35, "Statue of Liberty," by Andy Warhol, 1962, silkscreen
inks, spray enamel and graphite on canvas
Review and All Photographs Copyright Michele Leight, 2012
Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York on November 14
is packed with choice works of art, including a magnificent Franz
Klein, Andy Warhol's "Marlon" and "Statue of Liberty,"
illustrated at the top of this review, beautifully lit in
Christie's galleries during the exhibition preceding the sale. Warhol's
depiction of Lady Liberty holding her torch - in multiples
- offered hope in a week that had brought an unprecedented
natural disaster to several states in America and New York City.
Reflecting the chaos inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, her torch
was unlit in the harbor as the storm surge knocked out electrical
power, plunging entire neighborhoods and shorelines into darkness, and
tragically claiming lives. This iconic painting - a gift from France
to America - was a reminder that a single event
can dislocate us from the things we value most: life, loved
ones, light, warmth, and "home." The catalogue
dedicated to this painting (these are collectibles in their own right)
includes Emma Lazarus's famous poem, written in 1883, that seemed
especially poignant as the daunting carnage in the wake of the storm
became clear. Emma Lazarus wrote:
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe
free, wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The
poem and this wonderful image, rendered by an artist who was the son of
immigrants that experienced the dark days of the
Depression, tell us that the people of this city and country
have overcome difficult times before, and they will prevail again. Lady Liberty's
torch is now lit, and the wheels of recovery are in motion. Warhol knew how to
exploit a single image - this one in complementary colors of red and
green that give it a 3 D effect - that can inspire so much.
Evening sale was extremely successful, achieving $412,200,000, just
over its high estimate, the highest total for any Post-War and
Contemporary art sale, and the second highest total at Christies. For
the second night in a hectic week of auctions, an art auction house
surpassed its own record as the highest total for a
contemporary art auction, evidence of strong confidence in New York as
the place to consign and buy important works of contemporary art.
the press conference following the sale, Brett Gorvy, Christie'sChairman and International Head
of Contemporary Art said
it was a museum quality sale: "We curated the sale around a
rich variety of the highest quality works and most coveted artists in
order to serve our broad international base of collectors in their
quest to find the next iconic work, whether it is Pop Art, Abstract
Expressionism, or cutting-edge contemporary." Gorvy referenced three
important collections that were 100% sold - The Schuloff Collection,
The Estate of David Pincus and Works From The Douglas Cramer Collection
- "that reflected the taste, experience and eye of these
Warhol's "Statue of Liberty" was
the top selling lot at $43,762,500, followed by Franz
Klein's"Untitled," which sold for $40,402,500, (a very strong price),
setting a new world auction record for the artist. Jeff
Koons "Tulips" sold for $33, 682,500, setting a new world
auction record for an outdoor sculpture. 8
new auction records were set, including cutting-edge contemporary
artists Mark Grotjahn and George Condo. Alexander
Calder's "Policeman," set a world record for a (delectable) wire
Diebenkorn's "Ocean Park," sold for $13,522,500, another world
auction record for the artist. World
auction records (for well established artists) were set for three Works
On Paper that achieved very strong prices: Jean Dubuffet (Lot 4, "La
Congratule," $1,684,100); Cy Twombly (for Lot 34, "Untitled,"
$5,010,500), and Jean-Michel Basquiat (for Lot 37, "Untitled,"
$3,666,500). Richard Serra's "Schulhof's Curve," (Lot 12), sold for
$2,882,500, a world auction record for an outdoor sculpture by the
At the time of posting this
review Christie's Contemporary Art sale has achieved $525,000,000
including the Day Sale. Andy Warhol leads their week with a total of
works selling for $100,100,000 including the results for the
first of The Warhol Foundation's "Andy Warhol at
Christie's" sale, with two more to follow.The results of this week of
Contemporary Art sales in New York is historic and good news for the
of Lot 35
Warhol was as obsessed
with the promise symbolized by "The Statue of Liberty" as he
was by Hollywood's movie stars, Campbell's soup cans, Coca Cola
bottles, and other icons of American popular culture. He was also aware
of the dark side of consumer culture, idolatry and hero (and heroine)
of Liberty" is described by Brett Gorvy, Christie's Chairman and
International Head, Contemporary Art as "his love letter from America,
to America" in the catalogue: "Poignantly, Warhol chose to
paint his Statue of Liberty as the prelude to his Death and Disaster
series, his most important body of work from the 1960s, in which he
coolly examined the dark underbelly of the American dream in explosive
Pop colors. Screened over and over again on the same canvas, in blood
red and corrosive green, Warhol's multiple images of the statue of
Liberty stand as a proud and ironic counterpoint to the car-crashes,
suicides, race riots, electric chairs, atom bombs and dead celebrities
from this greatest period of his career. Presented in sequence like
near-identical stills from a Warhol art movie, or rows of souvenirs on
a dime-store shelf, the Statue of Liberty is here as much a
mass-produced commodity of today's culture as a can of soup...Warhol
loved to stretch the boundaries between high art and lowbrow taste.
