Lot 113: Half Plate Daguerreotype Portrait of Two Hunters with Game and Sleeping Dog, Est. $1,500-2,500
Daguerreotypes are a reminder of a time when photography was very different from the “point-and-shoot” instant pictures of today. Now, you carry a camera in the cell phone in your back pocket everywhere you go. Then, as now, photographers were purveyors of state-of-the-art technology.
In fact, the 19th century photographers who made these long-exposure images were referred to as daguerrean artists, and quickly supplanted the portrait painters of the day. The artists’ “images,” particularly daguerreotypes, were valued for their clarity and honesty in representation.
Other than the careful arrangement of a composition, the daguerrean photographer almost never altered an image in any way, except for portraits with pink-tinted cheeks, or gold-highlighted jewelry and buttons.
Lot 103: Ninth Plate Ambrotype Portrait of Man Pouring a Milk Can, Est. $100-150
Daguerrean artists did, however, use interesting means to achieve compositional effects that would otherwise be limited by long exposure times. In the ambrotype pictured here, depicting a man pouring milk from a pitcher, the “milk” is actually a white cloth.
The long exposure times needed for daguerreotypes and other forms of early photography also cause families, soldiers, children, and laborers to look out from stiff, unsmiling poses. It could be a long and strenuous task to sit for one of these images. Yet, if you look closely, the lives and loves of the subjects become clear, and the 19th century doesn’t feel quite so distant.
As a collector, Rod MacKenzie has a sophisticated taste for images that speak to him – and now to us – emotionally, historically, and artistically. He understands well the limitations of early photography, and carefully collects images which, though mainly portraits, show us more than just what the sitter looked like.
Lot 17: Sixth Plate Ambrotype of a Boy with His Drum, Est. $600-800
There are signs of life throughout the images in his collection – children holding toys close, workmen demonstrating tools of their trade, and soldiers exuding confidence and swagger.
In addition to the portraits, MacKenzie collects images that tell stories. Among the best of these is a set of so-called “occupationals.” There are dozens of images that convey a strong sense of narrative: portraits of beautiful, elegantly dressed women give us a window into the day’s style; prosperous young couples exude airs of optimism; and men show their skill at their daily occupations. This group includes some of the rarest examples MacKenzie gathered: an architect seen in his office at a desk with his drafting tools and elevation drawings of Italianate houses on the walls behind him, a blacksmith at his anvil, a mailman, farmers, a banjo player, a string quartet, a bugle player, carpenters, buggy drivers, and firemen.
In Part II of this series, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights of this truly astounding collection. Every time I turn a page in the catalogue, I seem to find something new in one of these images that I hadn’t seen before. Which images speak most strongly to you?
On October 30, 2011, Skinner will offer the first part of the Early Photography collection of Rod MacKenzie in our American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction. Read Part I of this series to learn more about Rod MacKenzie’s sophisticated taste as a collector.
MacKenzie’s extensive knowledge of American history, particularly of the Civil War, is represented by dozens of extraordinary images of military officers and soldiers. The collection includes portraits of soldiers of all types: officers, dashing men in uniform, and heart-breaking images of very young men headed off to war. In looking at these images, we feel tantalizingly close to the battlefield and to the figures taking part in military history. Notes tucked behind case liners, such as “taken at Newbern, No. Carolina 1863 WLW Private C. E. 44th Mass,” bring us in even closer.
Another focus of the collection is photography of children being children in ways we aren’t used to seeing in 19th century photographs. One highlight is an image of a class of thirty children attending “Petersham School in Miss Laura’s Day.” We must credit the photographer for keeping the kids still during the exposure, though perhaps more of the credit is due to Miss Laura herself.
Rod found a pair of photographs showing a sweet-faced boy and a girl, probably twins, seated in the same stencil-decorated chair. He has an image of a girl holding a chalkware cat, and another of a boy with his paint-decorated drum – both subjects hold their cherished possessions close.
Lot 23: Two Sixth Plate Daguerreotype Portraits of A Boy and a Girl, probably twins, Est. $300-500
Rod made an effort to collect images of leisure activity, too, giving us even more opportunity to peer through a window into the 19th century. There’s an image of two men playing checkers housed in a Union case appropriately called “The Chess Players.” An ambrotype of four men, one wearing a military cap, holding mugs of beer, allows us to view a moment of revelry. A half-plate daguerreotype of hunters posing with game and their hunting dog represents the type of artistic composition that daguerrians often practiced. In another, a gentleman hunter with a stovepipe hat and a frock coat poses with his long gun against a painted backdrop representing a rural landscape, all housed in a case called “The Hunter.”
