An Historic Auction: The Highest Auction Total Ever!
5, "Untitled," by Ed Ruscha, 1985, Oil on canvas, 59 1/4 by 145 inches,
Property from the Collection of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
improved the lives of countless Americans with his commitment to our nations
health and safety, from improving our public transportation, to protecting
citizens from gun violence, to ensuring that members of our military and their
families get the care they deserve," said President Barak
dared greatly," remembered Lautenberg's colleague Hillary Clinton, "and he led
12, "Baloon Dog (Orange)," by Jeff Koons, 1994-2000, 121 by 143 by 45 inches,
from the Brandt Collection;
Rear: "Mercedes Benz W 196 R Grand Prix Car (Streamlined Version, 1954)," by
Andy Warhol, 1985, Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 160 1/2 by
180 1/8 inches, from The Daimler Art
and text copyright Michele Leight,
The curtain opens on
another dazzling show of Contemporary Art this fall in New York, and what better
way to set an upbeat tone at Christie's New York than to deploy Jeff Koons happy
orange doggie, "Balloon Dog (Orange)" from the Brandt Collection, a hand-painted
"Coca Cola" bottle formerly in the collection of S.I. Newhouse, Jr., and "Mercedes
Benz W 196 R Grand Prix Car (Streamlined Version, 1954)," by Warhol, and a
pristine American Flag, "Untitled," fluttering in the breeze by Ed Ruscha,
Property from the Collection of Senator Frank J. Lautenberg, that will be
offered at Christie's evening sale on November 12.
There are serious,
awesome, big ticket items in this sale as well, such as Francis Bacon's superb
tryptich, "Portrait of Lucian Freud," Lucio Fontana's "La Fin De Dio - The End
of God," and Christopher Wool's "Apolcalypse Now," a seminal piece that
bears the nihilistic, 1980s slogan or mantra: "Sell the house, sell the car, sell
the kids," that also comes with stellar provenance. And there is a lyrical
"Abstraktes Bild (809-1) by Gerhard Richter, from the collection of Eric
Clapton, a superb Rothko, a rare Pollock, and other Abstract Expressionist
masterpieces. An early work by Donald Judd from the Collection of Robert A.M.
Stern joins this stellar cast of characters. All this and more awaits buyers in
what promises to be a dramatic sale, following Christie's spring, 2013
Post-War and Contemporary Art evening sale, the most successful in art auction
"Tis the season," as they say - and New York, this amazing city, is the
Post-War and Contemporary art evening sale achieved $691,583,000, a
world record for any auction in history, streaking past its own
world auction record this spring in New York. It was 98% sold by value
and 98% sold by lot. The undisputed star of the evening was Francis
Bacon's "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," which sold for $142,405,000, a
world auction record for any work of art.
Twelve world auction
records were set including Wade Guyton, Jean-Michel Basquiat,
Christopher Wool, Francis Bacon, Vija Celmins, Jeff Koons (World
auction record for a living artist, and for a Contemporary sculpture),
Lucio Fontana, Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd, Willem de Kooning, Wayne
Thiebaud and Bruce Nauman.
Gorvy, Christie's Chairman and International Head, Post-War and Contemporary
Art, and Koji Inoue, Head of Evening Sale, talk about Lot 32, "Three
Studies of Lician Freud," by Francis Bacon, 1969, Oil on canvas, in three parts,
each 78 by 58 inches
Some price-tags are hefty, reflecting
confidence after such a blockbuster auction. Wealthy global buyers are
getting into this game, and New York has become a special place for the art
world - and so much else, it is mind-blowing. Just walking through the galleries
of the auction houses is proof enough that this city has, and will continue, to
attract the best of everything. More art lovers are building collections.
Some collectors are creating museums to house their new treasures, many are
lending to museums and institutions, and there has never been a time when
Contemporary Art has generated so much excitement. Buyers will most likely have
to dig deep into their pockets to win the most prized works of art. So, practice
with your paddle, perfect that nod to the auctioneer, because the competition is
likely to be fierce. Beyond the money, beyond the hype, people's values are
changing. Art has become important to many more people across the world; they no
longer think art is "off limits" or the preserve of the few, as they once did.
That has a lot to do with making art accessible to as many people as
possible in the innovative and generous ways real lovers of art are doing
now. It is beyond heartening.
