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Personal collection of world-renowned photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt to be auctioned off in Colchester

Photographs taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt - Sir Winston Churchill

Photographs taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt - Sir Winston Churchill

Archant

A collection of unique prints by a world-famous photographer who pictured some of the biggest political figures of the 20th Century will go under the hammer at a Colchester auction house this week.

Who was Alfred Eisenstaedt

Alfred Eisenstaedt was born in Germany in 1898, and became a professional photographer in 1929.

His career was just beginning to take off when he was forced to flee Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany.

In 1935 he emigrated to New York, and the following year joined the founding team of Time magazine.

During his 36-year career his work featured on 90 covers, with more than 2,500 photo stories published.

Perhaps his most iconic image is that of an American sailor kissing a woman in a white dress in Times square on VJ Day, an image most people would recognise.

Eisenstaedt died in 1995, with his last assignment photographing the Clintons in 1993.

The 15 photographs were taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt and are part of his personal collection – with each inscribed by the Time magazine photo-journalist with who is pictured in them.

One of the images, which captures an intimate moment between John F Kennedy and his wife, has also been signed by the two subjects.

The collection, which came to his heirs, was uncovered at a valuation day at Reeman Dansie.

Other photograph subjects include Sir Winston Churchill, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Emperor Haile Selassie.

Photographs taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt - Hlilary and Bill Clinton with daughter Chelsea, taken in 1993Photographs taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt - Hlilary and Bill Clinton with daughter Chelsea, taken in 1993

David Wright, auctioneer and valuer at Reeman Dansie, said: “Usually this calibre of photographs is associated with international auction houses, New York, Paris and London, so we are really excited to be selling these.

“We see everything at valuation days, and when something a bit more special like this comes in everyone downs tools and has a look.

“His life span covered quite an important period of time, and he documented it during his prolific career.

“Even people who have not heard his name would know his images, and we are honoured to handle his work.

Photographs taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt - Jackie and John Kennedy (right)Photographs taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt - Jackie and John Kennedy (right)

“He always tried to capture people out of a pose and would really get to know his subjects. Especially with the Kennedy photos, he is more than just doing a job, he is capturing a human side.

“The fact these are from his own estate, photographs he himself chose to hang on to and likely considered his best or most important work, is incredible.”

There has been international interest in the collections, which has been estimated to fetch a total of £15,000 – though Mr Wright said the images could go for much more.

Mr Wright added that while photograph sales factored in provenance such as when the print was made and its closeness to the image being taken, “it may be he made a conscious decision to go into his ark room and print these at a later date for his personal collection”, which could in itself add value.

The collection goes under the hammer at a Fine Art and Antiques sale to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday with previews today from 9am-1pm, Monday from 9am–6pm and on the mornings of the sale.

Also in the sale is a rare Chinese jade carving, estimated between £10-15,000 an Egyptian painted wooden tomb carving, and an oil sketch of The Queen by royal portait artist Richard Stone.

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