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For some time, we have owned a relatively rare and early Capa Exhibition Catalog. We are showing you an image above and below. The Catalog measures 5 1/4 ” x 9 1/2 ” and has twelve pages. It was done in 1960 for a traveling exhibition under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute. The white front cover only has the words Robert Capa War Photographs on it. Now here comes the rest of this unusual story.

This catalog is part of a series, but I never knew which ones. Now, I recently read an article that I will share with you in its entirety dealing with Capa. It was published in the Maine Antique Digest. You will not believe the story until you read it in this excerpt of an auction review by Robert Kyle as follows: “Dealers and collectors of fine art, furniture, photography, Asian artifacts, Japanese swords, and diamonds quenched their desires at Sloans & Kenyon, June 22-24, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Amid the nearly 1700 lots there were rarities that commanded attention. Nearly $1.4 million was spent by 368 registered bidders.”

The catalog explained the remarkable circumstances: “The following collection of framed and panel-mounted prints by Robert Capa, Werner Bischof, David Seymour (Chim), Dan Weiner and Leonard Freed represents substantial components of several influential exhibitions of photo journalism organized in the 1960’s by Magnum Photos, the prestigious photojournalist’s cooperative, and the Fund for Concerned Photography in collaborations with the River Museum [New York].”

“Sets of these shows—Photographs by Robert Capa (1960), Robert Capa War Photographs (1960), The World of Werner Bischof (1961), Chim’s Times (1966), and The Concerned Photographer (1967)—were toured by the Smithsonian Institution in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.”

“This collection consists of the original exhibition panels, in addition to both panel-mounted and framed exhibition prints, used in these touring shows. These panels and prints were discovered in Puerto Rico in their original Smithsonian shipping crates, after the crates were purchased at a United States Postal Service auction of unclaimed property.”

“Internal evidence suggests that the one-man show exhibition sets may have been cannibalized in order to assemble or refurbish one or more of the touring sets of The Concerned Photographer (1968), one of the most widely circulated, acclaimed photography exhibitions of the late 1960’s.”

“The material represents five of the six photographers featured in The Concerned Photographer…only Andre Kertesz is missing. The collection includes some of the photographers’ most iconic images: Capa’s Death of a Loyalist Soldier and D-Day, June 6, 1944, among many others. Almost all of the prints (and notably the majority of the Capas) appear to have been made from the original negatives, many of which were retired a number of years ago.”

The best-selling lot was 40 photos taken in Asia by Werner Bischof. It brought $13,570 (est. $4000/6000). Eighty-two images by Robert Capa taken in Europe during the Second World War sold for $9440 (est. $8000/10,000). Taken in India, 14 photos by Werner Bischof brought $7375 (est. $1200/ 1400). David Seymour’s 18 images of children sold for $5310 (est. $4000/6000). Seven of Seymour’s photos of the Spanish Civil War brought $3304 (est. $2000/3000). Capa also covered the Spanish Civil War, and his 17 photos sold for $4130 (est. $4000/6000).

Two lots did not make their reserves, Seymour’s European collection (32 works, est. $5000/7000) and his Israel collection (nine works, est. $2000/3000).

For more information go to Sloans and Kenyon website.

WOW! At least I know now that my catalog belongs to a group of five exhibition catalogs.

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