th of November 2023 at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna. Leading the list of auction highlights are two black paint Leica MP cameras that actor Yul Brynner (1920-1985) used to document Hollywood’s Golden Era. During the heyday of the Western genre, the icon, who starred in films such as “The Magnificent Seven”, was considered the epitome of the black-clad gunslinger. The legacy of Otto Steinert (1915-1978), however, is black and white. The late German photographer remains one of the legends in his field, having shaped postwar photography like no other with his expressive and experimental photographs. The photography auction “Shaping Visions,” which will kick off the Leitz Photographica weekend on the 24th November, will offer a bundle of 22 Steinert masterpieces.
Collector’s passion in black (paint)
Among enthusiasts and collectors of historic Leica cameras, ‘black paint’ continues to be very popular. Applied to the metal parts of the cameras, the paint develops a characteristic patina with continued use, making each of these cameras an expressive, unique piece with a history. As chrome became fashionable in the 1950s and ’60s, comparatively few black-paint cameras were made. “In the past decade, the demand for black paint Leica cameras has soared. At the same time, prices rose rapidly, even reaching the seven-digit euro range,” explains Alexander Sedlak, managing director of Leitz Photographica Auction. Twice a year it holds its eponymous auction of vintage cameras, accessories and photographs.
Black paint model series that were only produced in small batches are particularly coveted, according to Sedlak. He cites the Leica MP as a prime example. Specially developed for reportage photography, the ‘M Professional’ was mainly used by press photographers. Leitz produced a total of 412 MP’s, only 141 of them in black paint. “Each of these MP’s is worth several hundred thousand euros today. If, in addition, the camera has a famous previous owner, the interest of collectors increases. And so does the price,” says Sedlak.
Highlights: Yul Brynner’s MP’s and an early M3
The 43rd Leitz Photographica Auction offers two such cameras for sale. The MP-59 and MP-60 come from the estate of Yul Brynner. The Hollywood star – who won an Academy for “The King and I” (1956) and starred in legendary westerns such as “The Magnificent Seven” (1960), playing the ever mysterious ‘man in black’ – excelled as a photographer. His Leica cameras accompanied him to film sets and on trips through Europe. His two MP’s have an estimated value of 600,000 to 700,000 euros each.
Other highlights of the upcoming auction include a Leica M3 Chrome, with the early serial number 700027. The M3 is considered a milestone in Leica’s history as it was the brand’s first serially produced M camera model, and this particular M3 is the 27th to ever leave the Leitz factories in 1954. This exhibit has a famous previous owner as well – Günther Leitz, former managing director of Ernst Leitz GmbH and is estimated to reach between 200,000 to 240,000 euros.
Vintage photographs from Otto Steinert to Yul Brynner
The first day of the 43rd Leitz Photographica Auction begins with the photography auction “Shaping Visions”. Brynner’s legacy will also be present here, with four photographs including a large-format special edition showing Audrey Hepburn in Venice in 1956.
The highlight of “Shaping Visions”, however, is a collection of 22 black and white photographs by Otto Steinert. “Steinert left his mark on German postwar photography like no other. He spanned the arc from ‘New Seeing’ to ‘Subjective Photography,’ broke with the conventions of documentary photography, and fundamentally influenced the visual language with his tension-filled compositions,” comments Anna Zimm, photography expert at Leitz Photographica Auction.
The bundle comprises icons such as Maske einer Tänzerin, Blick vom Arc de Triomphe, Ein-Fuß-Gänger and Lampen der Place de la Concorde. The vintage prints come directly from the stock of Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante in São Paulo. The estimated price is 200,000 to 300,000 euros.
Live on site, in written form, online or by telephone
The 43rd Leitz Photographica Auction will take place over the span of two days Hotel Bristol in Vienna. On 24th November, the “Shaping Visions” photography auction takes place; on 25th November, the auction of vintage cameras will follow. Bids can be submitted in advance – online (www.leitz-auction.com), in written form or by telephone. Live bidding during the auction is possible on site via https://www.leitz-auction.com/ and http://www.liveauctioneers.com.
43rd Leitz Photographica Auction
Where: Hotel Bristol, Vienna
When: November 24, 18h CET; and November 25, 11h CET
For questions regarding registration and bids, please contact:
Leitz Photographica Auction
T +43 1 523 56 59 – 18
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