The photography world has a major new collector. Saoud Al-Thani, a member of the royal family of Qatar (where he’s cultural-policy czar), has snapped up the Bokelberg Collection, 136 photographs dating from 1844 to 1939, from New York dealer Hans Kraus for an estimated $15 million. German collector Werner Bokelberg’s group of photos, which first hit the market in 1997 for $10 million, includes major examples by William Henry Fox Talbot (pictured), Gustave Le Gray, Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, and Man Ray. Matthew Drutt, associate curator of the Guggenheim, says the collection “demonstrates Bokelberg’s clarity of vision and refined sensibility – not only for which artist, but for which print to buy.” (The deal must be particularly sweet after Bokelberg’s recent discovery that he was the victim of fraud over a set of fake Man Rays.) Stephen Perloff, editor of The Photograph Collector Newsletter, says the sale “shows that people outside the traditional photo market are entering at what may be record prices for prime material.”
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