Vintage Rare Authentic Originals up for Public Auction, Feb. 4, 2015 at James D. Julia, Inc. Fairfield, ME
Fairfield, ME (PRWEB) January 26, 2015
Great rarities of the Beatles and Bob Dylan by Richard Avedon, the famous photographer – are up for auction at James D. Julia, Inc. on Feb. 4, 2015, but the amazing story begins decades earlier. In the early 1990’s, a antiques dealer from upstate New York came to cross paths with a person who found discarded items by jumping into NYC trash bins. This person, commonly known as a ‘dumpster diver,’ found a valuable cache of fashion photographs by the celebrity photographer Richard Avedon. From this sublime ‘diving’ incident, however, the greatest myths in the explosive world of the photographic art market would come to grow.
The Avedon image stash depicted minor fashion models. Though unsigned, the photos had the unmistakable Avedon touch. The upstate NY antiques man snapped-up the hoard, paying very little to the unknowing garbage picker. The collection was consigned to NYC’s Swann Auctions. Seasoned photo-art dealer Janet Lehr was said to have bought the photos for an average sum of a princely $1,800 each. This was quite a jackpot windfall for the antiquer: Especially for real auction house authenticated unsigned Avedons!
Then photographer Avedon learned of the auction sale of his photos. Court action followed citing Swann Auctions, the Avedon auction buyer and the antiques picker. The lawsuit claimed the photos did not have clear transfer of title. The lawsuit claimed the photos came out of a dumpster used by a fashion magazine – the likes of a Town and Country or a Harper’s. Avedon also claimed he had a signed agreement with the magazine stating photo property he sent to them would be returned. A magazine staff oversight, seeing the images unsigned – earmarked them for trash. Avedon’s photo rights were tainted. The case was settled out of court. The photo-art dealer got their money back and the antiques dealer got back his Avedons. Swann is said to have agreed to never offer unsigned Avedon works, even if authentic.
Suddenly it became taboo to pay big money for unsigned but real Avedon photographs! Then it became fashionable to pay stupid crazy money after Avedon died for way later printed copies that in some cases weren’t even actual photographs! How absurd is this?
It was because news of the Swann incident spread and became distorted, putting a unsightly ripple in the photo art market and morphed into something it wasn’t. All of a sudden, all unsigned authentic Avedon’s suddenly, and absurdly became non-authentic!
On June 7, 2004 Avedon formed the non-profit Richard Avedon Foundation and transferred all copyrights, just months before his Oct. 1, 2004 death. Immediately after Avedon’s death at the age of 81, many of his iconic images rose dramatically in value. In 2011 at a Phillips de Pury & Co. NY auction, a Avedon offering called ‘The Beatles Portfolio,’ London, England, soared to $722,500, against an estimate of $350,000 to $450,000. At Christie’s 2010 Paris sale, the price for another copy of the same folio achieved $610,095. This set was property of the Richard Avedon Foundation. It was the 4 psychedelic dye-transfer color print set of Beatles Lennon, Harrison, McCartney and Starr produced in 1990 by Avedon limited to 6 folios. The first ‘The Beatles Portfolio’ to ever sell at auction, achieved $464,000 in 2005. The folios did not consist of actual photographs, like those made by the over century old original 19th century process.
Richard Avedon had donated a 435 plus image collection to the Univ. of Arizona at Tucson in the early-1990’s. He also pledged ‘The Beatles Portfolio’ color set for later delivery. In their Center for Creative Photography online Avedon inventory catalog last updated on June 6, 2001, before it was curiously taken down following Avedon’s 2004 death, it stated: “The Beatles Portfolio (color) – not yet received.” A question has arisen: Was this one folio of 6 produced, sold for the foundation at the 2010 Paris sale, the actual set Mr. Avedon promised the university in the early nineties?
These 1990 dye-transfer copies have a interesting history. They were released 23 years after the Beatles sat for Avedon in a studio at Thompson House, 200 Gray’s Inn Road, London on Aug. 11, 1967. Printed pictures from this session appeared in the Jan. 9, 1968 issue of Look plus in Europe’s Stern magazine. Later, print poster sets were sold mail order for just a few bucks. Unknown tens of thousands remained in both Europe and US warehouses. Today these can bring over $1,500 a set.
By contractual agreement at the time of the Aug. 1967 Beatles shoot, Mr. Avedon sold the copyrights to his Beatles psychedelic color work and other Beatles portraits to NEMS Enterprises, Ltd. NEMS was the firm run by the Beatles music manager Brian Epstein. Avedon relinquished all rights, but collected royalties under Richard Avedon Posters, Inc., long defunct. On Aug 27, 1967, sixteen days after Avedon’s Beatles photo session, Beatles manager Brian Epstein died from an overdose of Carbitol. The Beatles were shocked. By strange twist of fate, the Beatles were attending Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation seminar at Bangor, North Wales. The guru they had just met in London became a substitute for their use of psychedelics and a cushion for their bereavement. Avedon, unknowingly to the Beatles, or even himself, had captured this true essence just days before.
The story then gets even stranger. Clive Epstein was management director of his brother Brian’s NEMS Enterprises, Ltd. He helped his and brother Brian’s mother Queenie Epstein, who was heir executrix of her son Brian’s estate. In 1979 Clive Epstein told Richard Warren Lipack, the then young unknown Beatles historian visiting the Epsteins in Liverpool; a secret. Clive had explained to author Lipack that in order to circumvent impending death duty taxes on the estate, he had to sell NEMS quickly. He did so, selling to Triumph Ltd. Triumph stock was then bought for his mother Queenie with the money but Triumph went bust and almost, the Epsteins. Clive managed to eventually make a grand comeback for he and his mother Queenie. Since the Beatles photo copyrights were owned by NEMS, when Brian Epstein died and NEMS transferred to Triumph, Ltd, the copyrights transferred as well. The copyrights now became held by the liquidation receiver when the firm went under. It was at this point that Mr. Avedon could have bought back the Beatles 1967 photo copyrights, but did not..
