Leibovitz print of John Lennon, Yoko Ono photo sells for $31,250

By Susan Sliwicki

A limited-edition print of Annie Leibovitz’s iconic photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono sold for more than twice the amount it was expected to bring.

John Lennon Yoko Ono Rolling Stone Annie LeibovitzSotheby’s sold the print, titled “John Lennon and Yoko Ono” and numbered 33 of 40, for $31,250, including the buyer’s premium, during its Photographs auction held Oct. 2, 2013.

The pre-auction estimate for the 14-1/2-by-14-1/2-inch Cibachrome print was $10,000 to $15,000.

The photo, which shows a nude Lennon embracing a fully clothed Ono, originally was intended to be used on the cover of an edition of Rolling Stone to promote the couple’s “Double Fantasy” album. Instead, it appeared after Lennon’s death, on the cover of the magazine’s issue dated Jan. 22, 1981.

Keith Haring photo by Annie Leibovitz via Sothebys

Keith Haring by Annie Leibovitz.

Two other Liebovitz Cibachrome prints also sold: a 1986 photograph of Keith Haring, titled “Keith Haring, New York,” brought $40,625 — far more than its pre-auction estimate of $12,000 to $18,000; and a 1992 portrait of actress Demi Moore sold for $11,875, better than the pre-auction estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.

A total of 173 lots were sold at the event, which generated total sales of $5,041,564, including buyers’ premiums. Eight lots — three of which were by Ansel Adams — topped the $100,000 mark. Those lots include:

• A palladium print of Alfred Stieglitz’s “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait-Torso.” Pre-auction estimate: $300,000 to $500,000. Hammer price: $557,000.

• A mural-sized print of Ansel Adams’ “The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.” The print bore a stamp marking it as property of the Polaroid Corporate Archives, 1942. Pre-auction estimate: $250,000 to $350,000. Hammer price: $401,000.

• A print of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s “Fotogramm” (Hand) taken circa 1925-26, measuring 11-1/8 inches by 8-1/4 inches. Pre-auction estimate: $200,000 to $300,000. Hammer price: $245,000.

• A mural-sized print of Ansel Adams’ “Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California.” Pre-auction estimate: $150,000 to $250,000. Hammer price: $185,000.

Alexander Mikhailovich Rodchenko’s “Young Pioneer” print, taken in 1928 and measures 4-7/8 inches by 5 inches. Pre-auction estimate: $70,000 to $100,000. Hammer price: $143,000.

Ansel Adams‘ mural-sized, matted print of “Leaves, Mt. Rainier National Park, Wa.” Pre-auction estimate: $100, 000 to $150,000. Hammer price: $137,000.

• One of Francesca Woodman‘s prints from “A Woman, A Mirror — A Woman Is A Mirror For A Man” measuring 5-3/4-by-5-3/4 inches. Preauction estimate: $15,000 to $25,000. Hammer price: $137,000.

Irving Penn‘s “Frozen Foods, New York City” signed and dated dye-transfer print. Measures 23-1/8 by 18-1/8 inches. Pre-auction estimate: $60,000 to $80,000. Hammer price: $118,750.

Other lots of pop culture interest that were sold include:

Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1986 photo of Andy Warhol.Preauction estimate: $20,000 to $30,000. Hammer price: $31,250.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1928 portrait of actress Marlene Dietrich titled “Marlene Dietrich at Berlin Press Ball. Preauction estimate: $5,000 to $7,000. Hammer price: $10,625.
Neither Mick Rock’s 1973 photo of David Bowie, titled “Saxophone Session,” nor Philippe Halsman’s photograph “Marilyn Monroe Jumping” were sold at the event.

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