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Advice on selling Bob Carlos Clarke originals

Discussion in 'photo' started by jtrade, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

    I have about 9 prints given to me by Bob in the 80s / early 90s which I'd now - for various reasons somewhat reluctantly - like to sell. Early last year I was put in touch with the now defunct Bloomsbury Auctions in London who put them into a photography sale last spring at what I thought were high estimates (mostly £1,000 - 2,500), the outcome of which was that none sold.

    An auction house linked to Bloomsbury, Dreweatts of Newbury, are willing to put them into a sale this coming April at about half the original estimates, so I may try this.

    However, even if Bob's work is not as highly valued as I might hope, the prints I have are unique and I wonder if there is a way to more successfully target the collectors who might have the interest to buy them : anyone know what the best way forward to do this might be, please ? Perhaps even to reach US collectors - I imagine the prints can be rolled up into a large cardboard tube.

    I'm aware that some of Bob's work has sold at very high prices, up to around £20k, but these are very large, perfectly printed specimens, specially chosen for high value sale. Mine are mostly unique and a little smaller, some signed, and were given to me in some cases simply because I admired them whilst chatting to Bob in his darkroom.

    The prints are at present stored with my brother in London - I'm near Amsterdam - but I'm a little concerned about longer term storage. I just tried to upload a scan of the Bloomsbury Auction catalogue pages showing the prints, but received a message about "photos containing nudity", blocking the upload !
     
  2. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

  3. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

    Thanks, Mr D - I will sign up so I can see the sale values.

    As for provenance, I think 3 are signed (it's a very distinctive signature) and I think Bob''s wife, Lindsey, would likely vouch for the rest if asked nicely (I could do so on behalf of any purchaser).

    Edit - just realised that some of the photos on the link you kindly posted above are mine :

    Lot 123 (lowest value and which I am keeping - it's a montage)
    Lot 124
    Lot 125
    Lot 126
    Lot 127
    Lot 128
    Lot 129 (might keep)
    Lot 130

    I also have 2 or 3 calendars Bob did, Powergen, I think, circa 1989.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  4. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

  5. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    If I had the money (and to a degree the wall space, but I would make the wall space), I'd buy the lot as I really love his work, both aesthetically and technically. What an enormous loss it was to photography and the world when he died. I very nearly bought 'Shooting Sex' when it was launched (for about £25 I think) but I was at Focus on Imaging at the time, looking to buy a new tripod. Amazing how priorities change.

    In terms of value, I suspect the silver prints done in his lifetime will fetch more...
     
  6. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

    So with regard to my original question, does anyone have any experience selling photographic prints of this kind... or could please recommend a photographic forum where this information might be well known ?

    Jem - Bob was indeed an amazing talent & character. In terms of technique he was also a master printer : Lot 124, the Denice Lewis tryptich, is to the untrained eye 3 seemingly identical prints. But if you look closely the hue & tone is different on each one in a marvellous way. Bob explained to me how he changed the balance of chemicals to achieve this, ie. he managed each shot at both the camera and in the dark room; he was extremely fastidious in this regard. Bob also had a simply hysterical - if at times somewhat lewd - sense of humour :)
     
  7. mentalp

    mentalp pfm Member

  8. topoxforddoc

    topoxforddoc pfm Member

  9. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

  10. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    As a result of this thread, I bought the book "Exposure" and read it cover to cover yesterday. I knew some of the story from research I did for a lecture I presented about photographers who had inspired me, but I'd not read the actual book. This isn't a book about photography, but it is a fascinating insight into the life and mind of a true artist, who, I think / hope will be recognised as one of the greats of British art, and photography. The only thing working against this is the fact that his well known subject matter could be easily misinterpreted in the weird and prudish times we live in. His amazing printing ability is something few of us will see, as there are so few original silver prints out there, and his excellent still lifes (which is what attracted me to his work originally) are somewhat overshadowed by his more 'glamorous' work. Definitely a book worth reading.
     
    jtrade likes this.
  11. The Far North

    The Far North pfm Member

    Just bought a "very good" used copy on the basis of your review, so looking forward to reading it. Plenty more on Amazon Marketplace for about £3 including postage.
     
  12. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    I splashed out a whole £6 on mine, incl postage. I'm really glad I'm not an author, or publisher!
     
  13. Ninjja

    Ninjja New Member

    Did you have any luck selling these!
     
  14. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

    Not really. I sold one, the triptych, via someone who'd seen the original auction, then a guy from Hamiltons Gallery in Mayfair (Bob knew the owner well and exhibited there "back in the day") came to look at them, but didn't take it further as they were not quite in their (high end) price range..... and just yesterday I opened the Catawiki auctions home page to try that. These photos have mostly languished, somewhat forgotten, in the back of a wardrobe since coming off the walls when I left Italy 12 years ago.

    I also brought them back to my home near Amsterdam, which was probably not a good idea : I think I need to find a small gallery - or even interior design showroom - in London that will enjoy having them on their walls and sell them on consignment, however long it might take.
     
    Ninjja likes this.
  15. Ninjja

    Ninjja New Member

    I might be interested? I had one and miss it!!
     
  16. jtrade

    jtrade pfm Member

    If you look at the link misterdog posted in the second post of this thread, you can see what I have and also the auction estimates : I'm happy to sell at 75% of the lower estimate, eg. if estimated range was GBP 1,000 - 1,500, I'll sell for 750. I shipped the one I sold via Fedex to the UK from NL; otherwise I'll be driving over mid to late summer (not sure when yet) & I stay in SW London and near Chichester.
     

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