Detail of Lot 32
star of this auction is Francis Bacon's triptych, "Three Studies of Lucian
Freud," a staggering, life-size composition in which Bacon has impaled and
"caged" the famous artist on a minimalist background of Turner's yellow in a
firestorm of bravura brushwork. Brett Gorvy, Christie's Chairman and
International Head, Post-War and Contemporary Art, said the triptych has
been reunited after being separated for almost fifteen years, after a dealer
sold each panel off individually. The last time the three panels were shown
together was at the Yale Center for British Art, in New Haven in 1999.
Featuring Bacon's friend, confidant and rival artist Lucian Freud, this
is one of only two existing full-length triptychs of Freud. Some of the world's
greatest artists have spurred each other on to greater heights by competing with
each other, the most famous "rivals" being Picasso and Matisse, and Titian and
Tintoretto. Christie's catalogue for this sale includes the observation that
Bacon and Freud are " arguably two of the greatest figurative painters of the
twentieth century," and looking at their body of work, it would be hard to
disagree. The catalogue is filled with atmospheric photographs of them,
one taken at Bacon's studio in the Royal College of Art in London in 1952. They
were introduced by the artist Graham Sutherland towards the end of World
War II, and soon became close friends:
"As Freud later recounted, 'I said
rather tactlessly to Graham 'who do you think is the best painter in England?'
he said 'Oh, someone you've never heard of, he's like a cross between Vuillard
and Picasso; he's never shown and he has the most extraordinary life; we
sometimes go to dinner parties there'" (L. Freud, quoted in W. Feaver, Lucian Freud, exh. cat., Tate Britain,
London 2002, p. 26, Christie's catalogue for this sale)
friendship did not last, their impact on each other's art was indelible and
profound. Bacon's almost brutal handling of paint paradoxically
yields vulnerability, and exquisite painterliness, especially in the
rendering of flesh, and his best work recalls the greatest of the Old Masters.
Never happy, his subjects are alway trapped in an airless environment, a
desolate place where their tormented groans - and sometimes screams - are
muffled by the sound of an imaginary brush scraping canvas. The pigment is so
alive, so brilliantly applied, it is breath-taking. Bacon is a
Contemporary Old Master, reminiscent of Rembrandt in his unforgettable,
searing depictions of the human condition. His most memorable protagonists are
always filled with longing to break free.
Lot 32, "Three Studies for
Lucian Freud" is expected to break Bacon's world auction record of
$86,000,000, achieved in 2008.
sold for $142.405,000 to Acquavella LLC including the buyer's premium
as do all results mentioned in this article. That price was a
world auction record for any work of art!
The auction was
sensationally successful with 63 of the 69 offered lots selling for
$691,583,000 the highest total in auction history.
Left: Lot 27, "Coca-Cola , by Andy Warhol,
1962, Casein on cotton, 69 3/8 by 54 inches; Above: Lot 31, "Spider IV," by
Louise Bourgeois, 1997, bronze, 1997,
Bronze, 80 by 71 by 21 inches. This work is one from an edition of
six. Right: Lot 8, "Apocalypse Now," by Christopher
Wool, 1988, alkyd and flashe on aluminium and steel, 84 by 72
The installation above juxtaposes the work of
three artist's in a compelling tableau that illustrates the importance and
quality of art on offer at this sale.
Lot 27, "Coca-Cola ," is a
rare, hand-painted picture by Andy Warhol, (1962), that has featured
prominently in many major Warhol exhibitions. It was so typical of Warhol to
choose as his subject something that was so commonplace - everyone drank
Coca-Cola - as the vehicle for his "democratization" of art.
"At a time when international top collectors are
looking for blue-chip masterpieces, nothing is more iconic than the remarkable
hand-painted Coca-Cola by the master of Pop Art, Andy Warhol. Coca-Cola (3) is
one of the artist's earliest works which defines the Pop generation. This museum
quality work has been in one of the most important Warhol collections for almost
two decades," said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of
Post-War & Contemporary Art. "Christie's
evening sale in November will offer a unique dialogue between two masters of
Pop, Andy Warhol with Coca-Cola (3) and Jeff Koons, with his Balloon Dog
(Orange). Two generations of Pop standing side by side; Andy Warhol is the
father of everything we know about Pop Art and Jeff Koons is his anointed
successor. Both create objects which are totally universal and loved by the
public, truly POPular in that sense," he added.
27, "Coca-Cola " has an estimate of $40,000,000 to $60,000,000. It sold for $57,285,000.
in the middle, but more than holding its own is Lot 31, "Spider IV," by Louise
Bourgeois, an adorable mini-Maman, a subject that has earned the sculptor
the affectionate nickname "Spiderwoman." Lot 31 has an estimate of $5,000,000 to
$7,000,000. It sold for $6,885,000.
