Henri Cartier-Bresson's Trafalgar Square on the day of the Coronation of King George VI, London will be offered on February 26 in New York.
The print (late 1950s), which was given to the current owner by Cartier-Bresson himself, will sell with a $20,000-30,000 estimate. It represents one of Cartier-Bresson's earliest photojournalistic assignments, a field which he pioneered and in which he achieved his greatest success.
Cartier-Bresson had been commissioned by the French weekly Regards to photograph the coronation of King George VI in 1937. However, as he entered London's famous Trafalgar Square, the photographer was struck by the crowds that had amassed overnight and spent his time photographing the expectant faces, rather than the king or his carriage, much to the dismay of his employer.
The remarkable print is inscribed to Bill Stanton, who was charged with the task of reprinting and organising all of Cartier-Bresson's negatives and contact prints from the early 1930s onwards. The inscription reads: "Bill Stanton avec mes salutations empresses."
Although given to Stanton shortly after he finished the undertkaing in 1972, it was not signed until a year before Cartier-Bresson's death in 2004, having been sent to Cartier-Bresson by the photographer's US agent on Stanton's behalf.
Also starring is Cartier-Bresson's Alberto Giacometti at La Galerie Maeght, Paris, France, which is expected to bring $10,000-15,000. The photograph was taken in 1961, with the print originating from the late 1980s. Another gift, this piece was given to Cartier-Bresson's printer, Igor Bakht.