Lot 137: Half Plate Ambrotype Depicting a Whitehall, New York, Street Parade with Band, Est. $800-1,200
City- and townscapes, another category in the collection, are represented by some rare early photographs of mid-19th century houses including a gothic cottage, a Greek revival farmhouse, and a three-story Federal mansion. Perhaps rarest of that group is an image showing a street parade in Whitehall, New York.
Many of these sometimes haunting photographs are housed in rare thermoplastic or “Union” cases, each collectible in their own right for their unique designs. To create these cases, a specific mix of shellac, pulverized wood fibers and dyes would be heated to create a thick plastic liquid. That semi-solid was rolled out into a sheet, then individually pressed into any one of dozens of patterns which hardened when cooled. Half-plate examples of these thermoplastic cases in the collection are titled “Washington Monument, Richmond, Virginia,” “American Country Life – Summer Evening,” and “The Wedding Procession.” Others show firefighters, military trophies, and more.
In all of Skinner’s years in the business, we’ve crossed paths with and offered hundreds of early photographs. Rarely have those images equaled the quality and beauty of the pictures Rod found, or given us such insight into the people they show.
Yeah, I can open it. WHEN I BREAK IT ON YOUR SKULL.
The first thing I feel when I look at these atrocious ads is grateful. Grateful that we are where we are now. Grateful that my daughter is growing up in a world where women are increasingly seen as equal to men. Granted, women still earn something like 75 cents for every dollar a man makes. There is a gender-related wage gap in virtually every occupational category.
Take a look at the 25 advertisements below and you might also feel grateful to those who went before who beat bloodied hands on glass ceilings to pave the way for us, our daughters and their daughters.
Wives and mothers from sixties and before had it particularly bad. They were prisoners of society’s expectations. How could they ever truly know who they were if they had to conform to what was deemed appropriate feminine behavior?
Thank God I came of age in the age of “You can be anything you want to be” movement. I know sexism and gender inequality is alive and well, but when I look at my daughter the possibilities seem endless. Especially compared to the little girls who grew up seeing advertisements like the ones featured below. Some are so horrible it’s tough to believe they’re real. But they are.
The Little Lady Belongs In The Kitchen
Tell that to my husband, the chef and cook in this household. Photo credit: Oddee.com
An Ad For Rugs? Pants? Domestic Abuse?
Coffee Approved Domestic Violence
I’m Just A Secretary, I Don’t Know Much About Computers
Ketchup For The Delicate Woman
Being Pretty Is So Much Better Than Being Smart
It’s Your Fault He’s Not Coming Home, You Ugly Broad
We All Know Women Can’t Drive
The Harder She Works The Cuter She Looks
Lysol Feminine Products Can Save Your Marriage
Men Are Better Than Woman
Someone’s Blowing Smoke All Right…
Indelicate Women Are Hideous!
All I Want For Christmas Is A… Toaster?
Keep Her Where She Belongs
When In Doubt, Throw A Chick In A Bikini
Yes! She’s Decidedly To Blame!
Housework + Appearance = A Woman’s Role
You Know You’re The Woman Your Husband Wants You To Be
The Perfect Perpetuation of Gender Stereotypes
Here Comes The Old Battle Axe Again, Son
Thank Goodness For Men Penmakers!