Ever since the early 1950s, 3-D effects had been popular in comic books
and in drive-in horror movies, exemplified by films like Vincent
Price's 1953 House of Wax or Warhol's own 3-D adult productions of
Frankenstein in the early 1970s. Just as today, with the massive
resurgence of interest in 3-D through films like Avatar and through new
television technology, 3-D has always been at the forefront of the
modern age. While no doubt relishing the camp, B-movie status of 3-D in
the 1960s, Warhol recognized the revolutionary nature of this visual
language in art, especially when at that time, many artists - be it
Jasper Johns or the Color Field painters - were still exploiting the
two-dimensional reality of the picture plane in their work...The
strength of Warhol's Statue of Liberty lives beyond its technical
ingenuity, which is indeed the height of cool..."
(Brett Gorvy, Christie's Chairman and International Head, Contemporary
There is an
atmospheric photo in the catalogue of The Statue of Liberty -
the ultimate sculpture - in New York harbor taken decades ago, against
a backdrop of a far a less crowded Manhattan skyline. We are accustomed
to seeing images of Lady Liberty so often we forget she has
seen so much of New York's and this nation's history since she
was gifted to America by France. The Statue of Liberty bore witness to
the arrival of thousands upon thousands of immigrants, including many
artists and collectors whose work is included in this sale, that came
here seeking a better life and freedom from oppression. Warhol
"appropriated" this image from a tourist postcard - which is
no surprise. The store
bought consumer goods that flooded America, and the psychedelic colors
of the 1960s must have held enormous appeal to a generation whose
parents had borne the scars and deprivations of the Depression and
WWII. Warhol was one of them. His Pop Art imagery
unapologetically courted the masses, celebrating America's
plentiful consumer goods, rags to riches movie stars and convenience
foods like the canned soups. For Warhol, art was for everyone and
anything could be "art." Atthe press
preview Brett Gorvy offered this reviewer a pair of "3-D"
glasses which made the multiple "Statues of Liberty" spring to life.
Warhol's is an early - simpler - version of a (film) art form that has
morphed into the 3-D we know today, writ large on gigantic IMAX
screens. The paper glasses were fun - and the fun continued
later when this reviewer discovered that the catalogue had
several "3-D" pages that "popped" thanks to the "3-D glasses" included
Lot 35 "Statue of Liberty" by Andy Warhol has an estimate upon request.
It sold for $43,762,500,
the top selling lot of the sale.
Inoue, Head of Evening Sale, talked about Lot 17, "Untitled," by Franz
Kline, oil on canvas, 1957 at the press preview
spectacular Abstract Expressionist painting by Franz Kline illustrated
above is a highlight in a season of contemporary art that includes
world class paintings from this era in art history. A delectable
example of this unique artists impressive body of work,
"Untitled" inspired an artist - and fellow Abstract Expressionist - to
write: "Who could not
be moved by his sense of push and thrust? Kline's great black bars have
the tension of a taut bow, or a ready catapult. His big paintings can
be as good as his small ones, a rare mystery in this period concerned
with the power of magnitude." (Robert Motherwell).
