Issue #263  10/26/2023
  • Issue #263
  • Article
"Shaping Visions" Photographs Auction, Including Important Group of 22 Vintage Otto Steinert Images, to Be Sold by Leitz Photographica Auction on November 24th
Otto Steinert, Mask of a Dancer, 1952, Vintage silver print.
Otto Steinert, Mask of a Dancer, 1952, Vintage silver print.

Under a title of "Shaping Visions", Leitz Photographica Auction will sell hundreds of important photographs on November 24th, including a stunning group of 22 key vintage prints by Otto Steinert.

Otto Steinert (1915-1978) left his mark on German post-war photography like no other. He spanned the arc from "New Seeing" to "Subjective Photography," broke with the conventions of documentary photography, and fundamentally influenced the visual language with his tense compositions. Twenty-two of those photographs, including icons such as Maske einer Tänzerin, Blick vom Arc de Triomphe, Ein-Fuß-Gänger and Lampen der Place de la Concorde, will be auctioned in Vienna on November 24 at 6 pm CET by Leitz Photographica Auction.

The vintage prints come directly from the stock of the Foto Cine Clube Bandeirante in São Paulo and are the highlight of the auction. (Estimated price 200,000-300,000 EUR.) The prints were part of the exhibition "Otto Steinert and his students" at the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo in 1955, which was held in partnership with the FCCB.

Otto Steinert, One-Foot-Walker, 1950, Vintage silver print.
Otto Steinert, One-Foot-Walker, 1950, Vintage silver print.

"Mask of a Dancer" is considered the most important photograph in the group. Steinert chose it as the cover motif for his first exhibition, "Subjektive Fotografie"; it became his poster child par excellence. The print clearly shows that for Steinert the negative was always just the source material. Through recopying, solarization, negative mounting and calculated post-exposure, Steinert shapes his prints so individually that it is almost impossible to create "reprints" today.

As expert Johannnes Faber notes, "His photographs epitomize the fact that the early print matters, and the fear of reproducing it umpteen times over is often simply unfounded."

Specialist Anna Zimm says, "In a world where the automation of photographic technology and simple 'snapping' are on the rise, Steinert's uncompromising compositions are more than ever a tribute to the art of photography and 'picture making'."

Nan Goldin, Joey at the Love Ball, New York 1991, Cibachrome.
Nan Goldin, Joey at the Love Ball, New York 1991, Cibachrome.

Along with other classic photographers of the medium such as Rudolf Koppitz, Walker Evans, Mario Giacomelli, Horst P. Horst, Berenice Abbott and Aaron Siskind, the auction includes exciting perspectives from the second half of the century and contemporary work by Richard Misrach, Nan Goldin, Luigi Ghirri, Dayanitha Singh, Roe Ethridge and Sally Mann.

Iconic reportage photographs by Sebastião Salgado, John Bulmer and René Burri, and a diverse range of celebrity and fashion photographs are among the other images being sold, highlighted by four photographs by the universal genius Yul Brynner, whose MP cameras will be auctioned the same weekend by Leitz Photographica Auction.

The online photography auction catalogue can be found at:

Printed catalogues can be requested from the auction house.

Leitz Photographica Auction
Westbahnstraße 40
A-1070 Vienna
T +43 1 523 56 59 - 53
F +43 1 523 56 59 - 88

Contacts for the auction:
Experts: Anna Zimm & Johannes Faber (External Expert)
T +43 1 523 56 59 - 16