Over the past two decades Helmut Newton photography has had it's fair share of ups and downs. In retrospect the peaks and valleys mostly followed the market as would be expected but reviewing the stellar performance uncovers a gem for current owners and future collectors alike. Speculation in the art world has long been as mystery to many but certain collections with unique characteristics create opportunities for investors and everyday collectors not often found in the art marketplace. Newton's imagery is world famous and instantly recognized for its edgey and erotic style and the values being realized for his works today are the result of a unique set of circumstances. When Newton passed away unexpectedly January 23, 2004 in a bizarre automobile accident as he pulled out of the valet at the Chateau Marmont, the Los Angeles luxury enclave he had called home for over a decade, his work had just began experiencing discovery in the art markets as he had never focused on sales or exhibitions. This resulted in great momentum with his work's prices when he passed away but no formal arrangements with galleries or auction houses had been established.
Following his untimely death, all of his available works and rights were distributed amongst his foundations and museums to be locked away forever from potential buyers. This left the only remaining inventory the select items that private collectors and a handful of galleries has acquired up to that point. This created a set of circumstances in which his works were gaining momentum in the marketplace and all of a sudden experienced an inventory vacuum that resulted in a greatly shortened supply. Additionally, the fact that Newton only produced his images in silver gelatin format, which is a darkroom enlarging process, eliminated the potential for inkjet reproductions entering the market following his death. This one factor has greatly contributed to the steadily increasing valuations and the market confidence in his works. Explained simply, an image developed in a darkroom must be produced from an original negative or transparency therefore bearing characteristics easily identifying it from an inkjet reproduction regardless of the quality.
At the time of Newton's passing his 1980's exhibition titled "Private Property" were the only curated exhibitions he had done. While he was featured in many galleries with select images he had only produced the "Private Property" collection as a set. Newton gifted the remaining inventory in 1986 to his producer, Norman Solomon, as recognition for the work he had done producing and curating the collection in lieu of payment. This created the only collection of Newton originals available to collectors for purchase in existence. In 2012 the collection was ratified and acknowledge in a legal settlement between June Newton and Norman Solomon granting Solomon the legal rights to the inventory in whole.
Following the 2012 agreement the inventory, consisting of 16x20 and 20x24 silver gelatin prints, was introduced to the markets. The inventory has been experiencing steady demand for the past 9 years and has followed the historic price trend and values as set by Artprice, the leading marketplace expert for art values. The charts below display the average of Helmut Newton sale prices over the past two decades. For additional information on Artprice valuations please visit link below.