Bruce Davidson is an American photographer behind some of the most poignant images of the South Wales coalfields committed to film. A portfolio of 10 photographs by Davidson, each signed in pencil, and with the portfolio stamp will now be auctioned off at Sotheby's New York on 6th April.
The images come from one of 75 separate portfolios that were made in the early ’80s when they were exhibited at a gallery in Chicago. Fifteen of these portfolios produced by the gallery went to Davidson, meaning 60 should still be floating around.
The National Library of Wales and the National Museums and Galleries of Wales (NMGW) are now in talks about whether to bid when copies of the images go on sale at Sotheby’s early next month. Though the lots on sale are just one of 75 sets of copies, they are expected to fetch up to $10,000.
Russell Roberts, a reader in photography at the University of Wales, Newport, said the portfolio is “probably the most distinctive photographic project on Wales in the post-war era”. Roberts, a former head of photography at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, said the collection is more significant than Robert Frank's or Eugene Smith's Welsh work.