Continuing on from Francis Bacon's highly charged
portrait of Freud, Christopher Wools "Apocalypse Now" is a yell of epic
proportions manifested in the size and starkness of the graphic black
letters of the canvas, characterized by Jerry Saltz in Arts Magazine in 1988
as"an evil crossword puzzle filled in by the damned, the words breaking down
with indeterminate angularity into chaos and confusion. The painting becomes a
chant, a rant, a slogan, and a scream" (Christie's catalogue for this sale).
Uncompromising, shocking, this work has resonance
in every decade, as it exposes the fallout of heartlessness, embedded in the
his imposing images out of language,Wool, who draws from a myriad of sources,
turns to Francis Ford Coppola's cinematic adaption of Joseph Conrad's
Darkness, in the epic war film from
which Wool draws his title - Apocalypse
Now. Set during the Vietnam War,
Wool's chosen words, which announce a fear of imminent chaos and hartbreak are
those of Richard Colby - a special services captain on a mission to assasinate
the film's most notorious character, Captain Kurtz. Played by Marlon Brando,
Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, a decorated U.S. Army Special Forces officer, widely
believed to be insane, has gone rogue - running his own operations out of
Cambodia, he is feared by the U.S. Military as much as the North Vietnamese and
Vietcong. Yet, in Colby's own dramatic turn of events, he becomes one of
Kurtz's zoned-out zombie followers. Having 'crossed the line,' he communicates
his radical decision in an angry and hopeless letter home, hastily penciled
across a scrap of paper which simply - yet no less despairingly -
Sell The House Sell The
The Kids Find Someone Else Forget It! I'm Never
Coming (Home) Back Forget
carefully edited, Wool loops around the first three lines of Colby's letter,
creating a desperately bold and resounding statement. Severed from the final
four lines of text, Wool's painting becomes a real statement of urgency. SELL
THE HOUSE, SELL THE CAR, SELL THE KIDS is as emotionally wrought today as
it was during the paintings conception, the movie's 1979 release, and as it was
during the Vietnam War - as it has been and will be for as long as mankind holds
value in property and family" (Christie's catalogue for this
Christopher Wool drills into the kind of
insanity that derails the things we value and love most - love, family,
security. Men and women and boys serve in wars, where some cannot possibly
remain sane or call themselves human because physical training alone does not
prepare them for the mental, emotional and psychological brutality of war. And
there is urban warfare, which is a global problem. The "slogan" is still with
us, in those gritty letters scrawled on walls that speak of lives in need
of rescue, where boys and teenagers fester in gangs, killing each other, or
killing the innocent that happen to cross their path. Even love cannot rescue
some of them, they are so enraged. Wool's iconography
evokes the graffiti and the slogans that appear in some neighborhoods in cities
today, as they did in his youth in his native Chicago, which Christie's
catalogue for this sale cites as "the unhappy decades of the 1970s and 1980s
when widespread urban decay resulted in a lost generation of youth..." It is an
ongoing phenomenon, a fiery cauldron with extremely destructive spin-offs for
Lot 8, "Apocalypse Now," has an
estimate of $15,000,000 to
$20,000,000. It sold for $26,485,000, a world auction record for the artist.
Fin De Dio - The End of God,"by Lucio Fontana
I do not want to make a
painting; I want to open up space, create a new dimension, tie in the cosmos, as
it endlessly expands beyond the confining plane of the picture, With my
innovation of the hold pierced through the canvas in repetitive formations, I
have not attempted to decorate a surface, but on the contrary I have tried to
break its dimensional limitations. Beyond the perforations, a newly gained
freedom of interpretations awaits us, but also, and just as inevitably, the end
of art" Lucio Fontana
Inspired by the dawn of the space age, created
soon after Yuri Gagarin had become the first man in space (in 1961), Lucio
Fontana executed a series of thirty-eight oval-shaped oil paintings made between
March 1963 and February 1964 for three different exhibitions. Lot 19,
"Concetto Spaziale - La Fin De Dio (The End of God) (FD 24)," is lauded
as one of the best works in the artist's oevre, its copper surface
punctured to imitate moonrock or meteor,whatever then slickly
painted in copper paint "...evoking
the primary mystery of the cosmos by being holistic images, which, through the
archetypal, regenerative and mystical shape of the egg, aim to express the
beginning and ending of all existence" (Christie's catalogue for this
Fontana - as a result of this series - is
cited with Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Yves Klein and Piero
Manzoni as the first artists who sought to abolish the flatness of the picture
plane, advocating rebellion against the authority of the canvas. Fontana
is regarded by many as the "Grandfather of Contemporary art" who, with Marcel
Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, also sowed the seeds of environmental art. By
the 1960s their rebellion had spawned the Neo-Dada and Pop environments, the
happenings of George Segal, Claes Oldenberg, and Robert Rauschenberg; the Arte
Povera environments of Joseph Beuys, Walter de Maria and Christo; and the
"nothingness" or immateriality of Minimalist and Conceptual artist, like Yves
Klein, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, and - in our time - James Turrell. Taking
the painting out of the canvas was so radical, it opened the door for so much
more innovation. It changed art.