A Woman’s Place Is In The Kitchen
All Women Want…
Women Can’t Drive
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All photos courtesy of: Odee.com
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The key events in the life of one of Israel’s greatest political and military leaders. Ariel Sharon 1928-2014
From general to political leader
General Sharon with then-Prime Minister Golda Meir in Sinai, Egypt. Yom Kippur War. 1973 (Photo: GPO)
Sharon with then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. West of Suez Canal. Yom Kippur War 1973. (Photo: Bamahane, Abraham Vered)
Sharon with Rabin and Yekutiel Adam. 1976. (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
Sharon appointed to defense minister. 1981 (Photo: Shalom Bar Tal)
Then Defense Minister Sharon with Prime Minister Begin at Bufour outpost, Lebanon (Photo: IDF)
Sharon with slain PM-Rabin (Photo: Defense Ministry)
Sharon on Suez Canal. 1982 (Photo: Mose Milner, GPO)
Sharon with wife Lily at an Air Force base.1982 (Photo: Baruch Rimon, GPO)
Sharon at Knesset Plenum. 1985 (Photo: Nati Harnik, GPO)
Sharon addresses Likud. 1986 (Photo: Shalom Bar Tal)
Sharon on his farm in the northern Negev (Photo: Yossi Rot)
Sharon on his farm (Photo: Michael Kremer)
Sharon with Palestinian President Abbas. 2003 (Photo: Reuters)
Sharon at Hanukkah ceremony (Photo: Flash 90)
Sharon addresses cabinet as PM. 2005 (Photo: AP)
As Michael Bloomberg’s reign comes to a close, our mayor/billionaire underwriter is talking up his next move, which involves teaching other cities to be more like New York. But behind the scenes, he’s also scrambling to push through dozens of building projects that will define his legacy.
A few days ago, the mayor announced his plans to form a consulting group that will teach other cities to be more like New York, an “urban SWAT team” in the words of The New York Times, helping other municipalities achieve the same economic, health, and cultural growth that New York has seen under El Bloombito.
But behind the scenes, the outgoing administration is quietly hustling to gain approvals on a whopping $12 billion worth of building projects. It seems that Bloomberg would rather be remembered for the economic miracle he nurtured into being—and the building boom it spurred—than for nannying his constituents. After all, the NYT reminds us that 40 percent of New York City has been rezoned under Bloomberg—and this new crop of approvals and tax breaks will cement that physical legacy.
Let’s get to know some of the biggest, shall we?
Domino Sugar: 1.5 Billion
The tortured project to rebuild Williamsburg’s post-industrial waterfront as a gigantic luxury housing development is finally underway—the SHoP-designed towers span 11 acres of waterfront, and though they’ve been redesigned to be more “porous.” Many still oppose the development, but on December 11, Community Board 1 approved the project with only minor quibbles.
Hallets Point: $1 billion
“Halletts Point is one of the few remaining New York neighborhoods that feels like a timeless, undisturbed backwater, forgotten by the city and left to urban entropy,” writes Nathan Kensinger in this photo essay on the neighborhood. Well, not for long: This billion-dollar project—approved this fall by City Council—is going to turn a grassy park that points from Queens towards Manhattan into a complex of 2,100 luxury apartments, restaurants, shops, and a waterfront promenade.
St. George outlet mall and observation wheel: $580 million
Even New York isn’t safe from the race to build a bigger Ferris wheel. This plan will combine America’s two favorite things: Amusement parks and outlet malls. Nestled along the Staten Island waterfront, it calls for the construction of 125 outlet shops and the largest Ferris Wheel in the Western Hemisphere. The project was approved by City Council in November, though funding remains uncertain—construction is slated to begin in 2016.
Hudson Yards: $1.2 Billion
Destined to add an insane 13 million square feet of residential and commercial property to Manhattan’s market over the next ten to fifteen years, this 16-tower development is the largest the city has seen in years. Here’s a great example of a project that incoming mayor Bill de Blasio might not look so kindly upon: Last week, the city approved $120 million in tax breaksfor the developers of Hudson Yards, a practice De Blasio has said he will cut back on.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Hunter College: $1.7 billion
A joint project between Sloan-Kettering and Hunter, this complex will build a 1.15-million square foot tower along FDR Drive by 2018. The plan was approved in November—and according to The New York Times, it will be too late to reverse it by the time De Blasio takes office in January,
Greenpoint Landing: $2 Billion
Here’s the big one. Perhaps the most controversial plan on the docket, this mega-developmentreceived the go-ahead from City Council last week. The development will transform the sleepy Greenpoint waterfront with ten glassy residential towers, adding 5,500 units to the neighborhood.
Willets Point: $3 Billion
Another example of a project that would come under fire from De Blasio. Though locals argue their neighborhood isn’t as blighted as the city claims it is, this 62-acre development—including 2,490 units of housing, a shopping center and an entrainment complex—was approved by City Council October. Last week, the city approved a $43 million tax break for its developers.
