One of the most iconic photographic images of war came under the hammer at a recent Westlicht (20% buyer’s premium) auction in Vienna.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Jonathan Franks
This was Robert Capa’s Falling Soldier, which is also known as Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death or Death of a Loyalist Soldier, taken in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
It was first published in a French magazine in 1936 and reached a much larger audience a year later when it appeared in Life, accompanied by a text by Ernest Hemingway.
Even though there has been some controversy about the authenticity of the scene, Capa’s image has retained its status.
Westlicht was offering a 5 x 7in (12 x 19cm) vintage print that came from the archive of the Black Star agency in New York, which represented Capa from 1935-38.
Scientific tests have confirmed that the gelatin silver print can be dated to 1936-38.
On auction day, the unnamed buyer bid a top-estimate €120,000 (£106,195), making this the most expensive copy of the photograph sold at auction. In April 2018 Phillips, New York, had set the previous record of $130,000 (£92,860) for a print from the 1930s or ‘40s.
The sale at Westlicht took place on November 23.