Christie’s Is Selling a Trove of Photos Documenting NASA’s Missions to Outer Space—See the Otherworldly Images Here
The sale includes the first space selfie.
Christie’s is offering outer-space enthusiasts a chance to own a piece of history with its new online sale “Voyage to Another World,” which features more than 2,000 photographs from the collection of collector Victor Martin-Malburet. The 700 lots on offer document NASA’s golden age, dating from the late 1940s to the 1970s, and the landmark accomplishments of the American space program.
Martin-Malburet first caught the space bug as a teenager, when he accompanied his father, a collector and painting specialist, to an astronautical sale. The otherworldly images of lunar topography and astronauts floating in the milky way enchanted the boy and, years later, he went on to amass a trove of photos for himself.
“I’d studied mathematics and physics at university, and wanted to somehow blur the art-science boundary,”Martin-Malburet said in an interview published on the auction house’s website. “I thought of something my father always said about collecting art: look for the disruption,” he continued, “no historical moment could be more disruptive than the short interlude when people left this planet and went to another world.”
From there, Martin-Malburet set out to tell a more complete story of space exploration and achievement, beyond what the media fed to the public, by marrying archival notes and NASA transcripts with astronauts’ own photography, marking the exact time and place each image was taken (which NASA itself didn’t document).
Among the works on offer is the sole photograph of Neil Armstrong on the moon, which NASA itself didn’t even realize existed, for an estimated £30,000–50,000 ($37,800–63,000). There are also official photographs of the astronauts, of President Kennedy watching the space launch, a snapshot of Laika the dog, who the USSR sent as the first animal to orbit the Earth in 1957, and a selfie by Buzz Aldrin.
In 2019, a slew of space-related sales took place to coincide with the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and though some found success, Christie’s “One Giant Leap” auction sputtered, failing to find a bidder for its star lot, the Apollo 11 LM Timeline Book documenting the mission.
“Voyage to Another World: The Victor Martin-Malburet Photograph Collection” is presented in two parts online through November 19. See more images below.
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