Bloomberg might be sneaking these projects into the world like a teenager tiptoeing through the backdoor after curfew, but that’s not to say that De Blasio is anti-development. As Gothamistpoints out, he received thousands of dollars of campaign donations from the very developers mentioned in this article. He’s more likely to be a “development pragmatist,” in the words ofCapital NY, driving harder bargains but not giving developers the complete (and very tall) cold shoulder.
Whether he’ll continue or simply amend Bloomberg’s party line? We’ll have to wait for 2014 to see.
I’m all for transforming NYC, but at what expense? The way things are going, a lot of people will be priced out of NYC.12/19/13 2:31pm
Forgive me for my ignorance, I have only visited NYC once as a child, but are there any non-rich people living in this city anymore? I can hardly believe that these glass towers and fancy restorations are accessible to people making less than 100k a year. So where are those making your sandwiches, sweeping your streets, and serving your street meat living if the entirety of the city is being gentrified into oblivion? Are they all commuting from an hour outside the city? Are they all traveling from Connecticut, New Jersey, etc? 12/19/13 2:37pm
Oh there are non-rich people in the city but it takes groups of 3-4 individuals to squeeze into one $3000 a month small ass apt to afford to live here. 12/19/13 2:40pm
“are there any non-rich people living in this city anymore?”
in manhatten, below 110th street… no.
in the rest of the 5 boroughs, which is the majority of new york… yes. 12/19/13 2:42pm
I think google earth and NYC should combine to do a “Future Earth”. If all of the officially proposed concepts (real projects, even if they aren’t funded) are completed what would the 5 boroughs look like in 25 years. 3D models you can fly in and around and see street level views. It couldn’t be too hard for the city planning board to require a 3D model submitted with any planning submission for projects over $50M or 10 stories. It could be a tool for neighborhood meetings and zoning decisions and just plain cool for the rest of us. 12/19/13 2:35pm
Hello, Google? Is anyone listening out there? Can you put a project team on this?12/19/13 2:36pm
My economics training tells me that all this new residential and commercial space will help drive down the price of renting in NYC.
My real-life training tells me that this will not happen. 12/19/13 2:51pm
Yeaaaaah, you’d think that but I’m sure there’s such a demand for housing in the city that there’s really no way to actually get the supply to meet the demand and affect the pricing. Something something inelastic prices something something. 12/19/13 3:08pm
Your economic training is really poor. This isn’t some theory defying mysticism.12/19/13 3:15pm
A joint project between Sloan-Kettering and Hunter
Sigh. Meanwhile, Hunter and the rest of the City University system continue to raise tuition and move further and further away from their roots as free universities accessible to all New Yorkers… Pathetic. Disgusting. 12/19/13 2:37pm
I have to say, as a current Hunter student, I’m excited for the new building. Do you know how unbelievably crowded the Hunter campus is? How few resources we have? It’s exciting that we’re going to have access to new spaces and classes and opportunities. This will eventually be enormously beneficial for the Hunter community. 12/19/13 2:59pm
It’s sort of how all universities are going, though. All about the money and prestige. Tuition is always going to go up =/12/19/13 3:06pm
I still think Delta City looks better…look how white everything is!
I’d buy THAT for a dollar! 12/19/13 3:29pm
Plus that whole prison conversion thing.12/19/13 2:29pm
The Hudson Yards project is actually pretty cool. It will integrate improvements to the High Line walkway with accessible public spaces. The skyscrapers themselves will also look quite lovely, in my opinion.
Here’s a picture of one of the planned “sky garden” parks that will be built atop the High Line next to the development:
I am following this development closely and I think it will be very good for New York City as a whole. It’s not like other developments that are completely changing existing neighborhoods: they’re building basically everything on top of an old rail yard. 12/19/13 2:29pm
RIP Greenpoint. 😦 12/19/13 2:30pm
Earlier this year Mayor Bloomberg said this
“As bad as Sandy was, future storms could be even worse,” he said. “In fact, because of rising temperatures and sea levels, even a storm that’s not as large as Sandy could – down the road – be even more destructive.”