Koji Inoue, Christie's Head of Evening Sale, Contemporary Art,
dedicated considerable time to describing this painting at the press
preview - with justification. It is a masterpiece. The wonderful
catalogue for this sale includes illustrations of paintings that may
have inspired Kline - as the city itself clearly did - and many
photographs of the artist and his colleagues, who are now established
titans of Abstract Expressionism. There is a photograph of Brooklyn
Bridge by Walker Evans - circa 1929 - that echoes the "push and thrust"
of Kline's most memorable imagery:
"Franz Kline's white and
black pictures performed that miracle which is a constant in all major
art: he changed the look of the environment and history. His style has
that quality which rips the filters of Style from our eye. After 1950,
we started to see city buildings, bridge spans, car tracks, asphalt
spilling in cement, Velasquez, painted-out wall slogans, Rembrandt,
Punch illustrators, the signature of John Hancock, Romney's drawings,
Goya, Delacroix lions, a landscape by Courbet, or a landscape in
Easthampton or Provincetown with fresh immediacy. It was as if a whole
slice of our culture, overnight, had come to life - with Franz Kline at
our shoulder to point where to look" Thomas B. Hess
(Thomas B Hess, ArtNews Vol 61, New York, Summer
1962, reproduced in Franz Kline 1910-62 exh., cat.
Turin, 2004, pp. 333-336).
Today we take for granted that we can access just
about any image or information about a specific event or famous person
with the click of a mouse via Google
and other search engines. This was not possible till quite
recently. The catalogue for this sale offers historical context that
"Seeming to encapsulate
all the energy, drama, freedom and dynamism embodied by this seminal
decade in the history of American 20th Century Art and to condense it
into one extraordinary flat planar space, Kline's black-and white
paintings are the quintessential 'Abstract Expressionist' pictures.
Stark, raw, blunt and direct, these works, often heroically scaled, are
pure, elemental abstractions that dynamically express the artist's
complete physical and emotional involvement in his work using only the
most fundamental of painterly means. More than any other pictures from
this extraordinarily vital and creative period in history, it is these
works that best express the New York School painters' distinctly urban
and romantic sense of themselves as lone individuals caught in an
existential struggle with modern life; of their being the heroic
pioneers in a modern cultural wasteland operating on behalf of an
endangered humanity with the hope of forging a new art from the
cultural void left by World War II, the Holocaust and the Atom Bomb. As
the painter Paul Brach declared of Kline's paintings at this time, they
are "statements of an acute crisis. There is no moderation, no middle
ground, no compromise" (P. Brach, quoted in Franz
Kline; Art and the Structure of Identity, exh. cat.,
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1994, p. 37).
Lot 17, "Untitled," by Franz Kline, has an estimate
of $ 20,000,000 to $30,000,000. It sold for $40,402,500, a world
auction record for the artist.
14, "Marlon," by Andy Warhol, 1966
What a painting! Lot 14,
"Marlon," is powerful, sexy, and oozes the actor's legendary reputation
for doing things his way or not at all. Brando still dazzles
on screen and with his motorbike in this work of art. He was the king
of popular culture in his day and it is easy to understand his impact
on Warhol's generation in role in "The Wild One," immortalized here by
the artist. In galleries filled with amazing paintings and
sculpture, Andy Warhol's "Marlon" clobbered the competition with its
star power. Ralph Lauren seemed to like it. Mr. Lauren has a collection
of some of the most beautiful motorbikes every created. Like the worlds
greatest cars (he collects them too), beautifully crafted
motorbikes qualify as sculpture. This would be a very
different image without the bike.
Even as he aged,
Brando's charismatic "persona" dominated any film he was in, most
memorably Coppola's "The Godfather," which is consistently ranked #1 as
the most popular DVD sold globally.
Brett Gorvy, Christie's Deputy Chairman and International Head,
Contemporary Art, talks with Ralph and Ricky Lauren...while "Marlon"
when Warhol painted 'Marlon', Brando
had been one of Hollywood's most acclaimed actors for over a decade.
Brando first became a box office star in the 1950s, during which time
he racked up five Oscar nominations as Best Actor, along with three
consecutive wins of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He came to public prominence
for reprising his role as Stanley Kowalski in 'A
Streetcar Named Desire,' 1951,
a Tennessee Williams play that had established him as a star on
Broadway during its original 1947-49 stage run. He was also recognized
for his Oscar-winning performance as Terry Malloy in 'On the
as well as for his role in 'The Wild
One,' a role
which turned him into one of the most famous figures in popular
culture. These roles earned him financial as well as critical success,
placing him in the Top Ten Money Making Stars lists of 1954, 1955 and
1958.Brando's rise to fame had a profound effect on both the motion
picture industry as well as the wider cultural landscape. Elia Kazan,
the director who introduced Brando to a cinema-going audience in A
Streetcar Named Desire
acknowledged that Brando was 'just the best actor in the world' (E.