"Concertto spaziale, La fine de Dio," by Lucio Fontana, has an estimate of
$15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It sold for $20,885,000, a world auction record for the artist.
Lot 4, "Untitled," by Robert
Rauschenberg, 1965, acetate, tape, photographs and paper collage on paper, 37
7/8 by 24 inches
Ed Ruscha's "Untitled" American flag fluttering in the breeze, is a highlight
of several works of art from the Collection of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg
that will be sold at a series of sales at Christie's. The flag is illustrated
at the top of this review, in Senator Lautenberg's memory,
a fitting tribute to a
popular senator and legislator, who was re-elected four times by large margins
and was the Senate’s last serving World War II veteran when he died in June of
this year. Christie's press release included these moving accolades for a
colleague whose love of his country was a clearly a driving force in his
improved the lives of countless Americans with his commitment to our nations
health and safety, from improving our public transportation, to protecting
citizens from gun violence, to ensuring that members of our military and their
families get the care they deserve," said
President Barak Obama. "He dared
greatly," remembered Lautenberg's colleague
"and he led boldly." "Frank Lautenberg has been one of the most productive
senators in the history of this country,"
said Senator Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
as a five-term senator from New Jersey and successful co-founder and CEO of
Automatic Data Processing Inc., Lautenberg was also an ardent philanthropist and
art collector. His life epitomized the American Dream. Growing up in poverty, he
served in World War II and earned his college degree through the GI Bill, then
parlayed an innovative idea - payroll processing services - into a successful
multinational business. He served on the board of the Port Authority of New
York/New Jersey and supported several political campaigns before being urged to
run for office of U.S. Senator in 1982...Lautenberg was equally successful, if
less well-known, as an art collector, accumulating works that echoed his highly
personal vision of America: patriotic, progressive and multifaceted. He
assembled a collection of some of the best Post-War and Contemporary artists,
predominantly American, with a discerning eye, including Jasper Johns, Robert
Rauschenberg, Edward Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol. His collection also
includes works by French Modernist Fernant Leger, and mid-century photographer
Robert Frank, and New Jersey native Alfred Stieglitz..."
catalogue for this sale also includes this comment by Laura Paulson, Deputy
Chairman, International Director - Post War and Contemporary Art:
Lautenberg was a passionate collector of artists whose works capture the
complexity of what it means to be American in the 20th and 21st centuries. We
are honored to offer his collection and to share his appreciation for these
signature works of great American artists and photographers," said Laura
Paulson, Deputy Chairman, International Director - Post War and Contemporary
said Laura Paulson, Christie's Deputy Chairman, International Director - Post
War and Contemporary Art. Ed
Ruscha's Lot 5, "Untitled," is a patriotic and haunting image of the "Stars and
Stripes" in all her glory. Cinematically scaled, it is an irresistible and
imposing presence in Christie's entrance this auction season, as it would be
anywhere. There is a great photograph in the catalogue of Senator Lautenberg
campaigning in 2008, and another of him and the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in his senate office in Washington
D.C. in 2009, with this flag painting by Ruscha as their dramatic backdrop.
Illustrated on the same page is a photograph that inspired an entire generation,
and beyond: "Army soldiers raising the American flag, Iwo Jima, Japan, February
23, 1945." It is an iconic image that evokes the flag hoisted by
firefighters at Ground Zero, after the World Trade Center attack in 2001. The
American flag has been a constant inspiration and reference point for
generations of artists, such as Frederick Edwin Church's "Our Banner In the
Sky," painted in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War:
flag became a Pop Art fixture in the 1950s when artists such as Jasper Johns,
Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg began infusing familiar objects such as
the flag with irony and anti-art gestures and complicated their representation
with encrusted canvases, combines, and painted sculptures. By changing format,
color, and medium, they challenged traditional representations of blandly
familiar things. The common threat unifying all Ruscha's work is his exploration
of the common image or object and his ability to elevate those simple images to
fine art status. Ruscha, like many Pop artists, used serial repetition and often
conveyed an ambiguous attitude toward his subject matter. In Ruscha's hands,
however, this flag is no longer a ready-made symbol, but rather an object alive
with both figurative and symbolic meaning. In his portrait, 'Old Glory' blows
majestically on a strong breeze." (Christie's catalogue for this
Lot 5, "Untitled," by Ed Ruscha, has an estimate of $1,500,000 to
$2,500,000. It sold for $4,197,000, well above its high estimate.
