By Carter B. Horsley
The Contemporary Art day auction
at Phillips de Pury November 17, 2006 is highlighted by very good
and atypical works by Richard Prince and Christopher Wool, excellent
works by Barbara Kruger, Guillermo Kuitca, Gregory Crewdson, Georges
Mathieu, and Keith Haring, and a strong collection of Chinese
artists including Sheng Qi, Wang Qingsong, Cai guo-Qiang and Cui
Lot 122 is an appealing work
by Richard Prince (b. 1949) that has the charm of a Basquiat and
Klee with a nice tilt. An acrylic, silkscreen and conté
crayon on canvas that measures 75 1/4 by 58 1/8 inches. Executed
in 1999, it is the frontispiece in the catalogue andhas an estimate
of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $374,400 including the
buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
Lot 128 is a very strong untitled
work by Christopher Wool (b. 1955) that looks like a quickly pulled
sheet of cunieform, sort of. An enamel on canvas mounted on panel,
it measures 108 by 72 inches and was executed in 1998. It has
an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $357,600.
Lot 254 is an impressive graphite
and ink on linen by Guillermo Kuitca (b. 1961). An untitled work
is depicts the marble flooring plan of the sanctuary and part
of the choir of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. It measures
77 1/2 by 63 3/8 inches and was executed in 1999. It has an estimate
of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $57,600.
The auction has a good selection
of work by Chinese artists.
Lot 293 is a charming group
of five charcoal rubbings on handmade paper by Cai guo-Qiang (b.
1957) that each measure about 93 1/2 by 72 inches and is from
an edition of 20. The 2006 work has an estimate of $20,000 to
$30,000. The artist made the rubbings from the surface
of his "Nontransparent Monument, a nine-panel green limestone
relief sculpture that was exhibited as part of Cai Guoqiang
on the Roof: Transparent Monument on the roof of the Metorpolitan
Museum of Art earlier this year. The catalogue notes that the
sculpture depicts "scenes of post-September 11 life including
Osama bin Laden, the Three Gorges Dam, Hurricane Katrina, and
the war in Iraq. Interspersed among these contemporary events
are traditional auspicious Chinese motifs such as chrysanthemums,
pine boughs, and a phoenix and dragon duo. It sold for $19,200.
Lot 327 is a Kieferesque painting
of tanks on parade by Sheng Qi (b. 1965). An oil on canvas, it
measures 118 1/8 by 78 3/4 inches and was painted in 2005.
"After the Tiananmen incident
of 1989," the catalogue entry for this lot observes, "Sheng
Qi cut off the little finger of his left and and buried it in
a flowerpot in China before his self-exile in Europe. His iconic
photogaph of his mutilated hand, bearing old photographs of his
family and other Chines hallmarks, are now internationally recognized
symbols for social and artistic oppression. The artist's new series
of paintings, from which the present lot is featured, depicts
recent events based on images from Chinese newspapers. The Chinese
characters read 'Celebrating fifty years of the Red Army of the
People's Republic of China.'"
It has a modest estimate of
$15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $24,000.
Lot 325 is a very impressive
panoramic photograph, entitled "Port," by Wang Qingsong
(b. 1966) that conjures an epic scene by David Lean. A C-print,
it measures 21 1/8 by 65 1/8 inches and was executed in 2002.
It has a modest estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for
Lot 339 is a fine chromogenic
print by Cui Xiuwen (b. 1970) that is entitled "The Three
Realms." It measures 38 1/4 by 219 1/2 inches and was printed
in 2005. It has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold
Lot 301, "Communication
Series No. 2 (Tongue Touching Chinese Objects)," by Cang
Xin (b. 1967) is a C-print mounted with Plexiglass that measures
39 1/4 by 32 1/2 inches. Executed in 1999, it has an estimate
of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $4,200.
The cover illustration of this
auction's catalogue is Lot 130, "study for Tongue,"
by Richard Phillips (b. 1962). An oil on linen, it measures 28
1/8 by 26 inches, although in reproduction it appears much larger.
Executed in 1997, it has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It
sold for $102,000.
Lot 217, "Jacques de Mailly
au Siège d'Ascalon," is a strong abstraction by Georges
Mathieu (b. 1921) that has the calligraphic poetry of Mark Tobey
and the bursting strength of Adolph Gottlieb. An oil on canvas,
it is 90 1/2 inches square and was executed in 1958. It has an
estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $216,000.
Lot 117, "Dupont Circle
(Capital), is nice play on Mondrian and LeWitt by Sarah Morris
(b. 1967). Gloss household paint on canvas, it is 60 inches square
and was executed in 2001. It has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000.
It sold for $66,000.
Lot 418, "Untitled (north
by northwest)," is a fine and mysterious composition by Gregory
Crewdson (b. 1962) that is a digital chromgenic print that measures
64 1/4 by 94 1/4 inches. Created in 2004, it has an estimate of
$40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $81,600.
Lot 344, "Untitled (Galeria Foksai and
its artists...)," by Piotr Uklandski (b. 1969) is a 46 1/2
by 60 inch print made in 2001. It has an estimate of $60,000 to
$80,000. It sold for $156,000.
Lot 105 consists of 230 cans of spray paint
and is an untitled work by Barry McGee (b. 1966) that was executed
in 1999. It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold
Lot 434 consists of six gelatin
silver prints by Thomas Struth (b. 1954), each 15 3/4 by 11 7/8
inches, of tall buildings in the Beaugrenelle section of Paris.
The pictures were taken in 1980. The lot has an estimate of $20,000
to $30,000. It sold for $102,000.
Lot 360 is a striking and intriguing
inkjet print by Rosemarie Trockel (b. 1952) that is entitled "Woman
with Whistle." It measures 34 1/4 by 26 1/4 inches and was
executed in 2004. It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It
failed to sell.
Lot 103 is a quite jewelly
box of "Froot Loops! that is entitled "Fruit Loops."
A work by Liza Lou (b. 1969), it is plastic beads and a wooden
box that measures 10 1/4 by 7 1/8 by 3 1/4 inches and was executed
in 1996. It has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It sold
Barbara Kruger (b. 1945), who
recently had a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum
of American Art, is best known for her black-and-white compositions
of photographs overwhich are layered cryptic sayings or words.
Lots 345 and 346, "Untitled (Fear)" and "Untitled
(Pray)," are 2001 works that are much more colorful and vibrant.
They each have estimates of $20,000 to $30,000. Lot 345 sold
for $33,600. Lot 346 sold for $26,400.
Lot 220, "Brushstroke
Still Life with Lamp," by Roy Lichtenstein is a screen printed
oil based enamel ink and hand painted magna on a honey comb-core
aluminum panel in the artist's wooden frame. It measures 49 1/2
by 68 inches and was executed in 1997. It has an estimate of $300,000
to $400,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 230 is a joyful painted
aluminum sculpture by Keith Haring (1958-1990) that is entitled
"Self Portrait." It measures 49 by 30 by 42 inches and
was executed in 1989. It has an estimate of $108,000 to $250,000.
It sold for $204,000.