Auction coincides with 40th anniversary of Elvis’ home opening to the public and release of new biopic by Baz Luhrmann

Forty years of Graceland – Rare Photographs to be auctioned

A portfolio of eleven dye-transfer color photographs, shot by William Eggleston in 1983, of Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, will be up for auction on Sunday, May 15. The work was commissioned by the Presley estate a year after Graceland opened to the public and six years after the death of Elvis Presley. Eggleston’s approach to photography may seem like an unlikely choice but his status as a native of Memphis and his deep connections to the Memphis music scene (he was also a musician) made him a natural for the project.

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Graceland opening to the public (Elvis Presley died in 1977).  “Elvis,” a major motion picture exploring the life and music of Presley and directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, will be released this June.


The stunning color photographs are printed using the dye-transfer method, a craft-printing process that allows tremendous control over color relations and intensity.  Considered a true innovator and master of the color dye-transfer technique, Eggleston achieved fame when the Museum of Modern Art gave him its first major one-man exhibition of color photography in 1976.  Published by Middendorf Gallery, the portfolio is part of an edition of thirty-one.  The estimated price is $250,000 – 350,000.

Also of note, are an original oil painting and collage by Robert Motherwell (estimated at $120-150,000), a sought-after set of  Robert Rauschenberg screenprints from 1971, the first known self-portrait of Carlos Almaraz, a selection of rare works by Shepard Fairey, multiple works by Raymond Pettibon and a unique Dennis Hopper printer’s proof of “Lips” (the edition was never realized).  Important photography lots include works by Joel-Peter Witkin, Steven Arnold, Charles Brittin, Robert Mapplethorpe, and many others. 

Additionally, with 2022 marking the 40thAnniversary of Late Night with David Letterman, SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS is auctioning off six of the original iconic interstitial “bumpers” that aired every show.

Locally and independently owned and operated since 1984, SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS showcases mid-career and established artists of all mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, drawing, multiples and prints.  All works are vetted and scrutinized for the some of the best works available from the secondary market.

More than an auction, SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS is a much-anticipated annual event that brings art and culture lovers together for a lively day of bidding at Bergamot Station Arts Center.  Held outdoors under a tent and cooled by ocean breezes, attendees will have access to popular food trucks and the opportunity to purchase significant artworks at what are often well below retail market prices.

These works and approximately 200 other lots can be previewed now at SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS in gallery space A-5 at Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Gallery hours are from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. The auction begins at 1 pm on Sunday, May 15 and continues through the afternoon.  The continually updated catalogue along with registration, phone, absentee bidding forms and links to live internet bidding are available at

Unlike many auction houses, SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS will consider important works until right before the auction. Those interested in consigning fine artworks may contact SANTA MONICA AUCTIONS at or (310) 315-1937.