The second work from the Collection of Senator Frank R.
Lautenberg that will be offered in the evening sale is Lot 4, "Untitled," an
atmospheric, early photo and paper collage by Robert Rauschenberg, circa
1965, illustrated above. Compelling, tragic, it holds special significance
on the 50th anniversary of the assasination of one of America's most famous
presidents, John F. Kennedy, whose handsome, instantly recognizable face
dominates the composition. This important, highly charged mixed media work
references several hot-button issues that gained prominence during the
Lot 4, "Untitled,
1965," marks the passage of civil rights legislation, first championed by
John F. Kennedy, which took place in 1964-65, carried through by Lyndon
Johnston: "Rauschenberg used a collection of mostly American icons of the time,
as an allegory of the political events, the fight for liberty and equal rights.
The most powerful images, the blue portrait of President John F. Kennedy is
juxtaposed against another black-and-white picture of the president pointing a
finger. Robert Rauschenberg's political and social views radically changed in
response to the assasination of President Kennedy in 1963. JFK became an
American popular icon, and the artist repeated the image of the president
frequently in his silkscreen paintings of the first half of the sixties. As Pop
art emerged, Rauschenberg used some of the visual language of contemporaries
such as Andy Warhol. Most importantly, among the words contained on the street
signs Rauschenberg used is the word STOP, which is verbal code to communicate
with the viewer in the same way that his images utilize a visual code. The work
of Rauschenberg is a quintessential point of reference in American art. Unlike
the artists of post-WWII movments in Europe, Rauschenberg stresses that his
inspiration and line of thinking have no social or political undertones.
However, it is very difficult not to attribute political significance to a piece
of art that uses portraits of prominent political figures or commemorative
monuments such as the profile of the Native American, which is in full color and
not in duotones and shows a dichotomy to the progress taking place in the lands
that once belonged to them..." (Christie's catalogue for this sale)
4, "Untitled, 1965" has an estimate of
$300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $2,165,000, well above its high estimate.
68, "Gray Numbers," by Jasper Johns, painted in 1959-1961, Encaustic on canvas,
5 5/8 by 4 1/4 inches
Lot 68, "Gray
Numbers," by Jasper Johns is gem, from the artist's transformative period of the
late 1950s, formerly in the Tremaine Collection:
"In the jewel-like Gray Numbers, Jasper Johns' stenciled marks
take on rare, delicate beauty. Painted in 1959-61, the work pays tribute to the
American collectors Emily and Burton Tremaine, whose early and prolific support
of the artist dates from Johns' first solo exhibition at the legendary Castelli
Gallery. Beginning in the mid-1940s, the Tremaines quietly assembled over
four-hundred works, forming a collection 'so museum-worthy that it alone could
recount to future generations the better part of the story of 20th century art"
(R. Rosenblum, The Tremaine Collection,
exh. cat. Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, 1984, p. 14, included in Christie's
catalogue for this sale)
Lot 68 has an estimate of $1,500,000 to
$2,000,000. It sold for $2,285,000.
Lot 21, "Untitled (No.11), by Mark Rothko, 1957, Oil on canvas, 79 1/2 by 69
3/4 inches; Right: Lot 37, "Untitled VIII," by Willem De Kooning, 1977, Oil on
canvas, 70 by 80 inches
wonders never cease. Beautiful pieces by Abstract Expressionists and the New
York School are an impressive part of this sale, and as these illustrations
show, the quality is extremely high. On the left is Lot, 21, "Untitled
(No.11)," by Mark Rothko, in smoldering orange/yellow hues. Mark Rothko
"I would like to say to those that think of my paintings as
serene...that I have imprisoned the most utter violence in every inch of their
Oh, to be able to take this one home! The competition will be
intense for this painting, and it will be global.
In May 2012, "Orange,
Red, Yellow," from the Pincus Collection sold for a record $86.8 million against
an estimate of $35,000,000 to $45,000,000, setting a world auction record for
Mark Rothko, and a world auction record for any Post War and Contemporary work
Lot 21 has
an estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000. It sold for $46,085,000.