Kazan, quoted by T. Capote, ibid. p .54).
The American Film Institute has defined the art of acting as having two
great periods--before Brando and after--and acknowledged that while
Konstantin Stanislavski may have developed the theory of 'method
acting,' it was Brando who showed the world its power."
"Marlon," by Andy Warhol, on the rostrum in Christie's auction rooms in
Lot 14, "Marlon," by
Andy Warhol, has an estimate of $15,000,000 to 20,000,000. It sold
auction room was electrifying during the sale of "Marlon,"
with many bidders competing for it, and cameras clicking
enthusiastically. There were other paintings in the room, but
"Marlon" dominated, gazing out upon 800 people focused on his image -
bored, sardonic, brooding. Warhol would have loved the
spectacle. Of the five works by Warhol that
did well in this sale, two were in the top 10 - "Statue of Liberty" and
Lot 38, ""Tulips,"by Jeff Koons,
1995-2004. This work is one of five unique versions
Lot 38, "Tulips"
by Jeff Koons, lit up Rockefeller Plaza outside Christie's with its own
special magic and sense of fun.Anyone would want
to own them, and water them with a gigantic watering can - created by
Mr. Koons. The high chromium stainless steel with transparent
color coating attracts light, exaggerating its exquisite coloring. Jeff
Koons is a superb colorist, in the grand Old Master tradition. This
monumental installation brought back memories of Koon's "Puppy," a
gigantic, flowering shrub topiary of a puppy that was
exhibited right by the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Center.
These beautiful "Tulips" do not need trimming - by trimmers on tall
ladders - or watering, as "Puppy" did. It was fun to see it illustrated
in Christie's catalogue for this sale.
Jeff Koons said: "I
believe the way to enter the eternal is through the biological."
(J. Koons, quoted in Coles & Violette (ed.), op. cit, 1992, p.
35, in Christie's catalogue, which notes: "Flowers have run as a thematic
thread throughout Koon's career, appearing already in his Inflatables
of 1979, and came to the fore in his Made In Heaven Series in 1991
where he emphasized their sexual nature. Tulips marked the culmination
of the theme, and of Koon's now legendary Celebration series. Tulips
was created in an edition of five versions, each of which features a
unique arrangement of the colors of the flowers. In recent years, these
have become icons of Koon's work, featuring in a range of his
exhibitions and in articles about the artist. The other examples are
held by high-profile collections: one was shown at the unveiling of the
Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles Museum of Art in 2008,
while others are at the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Prada Foundation and the
Viktor Pinchuk Foundation. An exhibition copy was also created to be
shown in China and is on a ten-year loan to the US Embassy in Beijing."
(Christie's catalogue for this sale)
Lot 38 has an estimate upon request. Lot 38 sold for $33,
682,500, setting a world auction record for the artist.
Lot 28, "Black Stripe," by Mark
illustrated here represent only some gems that will be offered
in this sale, too numerous to describe in detail as this reviewer would
like to do.
"I want pure
response in terms of human need," said Mark Rothko (M.
Rothko, "Interview," 22 January 1952, in William Seitz Papers, Archives
of American Art, Series 4, Research and Writing Files, 1940s to 1970s,
Box 16; Christie's catalogue for this sale).
"Black Stripe," by Mark Rothko, has an estimate of $15,000,000 to
sold for $21,362,500.
60, "Accord Bleu (Sponge
Relief)," by Yves Klein, dry pigment in synthetic resin, natural
sponges and pebbles on board, executed in 1958
"Accord Bleu (Sponge Relief)," by Franz Klein,
is a marvellous blue lunar lanscape culled from unlikely
material, natural sea sponges, one of several commissioned to
decorate an opera house:
is one of the few examples of the Reliefs
éponges to have
been given a specific title: Accord
Klein would use again two years later as a title for a sponge relief
now in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, speaks of
agreement within the realm of the hallowed blue that was Klein's
greatest weapon in his arsenal of the metaphysical and the Immaterial.
On the reverse of Accord
Bleu, as well
as the artist's name, title and date, is a clue to the importance of
the picture. For the word 'Gelsenkirchen' is also written there.
Klein's career came to be intimately entwined with the German city, and
it was in relation to his epic mural project there that the Reliefs
éponges such as Accord
were originally conceived. It was in part the favorable reception that
Klein received again and again in Germany that cemented his reputation
as one of the greatest artistic pioneers of the post-war period; Accord
Bleu is an
important witness to this historic juncture." (Christie's catalogue for
Lot 60 has and
estimate of $7,000,000 to 10,000,000. It sold
for $7,586,500, and will benefit The Brooklyn Museum.
15, "Abstraktes Bild (779-2)," by Gerhard Richter, 1992
paintings are complemented by beautiful children in Christie's
galleries, illustrated above with Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild
(779-2)," glowing on a wall with its cross-hatch of squeejeed patterns. Lot 15 has an
estimate of $12,000,000 to 18,000,000. It
sold for $15,314,500.
"Grobe Teyde-Landschaft," by Gerhard Richter, an oil on canvas painted
in197, has an estimate of $10,000,000 to 15,000,000. It failed to sell as did another
work by Richter in this sale. However, Gerhard Richter
achieved the highest price for a work by a living artist (sold at
auction) when a painting by him that belonged to Eric Clapton sold for
$34,200,000 at Sotheby's in Londonin October.
48, "Paregoric as Directed Dr. Wilder," by Jasper Johns,
painted in 1962. Works From
The Douglas Cramer Collection
Kramer said: "I've
always felt that a drawing is the soul of the artist."
drawing by Ed Ruscha, and two paintings - by Ellsworth Kelly
and Jasper Johns - are Works from the Douglas S. Cramer Collection that
will be offered at this sale, and illustrated here. A
legend and visionary in the world of television, and especially
television movies and mini-series, Douglas Cramer's work has been seen
by millions of people. Today, made-for-TV movies and
mini-series have grown in popularity, some achieving a cult following,
and garnering many Emmys, silencing detractors that prophesized TV's
S. Cramer is one of the most successful production executives in
television history. Cramer has been responsible for producing and
developing many of the defining programs on U.S. television from the
1960s through the 1980s, many with Aaron Spelling. At the height of
their influence Spelling and Cramer's programs accounted for over eight
hours of U.S. television airtime each week. In addition to the
long-running smash hit Dynasty and its spin-off The Colbys, the hits
Cramer was crucial to developing include such memorable television
series as The
Love Boat, The Brady Bunch, Batman, The Odd Couple, Mission Impossible and Peyton Place. In all, Cramer was responsible
for the creation of over eighty television movies and mini-series
during this period, including personally producing television's
first-ever mini-series, the memorable dramatization of Leon Uris'
powerful novel QB
VII - a
program which was nominated for thirteen Emmys in 1974 and won
six...Cramer's interest in visual culture and the performing arts also
extends to the fine arts for which he has developed an equal passion.
Since the early 1960s onwards, Cramer has played an equally influential
role in the promotion, support and patronage of contemporary American
Lot 45, "Sin," by
Edward Ruscha, gunpowder and ink on paper, executed in 1967, has an
estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It
sold for $962,500.
"Orange Blue 1," by Ellsworth Kelly, painted in 1964-65, has an
estimate of $1,000,000 to $2,500,000.It
sold for $3,218,500.
"Paregoric as Directed Dr. Wilder," by Jasper Johns,
painted in 1962, has an estimate of $3,500,000
to $5,500,000. It
sold for $4,002,500.
Lot 45, "Sin," by Edward
Ruscha, gunpowder and ink on paper
47, "Orange Blue 1," by Ellsworth Kelly, painted in 1964-65;Center: Lot 42, "Untitled," by
Jean Michele Basquiat, circa 1981; Right: Lot 36, "Keds," by Roy
by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a gorgeous work illustrated above, is an
oilstick, acrylic and spray enamel on canvas, painted in1955. It has an
estimate on request. Lot
42 sold for $16,633,575, setting a world auction record for the artist.
the right is Lot 36, "Keds," a work on paper by Roy Lichtenstein that
is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh's wonderful mangled boots. However
this Pop Art incarnation of footwear is infinitely cooler: "'Keds'
is an important work which takes its place at the very heart of Roy
Lichtenstein's Pop revolution. One of only a select number of drawings
from this important period of the artist's development, it provides an
excellent opportunity to witness fiirst-hand the technical and
compositional skill of an artist who was able to turn a staightforward
and utilitarian line drawing into an object of simple beauty and high
Lot 36 has an
estimate of $2,200,000 to $2,800,000. It sold
Left: Lot 40,
"Five Deaths," by Andy Warhol; Lot 2, "Policeman," by Alexander Calder,
wire with wood base, circa 1928; Right: Lot 24, "Untitled," by Barnett
The three works of art
illustrated above give some idea of the diversity and quality offered
at this sale. Lot 40, "Five Deaths," (1963), is a gruesome
depiction of a car crash in florid orange by Andy Warhol, from his
Death and Disaster series. It has and estimate of $6,000,000 to
$9,000,000. It sold
Lot 2, "Policeman,"
by Alexander Calder, is a superb early wire sculpture that was
exhibited at Weyhe Gallery in New York in 1928 ("Wire Sculpture by
Alexander Calder," and "Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933,"
at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Musee national
d'art modern, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, October 2008-July 2009
(reviewed in Art/Museums on this site).
Lot 2 has
an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold
for $4,226,500, a world auction record for a wire sculpture by the
"Untitled," by Barnet Newman is a dramatic ink on paper painted in 1945.It has an estimate of
$400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $578,500.
Detail of Lot 33, "Eisen-Steig,"
by Anselm Kiefer, oil, acrylic, olive branches, lead, iron, gold leaf
and emulsion on canvas, executed in 1986.
33, "Eisen-Steig," by Anselm Kiefer, is an important work by the
artist, and is Property From The Estate of David Pincus, the legendary
collector and humanitarian. So many associations come pouring forth
from this gritty, tragic, yet simultaneously hopeful work by Kiefer.
Railroad tracks/tram tracks, and iron and steel were integral
to the infrastruture that supported the Nazi war machine, and all its
ensuing horrors. This painting references a photograph of railroad
tracks in Bordeaux that were comandeered by the Reich to transport Jews
to the death camps of Auschwitz. However, there is other material
referenced in this powerfu work of art that transcends the darkness:
"Kiefer's use of iron is legion:
the artist's attraction to it derives from its cosmic origin, having
first fallen from the sky in meteoric form, and subsequently forged
during the Iron Age" (A. Kiefer, "Interview with Mark Rosenthal," in M.
Rosenthal, Anselm Kiefer, Chicago and Philadelphia, 1986, p. 143). The
olive branch, laden with the Christian symbolism of peace and renewal,
gains in meaning from its association with the traces of human life, as
if the dove carries this branch metaphorically not only to Noah but to
the victims of Nazi oppression, and by inference to all mankind
suffering in violent conflict. Kiefer associates lead with alchemy, the
base metal that might be turned into iron, silver, and then into gold,
and underlies the artist's compression of materials as both an ironic
comment on the futility of the alchemist's quest for spiritual
redemption and a suggestion of an underlying hope in its efficacy...
Joseph Beuys played a formative
role in Kiefer's understanding of the illusiveness of memory and the
lessons of history and myth in their representational strategies. In
his use of materials and formal elements, Beuys had provided a
compelling precedent. For his performance/installation, How to Explain
Pictures to a Dead Hare, 1965, Beuys, in an effort to harness the
alchemical and transformative power of gold, had rubbed it over his
face (M. Rosenthal, Joseph Beuys, Actions, Vitrines, and Environments,
Houston, 2005, p.121). In Tramstop, Beuys had configured vertical
parallel lines out of elements of his installation Tramstop Archaeology
assembled in a Nazi-era building at the 1976 Venice Biennale (now
installed at the Hamburger Bahnhof and Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin), a
work that was undoubtedly an inspiration for Kiefer. Two parallel
lengths of iron, one a single-track rail line, the other an upended
shaft lie on the floor, the latter, the barrel of a field cannon to
which is soldered a cannon ball and a head of a man, open-mouthed, and
positioned on four seventeenth-century mortar bombs. 'For Kiefer, as
for Beuys, being stunned by these unforgettable German events became
the premise for his works' (D. Anrasse, "Arts of Memory," in Anselm
Kiefer, New York, 2001, p. 14). Subject matter, visual language, and
thematic reference to Nazi-era Germany was taken up by Kiefer in a
series of extraordinary parallel representations beginning the year
after Beuys' installation, which culminated a decade later in the
aesthetically compelling Eisen-Steig of 1986."
Lot 33 has
an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $1,874,500.
Lot 11, "Untitled #7," by Agnes Martin, painted in 1974
here are three works of art from The Schuloff Collection. Christie's
catalogue for this sale notes that
"the Schulof name is one that has resonated in the international art
community for over sixty years and has come to signify the passion and
exceptional connoisseurship of two of the greatest collectors of their
time, Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof:"
"My paintings have neither
objects, nor space, nor time, not anything -- no forms. They [are] not
really about nature [they depict] not what is seen, but what is known
forever in the mind" - Agnes Martin.
"Art is like a religion for me.
It is what I believe in. It is what gives my life a dimension beyond
the material world we live in" - Hannelore Schulhof
"The deeply spiritual
nature of Agnes Martin's work captivated Mrs. Hannelore Schulhof's
imagination from the first moment she encountered the work at New
York's Elkon Gallery. The two women shared a passionate belief that art
had an almost divine ability to transpose the rigid boundaries of its
physicality and connect with something deep within the human soul"
(Christie's catalogue for this sale)
"Untitled #7," has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.
It sold for $2,434,500.
Lot 4, La Congratule," by
Jean Dubuffet, gouache on paper, painted in 1962. From The Schulhof
charming work on paper by Jean Dubuffet would liven any collection,
especially one with a Basquiat, who acknowledged Dubuffet's influence
Lot 4 has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $1,684,100, a world
auction record for a work on paper by the artist.
Dramatically displayed in Christie's galleries in the exhibition prior
to the sale - and illlustrated below - is Ellsworth Kelly's stainless
steel "Untitled," circa 1987-88. Lot 10 has an estimate of
$1,500,000 to$ 2,000,000.
It sold for $3,778,500, also well over its high estimate.
10, "Untitled," by Ellsworth Kelly, stainless steel. From The Schulhof
58, "Untitled,1989 (Bernstein 89-24), by Donald Judd,a
monumental stack in copper and red plexiglass, has an estimate of
$5,000,000 to $7,000,000 and is illustrated below.It
sold for $10,162,500, a strong price for a work of quality.
Lot 58, "Untitled,1989
(Bernstein 89-24), by Donald Judd, 1989
"Ocean Park #48," by Richard Diebenkorn, surpassed its previous record
of $7,698,500 (at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale, New
York, May 11, 2011). With a pre-sale of estimate of $8,000,000
to $12,000,000 it sold
for $13,522,500, an extremely strong price, and a world auction record
for the artist.
beautiful painting is Property From the Collection of John and Zola Rex
and illustrated below:
the edge of the Pacific, in a studio hemmed in between warehouses and a
constant stream of street traffic, yet permeated with sublime light,
Richard Diebenkorn conceived one of the great achievements of post-war
Ocean Park series, named after the semi-industrial neighborhood in
Santa Monica where he worked, is a profound and intensive investigation
of the language of abstract form and became his focus over the course
of two decades, starting in 1967. The contrast between the pastoral
sounding name of Ocean Park, and the more gritty character of the
actual neighborhood, parallels the ways in which opposing tensions
structure the series on a formal level."
(Christie's catalogue for this sale)
"Ocean Park #48," by Richard Diebenkorn, 1971
below is Andy Warhol's "Knives," (Lot 74), that shares wall space with
Louise Bourgeois' powerful, creepy "Spider" from the Day Sale.
Lot 74 has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It sold for $2,434,500.
