A copy of the well-known photograph Death of a militiaman, of the famous photojournalist Robert Capa and one of the most legendary snapshots of the Spanish Civil War, has been auctioned this Friday for 144,000 euros in the photo gallery Westlicht in Vienna (Austria). "It was the photograph that reached the highest price so far in the history of the gallery," explained Stefan Musil, spokesman for Westlicht, confirming the sale. The copy, dated between 1936 and 1937, is one of the few original prints that are known about the so-called The Falling Soldier.
The image had a starting price of 60,000 euros and the amount reached far exceeded the expectation that had been proposed by the gallery, whose experts had previously assessed between 100,000 and 120,000 euros. The piece came from the Black Star archive in New York and was probably made by Capa himself, shortly after he took the photograph.
It is considered "one of the most important images of war of all time and is considered a symbol of the fight against fascism," the gallery said in a statement. The recording reflects the moment in which the anarchist Federico Borrell García dies because of a shot in a sunny spot of Cerro Muriano, near Córdoba, on September 5, 1936.
The snapshot, in which the militiaman appears falling back with a stretched arm while his hand slides a rifle, is an icon of the Civil War, which lasted for three years (1936 to 1939). The work of the legendary photographer of Hungarian origin, made from a trench, was published for the first time on September 23, 1936 in the French magazine Vu.
Robert Capa, whose real name was André Friedmann, covered numerous armed conflicts, among which stand out, besides the Civil War, his images of the Allied landing of Normandy during world war II. In 1947, Capa, together with four other photojournalists, founded Magnum, the first cooperation agency for independent photographers.