On the right is Willem de Kooning's powerful
and luscious (Lot 37), "Untitled VIII," a canvas so slick with transcendentally
applied paint it recalls the artist's famous reference to himself as "a slipping
has an estimate of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000. It sold for $32,085,000.
39, ""Number 16, 1949," by Jackson Pollock, 1949, Oil and enamel on canvas, 30
3/4 by 22 1/4 inches
reviewer is such a fan of Jackson Pollock, it is impossible to sound vaguely
unbiased on the subject of his work (same goes for Mark Rothko). Let's just say
that the person who takes Lot 39, "Number 16, 1949" home is one lucky,
lucky person, and even though this will cost you a pretty packet, it is a work
of art by one of the most amazing geniuses in the pantheon of art history. As a
postscript I will add that Lot 39 was once owned by Peggy Guggenheim, and that
his wife, Lee Krasner, described his radical new technique of painting as
"working in the air 'gesturally creating' aerial forms which then landed" (L.
Krasner quoted in S. Naifeh and G. White Smith, Jackson
Pollock. An American Saga, New
York, 1989, p. 539)
It makes one wonder what Pollock would have done if
he had a light sabre ("Star Wars...."). Every one on earth and in space would
have had to run for cover. I have yet to meet a child that does not love
Pollock. That is the greatest compliment.
Lot 39, "Number 16, 1949" by
Jackson Pollock has an estimate of $25,000,000 to
$30,000,000. It sold for $32,645,000.
Lot 40, "Composition" by Franz Kline, 30 by 22 inches, oil on masonite, circa 1950
Dramatic, wonderful Lot 40, "Composition,"
by Franz Kline, painted circa 1950, an oil mounted on masonite, 30 by 22 inches,
has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It sold for $3,413,000.
Lot 43, "Woman, Wind and Window," by De Kooning, oil on enamel on paper mounted on board, 24 by 36 inches, 1950
fantastic work on paper, Lot 43, "Woman, Wind, and Window," by Willem De
Kooning, painted in 1950, is an oil on enamel on paper mounted on board
measuring 24 by 36 inches, has an estimate of $5,000,000 to
$7,000,000. It sold for $6,437,000.
Lot 45, "Black and Gray Composition," by Willem De Kooning, oil, and charcoal on paper mounted on board, 24 by 36 inches, 1948
masterpiece, Lot 45, "Black and Gray Composition," by Willem De Kooning, is an
atmospheric, beautiful oil and charcoal on paper mounted on board, measuring 24
by 36 inches. It was painted in 1948, and has
an estimate of $8,000,000 to
$12,000,000. It was withdrawn.
35, "Abstraktes Bild (809-1)," by Gerhard Richter, 1994, Oil on canvas, 88 1/2
by 78 3/4 inches
to one of the most brilliant contemporary abstract painters, and a painting
from the collection one of the most brilliant contemporary musical artists. The
masterpiece illustrated above is "Abstraktes Bild (809-1), by Gerhard Richter,
from the Collection of Eric Clapton, whose music I am listening to as I write
about this painting, created in 1994. I will never grow tired of either of these
Brett Gorvy said: "Richter is certainly the greatest
abstract painter working today. Abstraktes
Bild (809-1) is remarkable for the illusion of space that develops,
ironically, out of his incidental process: an accumulation of spontaneous
reactive gestures of adding, moving and subtracting paint. Richter's palette of
pungent gold yellows merged with blue produce a greenish sheen, while blues
folded into reds create gradations of purple that parallel textural rhythms.
Abstraktes Bild (809-1) has the sense of a full fall abstract
The rich texture of this painting is like a tapestry,
illustrated in the photograph below, with Brett Gorvy.
Lot 35, "Abstraktes Bild (809-1) has an
estimate upon request. It sold for $20,885,000.
Gorvy talks about Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild (809-1)," from the
Collection of Eric Clapton
Lot 34, "Seductive Girl," by Roy Lichtenstein, oil and magna on canvas, 50 by 72 inches,1996
The drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, painting
illustrated above is Lot 34, "Seductive Girl," by Roy Lichtenstein, an oil and
magna on canvas measuring 50 by 72 inches, painted in 1996. It has an estimate of
$22,000,000 to $28,000,000. It sold for $31,525,000.
15, "Untitled," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982, Acrylic and oilstick on wood
panel, 72 by 48 inches
The wonderful, winsome, Basquiat illustrated
above is the artist as "the man who would be king." Christie's catalogue for
this sale includes a quote by Rene Ricard, 'The Radiant Child,' ARTFORUM,
"...the crown sits securely on the head of
Jean-Michel's repertory so that it is of no importance where he got it bought it
stole it; it is his. He won that crown."
