October 25th, 2012
06:03 PM ET

Iconic Afghan girl photo among National Geographic items up for auction

National Geographic has made its mark by bringing the world - in all its grandeur, beauty and horror - into people's living rooms.

Soon, some won't be limited to a glimpse from a magazine or a snippet from a TV show: They can get the full picture, literally, from the National Geographic Society as it auctions off originals of some of its  most well-known, evocative works.

The auction house Christie's announced this week that it will put up for sale "fine art from the archives of the National Geographic Society." The items will be available for viewing from December 1 and 5 at Christie's gallery in New York, then go up for bid on December 6.

The images include the June 1985 cover photo of an Afghan girl - living in a land then, as now, embroiled in violence - with striking green eyes. Seventeen years later, National Geographic caught up with the woman, then believed to be in her late 20s and living near Tora Bora, in mountainous eastern Afghanistan.

Other photographs dating from the 1880s also will be up for sale, as will paintings from artists such as Andrew and Newell Convers Wyeth.

The goal is to raise more than $3 million for the National Geographic Society, which bills itself as one of the world's "largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions" and is behind research, conservation and education efforts, as well as its namesake magazine and television network.

The society celebrates its 125th birthday next year. Over that time, it has amassed "more than 11.5 million images, many of which have before been published nor exhibited," according to Maura Mulvihill, a senior vice president at National Geographic.

"As we celebrate our past accomplishments and look forward to our new ones, we are thrilled to bring a selection of these special works of art to the public and enable them to share in the rich legacy of National Geographic," Mulvihill said in a news release.

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Filed under: Art • Auctions
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    I see sombody is still obsessed with all things banasy©.
    How lucky I am.

    October 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary St.Mary Unity

    Philip, stop that this instant! I have had it with your obsession with Donna! You have to STOP IT! I'm lonely, Philip, pay attention to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    October 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    I remember seeing that Afghan girl photo when I was a kid and thinking her eyes were so beautiful it made my heart hurt. And I just saw a follow up article a few months ago, where Nat Geo had tracked her down and had to PROVE she was the same woman as the girl in the photo, because her appearance has changed so radically. They used her irises to identify her. I used to want to look like her. Now I hope to endure like her. It's amazing how time, poverty, oppression and climate can affect people. Shes done it gracefully. Youre still beautiful, Afghan Girl.

    October 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |