Instant Gratification

Polaroid's Photography Collection Auction at Sotheby's

A massive collection of photos from Polaroid’s corporate archive will be auctioned this June at Sotheby’s in a controversial sale ordered by a U.S. bankruptcy court. The sale is projected to earn $7.5 million to $11.5 million and those proceeds will go to creditors of PBE Corp., formerly Polaroid, which filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time. The two-day auction, to be held June 21 and 22, could become the biggest sale of corporate photography collections liquidated by a bankrupt company in history. Chuck Close’s 9-Part Self Portrait is estimated to go for as much as $60,000 and Warhol’s Farrah Fawcett portrait has been valued at as much as $7,000. William Wegman, Robert Frank, David Hockney, and Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos will also be up for auction as well as major vintage non-Polaroid prints, such as more than 400 works from landscape photographer Ansel Adams. “The collection is going to be dispersed, which is against promises made to the photographers,” said one photography critic and historian. “These were never sales, they were exchanges… with visitation rights for the photographers.”