Auction 002 - Polaroids | Auke Bergsma

Tuesday, 22 September 2015, 13:00 GMT (15:00 CET). Online bidding is open at

Screenshot Museum Westlicht website: Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Auke Bergsma and Oliviero Toscani.

Dutch photographer Auke Bergsma (1950, Putten, The Netherlands) is an icon when it comes to Polaroid photography. Since the early 1970s, the Polaroid Corporation gave films to a selected group of photographers. Among them are Ansel Adams, Aaron Siskind, Jeanloup Sieff, Robert Mapplethorpe, Oliviero Toscani, Helmut Newton and Andy Warhol. In return, Polaroid had the right to acquire some of the Polaroids they created. In this way the famous International Polaroid Collection was built.

Selections 1, The Polaroid Book, From Polaroid to Impossible, Museum Brandts 13.

Polaroid itself published books of this collection (Selections 1, 1982), and later Taschen published 'The Polaroid Book' (2008), which became a best seller. Finally, in 2011 Haje Cantz published 'From Polaroid to Impossible'. In these books, one can find all the usual 'suspects'. In between Helmut Newton and Andy Warhol are the pages with SX70 Polaroids made by Auke Bergsma. And although his work is in the permanent collections of Museum Westlicht in Viena (Austria), The Royal Library of Kopenhagen, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Museum Brandts 13 (right picture above) and the Danish Museum of Photographic Art (Museet For Fotokunst), his name is not well known among collectors yet.

Auke Bergsma, 'Today I start giving up smoking' (1982), Sequence of 3 Polaroids.

Now his full archive of Polaroids, including 20x24", SX-70 and other Polaroids, is on sale at A once in a lifetime opportunity to buy these typical 1980s photographs. Lots will be sold individually and as per set (his humorist sequences). The auction, which is online already, will end on Tuesday 22 September at 13:00 GMT (15:00 CET).


Biography of Auke Bergsma

...The book concludes with a chapter on the most iconic and widely used Polaroid integral film format. Images such as Auke Bergsma series of figurative colour studies from 1981 have a very spontaneous, playful and fluid feel to them. This vibrant sequence creates a type of fantasy narrative by channelling a spirit of inquisitiveness and furtive excitement. ~ John Matthews, review of the book for PhotoEye Magazine

Auke dec.2014 (1024x736)

AUKE BERGSMA (9 January 1950 Putten, The Netherlands) studied at the Fotovakschool in Apeldoorn. In 1975, at the beginning of his career, Auke Bergsma worked on the series “Punk”: portraits in black and white, which was published in the French magazine 'Zoom'. He gained more international fame in the 1980s, when his work was acquired for the INTERNATIONAL POLAROID COLLECTION.

The vibrant colours of Polaroid film and the fact that it was instant film were supportive to the ideas and concepts of Auke Bergsma. Like no other, all the big names included, he used the medium in line with the time the technology was introduced: typical 1980s! His sequences are not only humoristic, but also use the idea of Polaroid in optima forma.

20x24 inch | 50x60 cm
In 1976 Polaroid introduced a 20x24 inch instant camera. Only two of these giants were available, one was located in New York, the other one in Amsterdam. Bergsma was among the first three European photographers working on this 90kg machine. At that time, 1981, the rental costs were $600 a day. Later, when the Amsterdam camera moved via Offenbach to Prague, the price raised up to $2.000 a day. The material costs of one 20x24 inch Polaroid is $200. Among the photographers following his footsteps are William Wegman, Lukas Samaras, Joyce Tenneson, Mary Ellen Mark, Elsa Dorfman, Andy Warhol, Tim Mantoani, Julian Schnabel, Ansel Adams and Chuck Close. At a 2010 Sotheby’s sale, Polaroids of the photographers mentioned were sold for prices up to $722.500.

International Polaroid Collection
In 1982, Auke Bergsma was asked to sell some of his work to the Polaroid Corporation. He remembers that they paid $900 per Polaroid, a small fortune at that time. And above all, he was ensured of recognition in the art world, because his name was forever connected to the Inter­national Polaroid Collection. Many publications followed, like the book “SELECTIONS 1” (1982, Polaroid Corporation), “THE POLAROID BOOK” (2008, Taschen) and “FROM POLAROID TO IMPOSSIBLE” (2011, Hatje Cantz).

In 1986, at the Photokina in Cologne, his work was exhibited and published in “50 years modern color photography 1936-1986”, curated by Manfred Heiting, the current director of the Helmut Newton Foundation.

Danish Museum of Photographic Art
In the early 1990s Auke Bergsma was represented by Galleri Specta in Kopenhagen. His work was purchased by the ROYAL LIBRARY OF KOPENHAGEN, THE FINNISH MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY and private collectors.

In 2006, his Polaroid dyptich “Can You Make A Living From Photography” was on the billboards of “Foto Triennale” in Odense, Denmark. This international photo festival is organised by the DANISH MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ART (MUSEET FOR FOTOKUNST), which in 2007 extended their collection of Auke Bergsma’s Polaroids.

In 2007 he donated a big part of his collection of work and negatives to the Rock Art Museum in Hoek van Holland. Among these were many polaroids of Mieke, lead singer of “De Gigantjes”.

In 2012, his own Polaroid archive was transferred to a Dutch collector, who is now, in close cooperation with Auke Bergsma himself, offering it at this sale.

Currently (from 14 may 2015 - 4 January 2016) the MUSEUM BRANDTS 13 in Odense, Denmark, shows an exhibition titled ‘Adam & Eva’, in which Auke Bergsma’s ‘Adam & Eva’ (similar to lot 002-087) has a prominent role.

Henri Cartier-Bresson prints

Prints of Henri Cartier-Bresson are highly valuable and wanted collector’s items. During his lifetime Cartier-Bresson created many prints of his photographs. His prints have never been numbered and have never belonged to a limited edition.

There are two kinds of prints in circulation: gallery prints and press prints. Early gallery prints are only signed on recto. Gallery prints from the mid-1970s have the embossed Henri Cartier-Bresson stamp (left corner next to the image) and his signature (right corner under the image). The press prints generally used to be distributed to agencies, newspapers and magazines. They can bare different stamps, like Henri Cartier-Bresson’s own copyright stamp or the Henri Cartier-Bresson Magnum stamp.

The press prints, especially vintage ones, are very rare, since (in general) they were produced for the client on demand. However, they do sometimes appear on the market. It is known that in the art market as a whole, a certain number of prints in circulations are falsifications. Prospective buyers should be always aware of this and take their decision based on their own judgement and, advisably, opinion of reputable experts.

The Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson claims to be the single organisation issuing Certificates of Authenticity. Some auction houses, like Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Swann do not sell prints with Certificates of Authenticity issued by other bodies. Others, including, have another position. We offer prints at our auction if the authenticity of the prints is confirmed by our internal experts and/or independent third party appraisers based on the physical examination of the prints, as well as other conditions are met. The authenticity of the Cartier-Bresson’s prints offered at the inaugural auction is verified and confirmed by an independent certified appraiser, and the buyers of the prints can order an official letter, stating that the print is authentic and listing the hammer price at the auction.

Photography-Auction, an online start up auctioneer for art dealers and collectors

001 - 20th Century Photographs

Auction date
Sunday, 28 June 2015, 16:00 GMT.

Catalogue online
Sunday 24 May 2015 at

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