"Untitled," by Jean-Michel Basquiat is an acrylic and oilstick on wood panel. It
has an estimate of $25,000,000 to
$35,000,000. It sold for $29,285,000.
Lot 50, "Pre-Agrav," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984, Acrylic
on canvas, 65 3/4 by 59 7/8 inches.
fine and very bold Basquiat is Lot 50, "Pre-Agrav," an acrylic on
canvas that measures 65 3/4 by 59 7/8 inches. It was painted in
1984. It has an estimate of $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. It sold for $6,773,000.
28, "One Dollar," by Andy Warhol, 1961, Watercolor and graphite on paper, 18 by
to the meteor in the firmament of contemporary art, Andy Wahrol! There are seven
paintings/and/or silkscreens by the master of Pop in this sale, a winning
formula, if ever there was one. Why have only a few Warhols in a sale when you
can sell all of them at great prices and give all the Warhol fans a run for
their money? And send them home happy.
I am a huge fan of Warhol, so forgive the eulogies.
Money, the dollar bill,
is the subject ofLot 28, "One Dollar," by Andy Warhol, "a
rare master-drawing that the artist completed at the dawn of the Pop age,
executed in 1961, the year before he began his legendary silkscreening process,
this large-scale work was produced when Warhol was still painting and drawing
his images by hand."
It will take a lot more dollars to buy this
rare watercolor and graphite on paper. Warhol was a superb draughtsman. He
worked for years as a professional illustrator before moving on to his now
Lot 28, "One Dollar" has an estimate of
$6,000,000 to $8,000,000. It sold for $5,205,000.
61, " "Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Grand Prix Car (Streamlined Version, 1954),"
by Andy Warhol, 1987, Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 160
1/2 by 180 1/8 inches, Property from The Daimler Art Collection. Right: Lot 17,
"Bad Dog," by Christopher Wool, 1992, Alkyd and graphite on aluminium, 43 by 30
Cars!!! Not just any car, but the "Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Grand Prix Car
(Streamlined Version, 1954)," transformed into multiples of itself by Warhol in
1986. This monumental canvas of nearly fourteen feet tall was produced for the
Daimler Art Collection on the occasion of the automobile's centenary in 1986,
the same year as the artist's celebrated "Fright Wig" Self-Portrait, with
similar "neon" or infra-red coloring. The Cars series was his last work before
his sudden death in 1987. Christie's catalogue for this sale states that the
Mercedes-Benz W196 is an icon in the Motorcars History; it was the
Mercedes-Benz Formula One entry in the 1954 and 1955 Formula One seasons,
winning 9 of 12 races entered in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling
Moss. Warhol transforms it into an icon of Post-War prosperity and sleek
packaging. By multiplying it he also renders it less unique, while never
down-playing its supreme seductiveness. Our fascination with cars is as
inexplicable as it is alluring. There are few "objects" that the masses elevate
to mythic status with such universal certitude and irrational adoration as the
car. Warhol definitely got that.
Lot 61 has an estimate of $12,000,000 to
$16,000,000. It sold for $13,045,000.
On the left of the Cars is Lot 17, "Bad Dog," by Christopher
Wool, that has an estimate of $3,000,000 to
$4,000,000. It sold for $3,861,000.
55, "Bridge Over the Cartesian Gap," by Mark Tansey, 1990, Oil on canvas, 87 by
Epic and mythological subjects are a constant
theme in Mark Tansey's impressive body of work. "Bridge Over the Cartesian Gap"
is mesmerizing. No matter how closely you look for them, humans become almost
inconsequential, dwarfed by monolithic landscapes. In this painting, "text" is
part of the texure of the painting, an intriguing component that adds to its
Lot 55, "Bridge Over the Cartesian Gap," by Mark
Tansey has an estimate of $3,500,000 to
$4,500,000. It sold for $3,805,000.
18, Charlie, by Maurizio Cattelan, tricycle, steel, varnish, resin,
silicone, natural hair, fabric, remote control, front; Lot 53,
"Interior with Woman," by Roy Lichtenstein, oil and acrylic on canvas,
84 by 60 inches, rear
18, "Charlie," by Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960), a charming, motorized
sculpture of a boy on a tricycle made of steel, varnish, resin,
silicone, natural hair, and fabric with remote control, 32 1/4 by 36
1/4 by 22 inches, 2003, from an edition of three plus one artist's
proof. The lot was sold for $2,994,500 at Phillips de Pury in New York November, 2010. The lot has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It passed at $1,700,000.
