Dutch collector Roy Kahmann’s Haute Auctions is the new online auction house for high-end photography.

Since the invention of the camera, we have been captivated and fascinated by what this technology can produce. What sets this art form apart from the rest, however, is the possibility to capture a moment in its truth.

It can highlight and immortalise the rawness of a subject or an exact moment which is very hard to through other mediums, without the assistance of interpretation from the viewer.

Because of this and perhaps partially due to its accessibility, the collection of photography is nothing new.

Most agree that the golden age of photography collecting took place between the 60s and the 70s with some having believed its mainstream popularity and appeal would never be recaptured. But, perhaps due to the visual basis of social media, the photographic collecting world has been experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

Over the last few years, some of the largest and most prolific auction houses have been focusing more and more on photography and the interest in these sales have become less niche. But tomorrow marks the inaugural sale representing a major milestone in the industry.

Internationally respected Dutch photography collector Roy Kahmann’s Haute Auctions will see its inaugural sale bring to the block a selection of captivating twentieth-century and contemporary works.

Haute Auctions - The New Home Of Fine Photography Sales
Ed van der Elsken – Cuba

The wide selection of works includes pieces from well-known names such as William Klein, Roland Fischer, Bastiaan Woudt, Desiree Dolron, Jasper Krabbé and Paul Cupido to name but a few. The sale will also include a unique and fabulously styled portrait of the legendary Andy Warhol

Haute Auctions - The New Home Of Fine Photography Sales
Roland Fischer, portrait Andy Warhol (1980)

The sale covers a wide range of artists as well as styles with 63 pieces ranging in initial auction estimates from 500 to 100 000 Euros.

Commenting on the launch of the new platform Roy Kahmann commented: “If you want to control the whole chain in photography, you have to be active in several areas: exhibitions, sales, publishing, trade fairs. Everything has its specific strength. The big idea behind all my companies is to get Dutch photography higher up the international art ladder. To give you an example, I just received the catalogue from the British auction house, Phillips. Between 400 photographers there is one photo of a Dutch photographer in it, which I have brought in myself, by the way. So Dutch photography is nowhere on this secondary market. We do not exist on an international level. Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, the three big auction houses do not see Dutch photography. If I had a Rineke Dijkstra, you’d get in there. Even Erwin Olaf, Anton Corbijn and Ruud van Empel hardly come in, because it doesn’t yield enough. That is very unfortunate because those are our Dutch heroes. Then I thought: how am I going to deal with that? I have been working with Christie’s and Sotheby’s for years to get my photographers in there. 

Haute Auctions - The New Home Of Fine Photography Sales
Linda Evangelista St Barths Italian Vogue 1997 ©Sante D_Orazio

Kahmann continued, “That is a lot of lobbying and stalking and it is now the first time I have managed to get Bastiaan Woudt into Phillips, who, by the way, went straight through the roof. Then I thought it would be better to start my own auction house where I could run Cartier-Bresson, Helmut Newton and William Klein, but of course also Dutch talent. I deliberately bring in the big names to show the context in which Dutch photography can appear.”

Haute Auctions - The New Home Of Fine Photography Sales
Bastiaan Woudt – Varusa Dress

A prolific collector himself, together with his wife, Kahmann’s private collection consists of almost 10 000 works. This keen eye and driving passion has not just curated a keen eye but has resulted in an equally discerning taste of who he chooses to work with. 

He recently appointed the former director of Christie’s Netherlands, Jop Ubbens to the advisory board and Margitte Verwoerdt, the former specialist on Post-War & Contemporary art at Bonhams as co-curator and organizer of Haute Auctions.

Haute Auctions - The New Home Of Fine Photography Sales
William Klein – Moves + Pepsi, Harlem, New York (1955), printed later

Although bidding has been open from 30 September, the live auction will be held tomorrow, on 13 October through Invaluable.com starting at 6:00 PM CET.

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