Left: Lot 74, "Knives," by Andy
Warhol, 1982; Right: Louise
Bourgeois' spectacular "Spider" is in the Day Sale
Lot 39, "Nude with
Red Skirt," by Roy Lichtenstein, is a sexy, meticulously
executed oil and Magna on canvas, painted in 1995, that will
be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne being prepared by the
Roy Lichtenstein Foundation:
"Sizzling with veiled sexuality,
Nude with Red
Lichtenstein's triumphal return to the comic-book sources from the
1960s which defined him as one of the major painters of the twentieth
century. His iconic Girlsheralded the end of Abstract
Expressionism and his return to the curvaceous contours of the female
form in the 1990s that possessed the same visual and emotional
intensity of his earlier iconic paintings, yet in these works the
artist introduced a new, more contemporary generation of female
protagonists. While still taking his cue from the comic books of his
youth, in Nude
with Red Shirt
the artist's earlier renditions of love-struck teenagers have been
replaced by confident figures that are no longer waiting for a man to
bring them happiness--they know what they want and are out to get it." (Christie's catalogue for
39, "Nude with Red Skirt," by Roy Lichtenstein, painted in 1995
for this sale includes a photograph of Lichtensteins hand "touching up"
his signature dots, one hand supporting the other through what
must have seemed like an endless process:
"In Nude with Red
Skirt," Lichtenstein adopts a subject that had long been the fovorite
of painters throughout history. From Edgar Degas' Baigneuse to Henri
Matisse's Odalisques and particularly Pablo Picasso's paintings of his
mistress Marie-Therese Walter, the voyeuristic view of a woman in her
intimate moments had long veen a staple of painting. But in Nude with
Red Shirt, Lichtenstein subverts the male gaze by introducing a famale
voyeur. Suddenly the established narrative becomes disrupted - the
woman is still the object of the gaze, but whose gaze? Who is watching
who? This type of female gaze becomes less threatening, but as a result
it becomes more sexual"(Christie's catalogue for this
an estimate of $12,000,000 to $18,000,000. It sold for $28,082,500, well over
its high estimate.
Lot 43, "'Moutons de Laine', Un Troupeau de 24 Moutons," by
Francois-Xavier Lalanne; Right: "Lot 20, "Swamp Series IV-Sunburst," by
Bo Beep is nowhere to be found: Lalanne's winning flock of sheep looked
for her in vain in Christie's galleries in the wonderful exhibition
preceding the sale. The sheep were a delight, and Property From
The Collection of Adelaide De Menil and Edmund S. Carpenter, sold To
Benefit The Rock Foundation. Lot
43, "'Moutons de Laine', Un Troupeau de 24 Moutons," by Francois-Xavier
Lalanne has an estimate of $4,000,000 to 6,000,000. It sold
Manley, Christie's Head of Department, Contemporary Art, New
York, with works of art from the Day Sale
Manley - Christie's Head of Department, Contemporary Art, New York
- chose this fantastic backdrop featuring works of art from
the Day Sale.
Christie's Chairman, Development, Contemporary Art, reviewed highlights
of "Andy Warhol At Christie's" at the press preview. The gorgeous
installation in Christie's 20th floor galleries includes many
great and reasonably priced - for Andy Warhol - pieces that will be
sold to benefit The Andy Warhol Foundation. A dedicated review of this
sale will follow.
Cappellazo, Christie's Chairman, Development, Contemporary Art, with
works of art from "Andy Warhol at Christie's," consigned by The Andy
As he negotiated 74 lots
- often with prolonged bidding wars - auctioneer Jussi
Pylkkanen maintained the same level of composure, energy and
sense of humor till the very end. Not to mention his elegantly
choreographed hand movements - especially at the conclusion of the top
selling lots. At the press conference following the sale he said:
"It was an exceptional sale. After 26 years, you stand at the rostrum
and you know it it going to be a success."
It certainly was a great sale, and a great week for the art market. The extremely strong
results show that discerning collectors will pay what it takes
to own choice works of art by important contemporary artists.
Inoue, "Head of Evening Sale" said: "I still can't believe it" when he
talked about the result at the press conference.
It is easy to understand why. At a time when the economy is the subject
of concern to many, it is reassuring to know that contemporary
art's star continues to rise.
Left to right:: Laura
Paulsen, Brett Gorvy, Koji Inoue and Jussi Pylkkanen at the press
conference following Christie's Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New