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Polaroid Collection: Update 26

These two dozen works from the Polaroid Collection included in the upcoming April 4 auction represent a very small selection from the almost 700 items consigned to Swann. Keep in mind that while a few of these items were withdrawn from the Sotheby’s auction due to protest by the artists, Sotheby’s skimmed the cream off the collection for those sales. What’s left, then, are either the few globules of fat left floating on the surface or else the best of the skimmed milk that remains — from the perspective of the secondary market, that is. (I’d consider all of this group of works historically significant and museum-worthy, though some of it primarily as study material.) […]

Polaroid Collection: Update 25

At the request of court-appointed Trustee John R. Stoebner, charged with the task of recovering as much money as possible for the creditors of the collapsed Ponzi scheme created by the now-jailed Tom Petters, the Minnesota Bankruptcy Court has approved the transfer of the cluster of works known collectively known as the “Sotheby’s Assets” from Sotheby’s in New York City to Swann Auction Galleries in the same metropolis, for inclusion in a series of auctions, beginning with one coming up in April 2012. […]

Guest Post 8: Bill Ewing on Polaroid at the Musée de l’Elysée

The collection was not put together in the standard way — by curators picking and choosing individual pieces. Photographers gave work in return for free materials, and gave what they felt like giving. It is, frankly, very uneven; there are some great pieces at one end of the spectrum, and some godawful ones at the other. Actually, the best individual works are often by lesser-known or even unknown photographers. The “name” photographers often are represented by lackluster work. […]

Polaroid Collection: Update 24

A most perplexing series of grandiose, self-flattering, and wildly inaccurate statements has appeared in a press release posted at the website of WestLicht Schauplatz für Fotografie in Vienna, the museum that acquired the portion of the former Polaroid Collection designated by the Trustee for the Minneapolis Bankruptcy Court as the “Swiss Assets,” which resided until recently in the holdings of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland. My concern remains the issuance of false and misleading statements that, inevitably, go viral and contaminate the knowledge base. […]

Polaroid Collection: Done Deals

There were no bids made on the photographs still at Sotheby’s. This cluster, named the “Sotheby’s Assets” by the court, had a minimum bid figure of $556,750 during the earlier bidding period. It’s my understanding that this lot includes some 685 works, among them the ones withdrawn just prior to the auction due to the campaign to stop the auction, those that went unsold at the auction, and presumably some others brought down from storage in Somerville to Sotheby’s in anticipation of the auction but for various reasons not included therein. […]