In the early 2000’s, a year or so before Avedon died, historian Lipack acquired a small collection of his Beatles and Bob Dylan works. This collection did not include any 1990 dye-transfer color print copies of his original 1967 color output, but rather actual original color gelatin photographs of the later 1990 print set, printed decades before. These originals were unsigned, but had documented Avedon handwriting with 1975 dates. Also, earlier Avedon “proof” originals were also acquired. These “proof” originals carry a unique Avedon photolith artist imprint, unlike the usual artist ink stamp – dated “1965;” “1967;” “1969;” “1970” and “1973.” This is before Avedon’s first ever commercial Marlborough Gallery show in 1975. These date back to the 1960’s, when it is clearly known Avedon never sold photos – but gifted them. The Avedon collection historian Lipack acquired came from a deceased photo agency head in England whose estate was donated to a church charity in New Zealand, and sold by that charity over a decade ago.
This original Avedon collection is to be offered at auction on Feb. 4, 2015 at James D. Julia, Inc., Fairfield, ME. Julia’s also sold Lipack’s discovery of the origin of Coca Cola. It was the earliest and only known true image of Coca Cola inventor Dr. Pemberton on the day in 1888 he sold the fabled soft drink recipe to Coke founder Asa Candler. This first was published as a cover story in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, then picked-up by London’s DAILY MAIL which modified it to better clarify the Coca Coca fraud. This was syndicated in the SYDNEY HERALD and INDIA TIMES, among others worldwide. The fraud’s story shattered the Pemberton myth globally. The curator of Coca Cola’s museum curiously retired less than 2 months after the Dec. 2012 story broke. A question rose over the purported Dr. Pemberton used on the Coca Cola website. Lack of clear right and title over the questionable Pemberton kept it from being used in commercial marketing schemes. After this commercial sham was exposed – how is it we are witness within two years to syndicated news stories appearing citing Coca Cola’s worst losses mounting now over a decade?
Richard Warren Lipack discovered and authenticated the origin of telegraphy and birth of the internet: The 1836-1842 handwritten manuscript journal of William Fothergill Cooke, the inventor. Lipack is also producer and director of the only known videotape of George Harrison’s historic 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh. In 1977 Lipack discovered the Datebook magazine negative files and owns all photo copyrights of the Beatles’ 1966 last US tour and last paid public concert at Candlestick Park – behind the scenes. THE ORIGINAL YELLOW SUBMARINE, first revealed in Lipack’s historic 1996 book: “Epoch Moments and Secrets – John Lennon and The Beatles at the Mirror of Man’s Destiny,” is also now a unpublished copyrighted motion picture screenplay. In addition, the author holds other Beatles copyrights to be published in the future. Mr. Lipack had begun selling photos to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1975, three years before Richard Avedon exhibited there in 1978.
The upcoming James D. Julia, Inc. Feb. 4, 2015 sale of Beatles photos, appears to mirror Julia’s 1888 Coca Cola photo sale and story of 2012. Interesting that Lipack again is the consignor of material that demonstrates a corporation’s apparent misrepresentation of verifiable fact as presented in the obscurity of Coca Cola’s questionable fraud of their Dr. Pemberton. The current sale’s Beatles photo offering includes email between the consignor and the Richard Avedon Foundation’s archivist. In the emails, the Avedon archivist asks why she could not find Avedon copyrights for any 1967 Beatles photos when a US Copyright Office copyright search was made by her. Lipack explained the NEMS / Triumph connection as the reason, and never heard back.
The official position of the Richard Avedon Foundation is that for any Avedon known images, it ‘considers unsigned and unnumbered photos to be unauthorized photos.’ In regard to Avedon’s 1967 Beatles photos, a question arises over how the foundation can claim Avedon 1967 Beatles works known that are ‘unsigned and unnumbered photos be considered unauthorized photos’ if the foundation does not own Avedon’s copyright in the 1967 Beatles photos? Or how can they not acknowledge unsigned Beatles photos that bear documented handwriting of Avedon’s on the verso? What authority does the Richard Avedon Foundation have to purport to be legal custodians and experts over such Beatles photos? Besides, how can it be that the foundation, who had wrote Lipack through eBay’s email system about a Avedon listing, never asked eBay to delist?
Richard Avedon was clearly acting under a “color of title” when he erroneously placed copyright notices on his early Beatles photos now up for grabs at Julia’s. The 1990 color dye-transfer set never being delivered to the Univ. of Arizona and a sale of the foundation’s set in Paris, or even the 1975 color set being offered by James D. Julia, Inc., for that matter – also raises interesting questions, and maybe also some eyebrows!
Very few color photo sets from the 1967 Beatles session hand dated by Avedon “75” actually exist. The 1960’s dated Avedon “proofs” of the Beatles and Dylan, may be the only extant 1960’s examples and the incorrect ‘supposed’ title to copyright on the Avedon photos makes these early images much akin to a mint ‘error’ like a “1943 Copper Lincoln Cent” or a “1913 Liberty Head Nickel” proof coin in many ways. Only time will tell. For more details about the upcoming Wednesday, February 4, 2015 James D. Julia, Inc. AVEDON / BEATLES PHOTO sale, please go to;
For more on the accredited authority behind the Beatles photos;