Naked Mata Hari goes on sale with quizzical Freud

Photograph auction: Fruits of businessman's unusual hobby are likely to fetch thousands of pounds

MARIANNE MACDONALD

Arts Correspondent

A remarkable collection of autographed photographs of many of the world's most famous men and women - including Freud, Matisse, Oscar Wilde and Wallis Simpson - are to be sold next month.

On offer is an almost naked Mata Hari, the notorious First World War spy executed by the French, wearing little more than an elaborate head- dress and ankle chains, a quizzical-looking Sigmund Freud, the revolutionary psychiatrist, brandishing a cigar, and a ramrod-backed Charles Dickens staring out of the window.

The rare picture of the writer of such literary classics as Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby is a signed carte-de-visite valued at $2,000 to $3,000 (pounds 1,500 to pounds 2,000) in the auction at Christie's East in New York on 17 April. Even more valuable is a large cabinet photograph of Annie Oakley, the pint-sized markswoman who could split a playing card held on edge at 30 paces, which is valued at up to $3,500.

Perhaps the best, however, is the portrait of Henri Matisse, the French painter and leader of the iconoclastic Fauves group, taken sitting respectably on a horse wearing a bowler hat ($3,000 to $4,000).

The photographs - more than 300 in all - were collected by a Boston investment property broker, M Wesley Marans.

The businessman began collecting the pictures 29 years ago after being shown an autographed photograph of the gangster Al Capone, which belonged to a psychiatrist friend. "The richness of the image, together with the intriguing signature, `spoke' to me," he explains.

He continued buying images for three decades, gathering photographs of celebrities taken throughout the world following the 1839 invention of photography.

Mr Marans has been forced to sell by the value of his collection, which he removed from his home 10 years ago.

"I have come to the conclusion that just as I have passionately enjoyed collecting and the quest, so should others have this pleasure, rather than locking the pictures in a bank vault," he writes in the foreword to the catalogue.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before