From June 27 to July 10, Bonhams is presenting Stonewall@50, an online sale of photographs celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising which heralded a new era of gay and transgender equality.
This auction of over 130 lots, with a range of estimates starting from $1,000, includes works from renowned photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Nan Goldin, and Annie Leibovitz. In celebration of the legacy of Stonewall and World Pride, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The singer says: “I’m delighted that Bonhams’ sale will help support the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s efforts to save lives of some of the most vulnerable LGBT groups in the world. It is a very fitting part of Stonewall’s legacy.”
The sale also includes a selection of photographs by Herb Ritts from songwriter Bruce Roberts. He comments: “My Herb Ritts photographs included in Stonewall@50 were not his most famous images, but his favourites, and he knew how much I loved them and wanted them in my life. After living with these for decades, I feel that the timing is now right to release them to collectors who will not only cherish them, as I did, but who will also relish the fact that their acquisitions are supporting the Elton John AIDS Foundation, especially as Herb was on their board. Herb’s photographs are everlasting.”
On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a small gay bar in Greenwich Village. The raid incited a riot involving hundreds of people, and protests by thousands over the next five days.
“Bonhams is honoured to get involved in the celebration of this momentous anniversary of the hugely important outcry,” says Laura Paterson, head of the photography department at Bonhams. “We have gathered a consequential number of photographs that speak to the theme.”