A selection of photos from actor Richard Gere’s personal collection is being offered at auction through Christie’s and the value of the collection carries a low estimate of nearly $2 million.
The Photographs From the Richard Gere Collection is comprised of 156 photos that include works that span the history of the medium and include photos ranging from those taken by 19th-century masters Gustave Le Gray and Carleton Watkins, to recognized early 20th-century figures such as Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, and Alfred Stieglitz, through notable contemporary photographers including Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Herb Ritts. Christie’s says that many of the works were acquired directly from the artists, whom Gere counted among his close friends.
“These photographs arrived in my life because I felt something for them. They have a real soul, a humanity, a generosity — it doesn’t matter what the technique is,” Gere says of his collection.
“You know, you listen to an early recording of a great opera singer from 1902, when they just started recording — it’s scratchy, it’s trebly. But the quality of that voice, the soul of the voice, it still hits you hard in your heart. Most of the photographers here are not that interested in technique. And the ones that are interested in technique were coming from a deep, personal place, with a point of view, and understanding of the universe.”
Christie’s International also conducted an interview between its Head of Photographs, Darius Himes, and Gere where the actor discusses the collection and what they mean to him.
“Honed by years both in front of and behind a camera, Gere’s passion for image-making and collecting is on full view in this wonderfully diverse collection,” Himes says.
“In the late 1970s, his interest in photography was strengthened through his friendship with the late fashion photographer Herb Ritts, who inspired him to dive deeper into the history of photography. Since then, he has collected across genres and time. On display are highlights from the collection signifying a reflection of his time spent in New York and Los Angeles, his admiration of 19th and 20th-century photographers, and the friendships he made along the way.”
“Among the many highlights in the sale are emotionally charged works by Diane Arbus, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Sally Mann. These works resonate with theatrics and drama; the images are challenging while maintaining a sense of delight,” Himes adds.
“Being an actor, my basic tool is emotions,” Gere says. “So I think most of the pictures that I respond to have the suggestion of a story or a flicker of the mystery.”
The online auction is live through April 7, 2022.
Image credits: All photos are individually credited and provided courtesy of Christie’s International.