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By Kerry Hannon
“The auctioneers at Christie’s thought the bids for Harlequin Dress might hit $30,000 or so. After all, the photographer was the legendary Irving Penn, the woman in the dress was his model-wife, and the picture ran in Vogue in 1950. But the estimate was a tad low cut. The final bid at the 2004 auction, from a private collector, was $101,575–an auction record for Penn and a sign that collecting fashion photos is definitely in style.
That hasn’t always been true. ‘Fashion photography has been kind of a bad word in the traditional ‘art’ world,’ says Josh Holdeman, head of the photographs department at Christie’s auction house.”