For a dude who believes catastrophic events around sea level are going to become more common over the years he sure is encouraging a whole lot of buildings at water level. 12/19/13 3:20pm
Good news for trustfunders and petrol dollar sheikhs, bad news for humans. 12/19/13 2:41pm
which involves teaching other cities to be more like New York
Ah, so these other cities are gonna price poor/working people out, privatize all their schools, and have their police forces randomly stop and search innocent men of color on the street? Awesome! Thanks Bloombito! 12/19/13 2:36pm
Most people living in any of NYC’s hotspots are foolishly obsessed with the lifestyle or the disgustingly wealthy. Oddly, the city has acquired a reputation as a tech center. But from what I’ve seen it’s mostly a bunch of rich investors keen on the prestige of having a New York address. Everyone I know who works in the city commutes in.
Prior to the economic downturn in 2008 I was noticing quite a lot of New Yorkers moving to Connecticut. If your work force has to travel 1 to 2 hours every day what’s the point of dumping a fortune on being located in the city? This, along with De Blasio’s promises, will likely result in a repeat of the 80s when there was a mass exodus of companies. It certainly would be a boon for Connecticut and New Jersey. 12/19/13 5:32pm
wonder if they’ll plan for rising waters.12/19/13 2:26pm
Sadly, that’s not the developer’s problem, so they won’t address it. To analogize, it’s like the financial crisis: companies (mortgage brokers=developers in this case) have an incentive to package incomplete, inexpensive products (sub-prime Mortgage-backed securities=low-lying coastal real estate developments) that are essentially time bombs. These time bombs will only explode well after they are off of the originators’ books. It is up to the consumer (banks=real estate companies or alternatively public advocates in the case of privately owned residential developments) to address these issues. In the case of the financial crisis, the banks repackaged the toxic assets and resold them to entities with even less foresight and institutional knowledge. I think that will be the ultimate result here.
“On the planning side there are multiple options for adaptation to sea level rise. The first is protection, which is what everybody calls the first line, which usually turns out only to be over the short to mid-term, that is 10 to maybe 100 year time scales. But if we want to have New York City around more than 500 years, that means we have to think about what the conditions will be 500 years from now. We need to think about how it is laid out in terms of the waterfront and elevation. Is it really built in a way that is sustainable? I would say absolutely not.”
This was my first thought. All of these don’t appear to have any planning for expected rises in water. A recent NatGeo article expects, at a conservative thought, ocean rises between 2 and 3 feet in New York by 2100. This is considering increased air temperature, increased water temperature, and a warming, shifting Gulf stream and Atlantic current. All these proposed structures appear to be right on the water. Might be time to start thinking about such things… 12/19/13 3:33pm
Right, because Sharknado 2 needs an excuse to place another CG ferris wheel in the middle of New York.
I’m a huge fan of both model and life-size railroads, I can’t wait for the entrainment complex in Willets Point to be done 🙂12/19/13 2:48pm
How about a Before and After picture of these areas? That would be awesome.
I am completely unfamiliar with any of these places as I have only briefly been through NYC on my way to NJ.12/19/13 3:24pm
Kelsey, interesting article.
BTW, although ‘entrainment’ is a real word, I think ‘entertainment’ is the one you are looking for. 12/19/13 3:48pm
But, it’s so far from the views you really want to see… 12/19/13 2:55pm
“…teach other cities to be more like New York…”
Hmmm… not really sure I’d want that.12/19/13 3:56pm
Hudson Yards looks like 3 huge light refracting tiki’s to me. 12/19/13 2:56pm
you forgot the cornell-technion project on roosevelt island 12/20/13 1:55am
RIP NYC 12/19/13 3:47pm
…./sigh 12/19/13 3:11pm
- Shades of Bloomberg in New York’s Next Housing Czar (nextcity.org)
- Bloomberg Rushes to Approve Billion-Dollar Projects Before Leaving Office (archdaily.com)
- The Billion-Dollar Megaprojects That Will Transform NYC By 2030 (gizmodo.com)
- The Billion-Dollar Megaprojects That Will Transform NYC By 2030 (gizmodo.com)
- Bloomberg: Pay-By-Phone Parking Headed To NYC (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Going Out With Building Boom, Mayor Pushes Billions in Projects (nytimes.com)
- New York Remade: Before and After Bloomberg (wnyc.org)
- Hudson Yards, Willets Point receive tax breaks (crainsnewyork.com)
- New NYC Mayor Worse Than Bloomberg? (americanfreepress.net)
- Planning commish Burden will join Bloomberg in private venture after term (therealdeal.com)