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Der Greif X Grisebach: the auction house’s historical works (Part 1)


Now in its sixteenth year, Der Greif partners up with the auction house Grisebach to auction 15 contemporary photographs by emerging artists, which were submitted to the special open call "New Positions" through Der Greif in October and November 2023.

In cooperation with the auction house Grisebach, Der Greif is offering 15 contemporary photographs during the Photography Online Only Auction from January 19 to 28, 2024.

In preparation for and accompanying the photo auction, the 15 contemporary works will be exhibited together with 15 partly historical photographs at Grisebach in Munich and Berlin. On January 9, 2024 at 7 p.m the exhibition of Der Greif X Grisebach opens at Grisebach’s venue in Munich (Türkenstraße 104 / corner Georgenstraße, 80799 Munich) with the talk Photographic Encounters between Diandra Donecker (Co-Director & Co-Partner at Grisebach with Daniel von Schacky), Dr. Caroline von Courten (Artistic Co-Director, Der Greif) and Dr. Monika Bayer-Wermuth (Chief Curator, Museum Brandhorst).

Der Greif X Grisebach is dedicated to both the playful and serious nature of this experiment, stemming from the deep appreciation of both institutions for photography as a means of artistic expression from its beginnings in the 19th century to the present day.

Photography at Grisebach

Grisebach has been auctioning photographic works since 1998 and is the market-leader in this field in Germany. With Diandra Donecker as co-director and co-partner of Grisebach since 2019 next to Daniel von Schacky, the renowned art auction house is heading towards even more dynamism, international visibility, and reach for photography. Grisebach's focus is on photographs from the 1920/30s in Europe, on the Subjective Photography/Fotoform movements of the 1950s and on classic American photography. They successfully have been showcasing works by today's international photographic avant-garde as represented by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, and Candida Höfer.

The Pairings Der Greif X Grisebach: the ‘classics’

The first photography auction in 2024, will be “online only” or “timed”: collectors are welcome to bid online for a limited timeframe. What makes this 2024 edition so special, is that 15 contemporary photos submitted to Der Greif by un(der)-represented artists are on auction next to more than ninety photographic works ranging from the nineteenth century - photography’s beginnings - until the early 2000s and everything in between.

For the occasion of this extraordinary collaboration, the photography experts at Grisebach together with Simon Lovermann and Caroline von Curten from Der Greif curated pairings, for which each contemporary work has been put in visual dialogue with one of the semi-historical photographs on sale on Grisebach’s website. We’re featuring today the fifteen ‘classics’ before presenting on January 19th an in depth look into the works submitted to and selected by Der Greif.

German photographers Heinrich Heidersberger and Herbert List’s black and white photos from the Fifties are highlights of both neo-realism and modernist images. Heidersberger’s “Funkhaus Hannover” expresses his early-years dedication to architectural photography, which allowed him to unify function and aesthetic play. On the other hand, Magnum photographer List’s “Tanz der Röcke” is a highlight from his time in Rome, photographing everything from street scenes to contemplative photo-essays resembling the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Jeanloup Sieff is mostly known for his fashion photography works. “The Black House '' is a work that retains Sieff’s use of contrasted whites and blacks, wide-angle views and time slipping through the shades. Differently, Roger Fenton’s light inhabits the space of the photograph in a still and eternal manner, transforming the depicted flowers and fruits into everlasting marble-like pieces.

Between the Sixties and Seventies, Larry Clark documented the culture of drug use and illicit activity of his friends in Tulsa, a graphic portrayal of the intimate details of its subjects' risky lives that launched the photographer’s career.

Recently deceased photographer Elliott Erwitt’s heritage is undoubtedly of great value, not only for his technical skills but also for the sensibility, irony and ability to seize the lightness in life events. From the US to Europe, his documentary approach has covered both mundane and political matters, through a recognizable style that became even more cinematographic from the Seventies, when he started producing documentaries.

Grisebach’s collection advances an iconic piece by the artist couple Anna Blume and Bernhard Johannes Blume, who significantly expanded the genre of staged photography and are among its most internationally renowned representatives. “Vasen-Ekstase” is a precious example of their ironic approach to photography and surrealist dimension applied to the medium, considered for both its documentary and performative abilities.

From Göran Gnaudschun’s social photography and Abe Frajndlich’s portraits to Axel Hütte’s pensive landscapes and Michael Wesely’s ultra-long exposure shots of still life and cities, Grisebach 20th century photography section offers a wide range of techniques and approaches to the medium in the age of digital upheavals.

Barbara Klemm is known for being one the most prominent chroniclers of recent German history. “Alte Nationalgalerie durch das Fenster des Neuen Museums” is thus a silent shot of the early 21st Century Alte Nationalgalerie under maintenance. Silent aesthetics are also a feature of portrait and landscape photographer Nadav Kander, whose shot of artist and director Julian Schnabel is featured in the online auction. Last but not least, the portrait of top model Toni Garrn by Ralph Mecke closes the selection of photographs spanning fifty decades of photography history.