53, "Interior with Woman," is an excellent oil and acrylic on canvas by
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997). It measures 84 by 60 inches and was
painted in 1997. It has an estimate of $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. It passed at $6,000,000.
Left: Lot 54, "Two Jackpots," by Wayne Thiebaud, 2005, oil on
canvas, 48 by 60 inches; Center: Lot
65, "Pratfall," by Frank Stella, 1974, acrylic on canvas, 129 1/2 inches square; Right: Lot 58,
"Diamond Dust Shoes," by Andy Warhol, 1980, Synthetic polymer and
silkscreen inks with diamond dust on canvas.
54, "Two Jackpots," is an oil on canvas by Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920)
that measures 48 by 60 inches. It was painted in 2005 and has an
estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. It sold for $6,325,000, a world auction record for the artist.
65, "Pratfall," is an excellent, large acrylic on canvas by Frank
Stella (b. 1936). It measures 129 1/2 inches square and has an
estimate of $1,800,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $2,853,000.
58, "Diamond Dust Shoes," by Andy Warhol is an 1980 synthetic polymer
and silkscreen inks with diamond dust on canvas. It measures 83
1/4 by 69 1/2 inches and was painted in 1980. It has an estimate
of $1,800,000 to $2,200,000. It sold for $4,925,000.
Lot 64, "River channels," by Wayne Thiebaud, oil on canvas, 36 by 72 inches, 2003
superb Thiebaud is Lot 64, "River channels," a 2003 oil on canvas that
measures 36 by 73 inches. It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to
$3,000,000. It sold for $2,405,000.
10, "Untitled #92," by Cindy Sherman, 1981, color coupler print. 24 by
48 inches; This work is number nine from an edition of ten
10, "Untitled #92," is a color coupler print by Cindy Sherman (b.
1954). It measures 24 by 48 inches and was executed in 1981.
It is number nine from an edition of 10. It ha an estimate
of $900,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $2,045,000.
12, "Balloon Dog (Orange)," by Jeff Koons (previously cited and described);
Right: Lot 29, "Untitled (DSS 42)," by Donald Judd, 1963, Light cadmium red oil
and black oil on wood with galvanized iron and aluminium, 76 by 96 by 11 3/4
Lot 12, Jeff
Koons "Balloon Dog (Orange)" is no stranger to the limelight, as it has graced
the roofgarden of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Grand Canal in Venice, and
The Palace of Versailles, outside Paris. It can be seen once again in the
photograph above - for those that cannot get enough of this doggie -
eavedropping on Brett Gorvy, surrounded by amazing works of art.
"Balloon Dog (Orange)," by Jeff Koons has an estimate of $35,000,000 to
$55,000,000. It sold for $58,405,000, a world auction record for the artist and a world auction record for a living artist.
In the foreground (right) is an important early masterwork
by Donald Judd - rare and wonderful to say the least - a forerunner of his
iconic series including the Stacks and Progressions. Lot 29 "Untitled ((DSS
42)," is Property from the Collection of Robert A.M. Stern, who is quoted in
"From the moment I saw the work, I knew of its
importance. Not because I could predict what would happen to the history of art
from 1968 on, but I knew what had happened before. I could see this was a
fundamental change, This was not Abstract Expressionism, This was not de
Kooning, or Jackson Pollock, or a lot of artists whom I respected and still
respect today, but this was something completely different."
"Untitled (DSS 42)" by Donald Judd has an estimate of $10,000,000 to
$15,000,000. It sold for $14,165,000.
On the floor is a Minimalist, iconic "100 Copper
Square," by Carl André, executed in 1968. It has an estimate of $1,500,000 to
Lot 22, Abstract
Painting," is an oil on canvas in artist's frame by Ad Reinhardt.
Painted in 1953, it has an estimate of $1,400,000 to $1,800,000.
It sold for $2,741,000, a world auction record for the artist.
Lot 36, "The 14th of July," by Joan Mitchell, oil on canvas, 49 1/2 by 110 1/2, circa 1956
36 is a superb oil on canvas by Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) entitled "The
14th of July." It measures 49 1/2 by 110 1/2 inches and was
painted circa 1956.
Detail of Lot 36
It has an estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000. It sold for $7,109,000.
Gorvy said, "Anyone who bought tonight bought with great knowledge..."
and "Five hands went up at 80 million dollars for the Bacon...The
Bacon stirred the entire international art community..."
historic auction! What an historic night for artists and for art. 12
world auction records were set - 10 records were for living artists...