Phillips to Offer Photographs from the Collection of Georges Bermann
“To me, it is not the story that matters, but how the story is told – the unique vision of a photographer or a filmmaker. What is the angle that will make the story relevant? Knowing exactly where the camera should be placed is what separates genius from commonplace.” Georges Bermann
Phillips is proud to offer the photography collection of renowned video and film producer Georges Bermann on 3 November 2016 in London. Assembled over the past 20 years, and including important works by many of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries, the collection reflects the distinct, cinematic eye of Georges Bermann, a visual pioneer celebrated for his music, advert and film production. The collection will be offered in the auction of Photographs and comprises 19 lots including outstanding works by Richard Avedon, William Eggleston, Nick Knight, Annie Leibovitz, Dennis Hopper, Seydou Keïta and Guido Mocafico, among others. Individual estimates range from £4,000 to £80,000.
The illustrious career of Georges Bermann, one of the world’s most influential producers, was born of his combined love for photography, cinema and music. Georges started his production company Partizan in the mid-1980s, his head full of dreams about combining his three passions. In 1994, he produced the now iconic Levi’s commercial ‘Drugstore’, directed by his longtime creative partner Michel Gondry and created by the world famous advertising agency BBH. ‘Drugstore’, which referenced American photographers Walker Evans and O. Winston Link, became the most awarded commercial of all time and propelled his then small company into a global leader in advertising and music video productions. Partizan gave shape to such groundbreaking music videos as Bjork’s ‘Human Behaviour’, Daf Punk’s ‘Around the World’, White Stripe’s ‘Seven Nation Army’ and many more. Throughout his career, Georges has enjoyed spotting and fostering new talents, many of whom have developed into today’s top filmmakers. His many notable films include the Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Be kind rewind (2008) and Moonwalkers (2015).
Georges’s passion for collecting photography developed alongside his professional career and his exceptional photography collection – highlights from which are offered here – includes works by 20th century masters as well as works by celebrated and emerging contemporary artists. His first love was Irving Penn and his first acquisition on the back of a job was Penn’s Lipstick Chunks, New York, 1982, at a time when the photography market was still in its infancy.
Next came Richard Avedon, followed by William Eggleston and Robert Mapplethorpe. These greats were later joined by contemporary image-makers, many of whom were little known at the time their work entered his collection, including Nick Knight, Guido Mocafco, Pieter Hugo and Taryn Simon, to name a few. Cinematic references inform Georges’s collection as seen in the works by Stanley Kubrick and Dennis Hopper to Annie Leibovitz’s photograph of R2-D2 and Pieter Hugo’s image of Nollywood. In such visually arresting portraits as Richard Avedon’s Blue Cloud Wright, slaughterhouse worker, and Nick Knight’s Kate, the subjects – like characters in a film – stare out at the viewer and command our gaze. Highland Park, a photograph of a muscle car in fight by Matthew Porter, who is appearing at auction for the first time, resembles a film still – a scene suspended in time.
The featured works from Georges’s collection represent the culmination of over 25 years of collecting. A true visionary, Georges approached collecting photography in the same way as signing a filmmaker, relying on his instinct and his keen eye: “Everything I do comes from instinct – one feeling, in one direction, with the same rhythm.” Driven by a life-long fascination with the pulse of life, its mysteries and constant transformations, Georges’s unique vision is apparent in each of the following works. This sale presents collectors a unique opportunity to acquire iconic photographs by 20th century masters as well as contemporary works that are destined to become 21st century icons.
Auction: Thursday, 3 November 2016, 2pm GMT
Location: 30 Berkeley Square, London
PARIS: 18 – 22 October | Monday to Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday by appointment | 46 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
LONDON: 28 October – 3 November | Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
COLLECTION OF GEORGES BERMANN
Untitled (Citgo gas pump)
Dye transfer print, printed 2011.
37 x 55.2 cm (14 5/8 x 21 3/4 in.)
Signed in ink in the margin; numbered 5/10 in an unidentified hand in ink, ‘Election Eve’ Eggleston Artistic Trust copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamp on the verso.
Estimate £12,000 – 18,000