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Post-War and Contemporary Art
Morning Session

Christie's New York

10 AM, November 13, 2013

Sale No: 2792


Stella

Lot 147, "Mitered Squares," by Frank Stella, alkyd and graphite on canvas, 69 inches square, 1966

By Carter B. Horsley

The November 13, 2013 auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie's New York is highlighted by a fine Frank Stella abstraction, two good works by Andy Warhol,  Franz Kline, Isamu Noguchi and Wayne Thiebaud, a good Diebenkorn, an excellent Diebenkorn, and very good works by Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Theodore Stamos and Joan Mitchell.

The cover illustration for the catalogue is Lot 147, a 69-inch-square alkyd and graphite on canvas by Frank Stella (b. 1936).  Entitled "Mitered Squares," it was painted in 1966.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"...the effect of expanding and contracting engulfs the viewer into a mesmerizing sensation of rising and falling.  Working toward the reduction of art to its essential qualities, Stella pursued the regularity and logic of grids and mazes, which afforded him an array of lines, shapes, and geometric patterns to build on.  Owing its captivating excitement to discord between the controlled composition of the concentric bands and vibrant colors, the dialogue between the formal qualities of the strict pictorial shapes and that of the rainbow hues result in a numbing power all of its own....

"The present lot represents the perfect bridge between Stella's early and late works.  Stella's art became far more complex in 1962, when he departed from the black paintings and proceeded to examine the possibility of combining different colors or different light values within the same square format and rectilinear patterns....Where before Stella mad the viewer see the simple fact of yellow, green, red, or blue again, he now resurrected with trumpet clarity, the undiluted beauty of the color charter sequence of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet, and its light talue equivalents within analogous gradations."

The lot has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $2,573,000 including fees as do all results mentioned in this article.


Warhol soups

Lot 119, "Campbell's Soup!" by Andy Warhol, a complete set of 10 screenprints, each 35 b y 23 inches, numbered 9 from an edition of 250,  plus 26 artist's proofs, 1968

Lot 119, "Campbell's Soup!" by Andy Warhol, is a complete set of 10 screenprints, each 35 by 23 inches, numbered 9 from an editiion of 250,  plus 26 artist's proofs.  The prints were made in 1968 and this lot comes from the collection of U. S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.

The lot has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $749,000.


Warhol Marilyns


Lot 149, "Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn)," by Andy Warhol, complete set of 10 color screenprints, each 36 inches square, numbered 226 of an edition of 250 and 26 artist's proofs, 1967

Lot 149, "Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn)," by Andy Warhol, is a complete set of 10 color screenprints, each 36 inches square, numbered 226 of an edition of 250 and 26 artist's proofs.  The set was created in 1967.

It has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000.  It sold for $2,461,000.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Warhol met Monroe a few times before her death, and had avidly followed her career.  Monroe was a regular customer at Serendipity, a coffee shop on New York's Upper East Side where Warhol and his friends frequently and sold many of his drawings.  Before and even after her death, Monroe was a departure from his fascination with other 'silk-and-steel' Hollywood stars of the 1930s and 1940s, like Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich.  Monroe possessed a tragic romance balanced with a striking naivete that gave her a magnetic pull....Warhol's Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) captures the juxtaposition of allure and sadness.  The Technicolor wash over the black and white structure of her visage is applied as make-up, masking her true identity, yet memorializing her forever."

Motherwell 1
Lot 103, "Black Figuration No. 2," by Robert Motherwell, acrylic on canvas, 48 inches square, 1976

Lot 103 is a large acrylic on canvas by Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) that is entitled "Black Figuration No. 2."  It measures 48 inches square and was painted in 1976.  It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $645,000.


Motherwell 2

Lot 144, "Untitled," by Robert Motherwell, oil and gloss varnish on paper, 14 1/2 by 22 1/2 inches, 1958

Another work by Motherwell is Lot 144, an untilted oil and glass varnish on paper that was executed in 1958.  It measures 14 1/2 by 22 1/2 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This magnificent Motherwell, which features his trademark use of deep black against an ochre background, radiates with earthly warmth.  It also displays the artist's characteristic 'brilliant flair sensual relish for calligraphy....The interplay of bold and delicate calligraphic brushstrokes brings energy and movement to this work....In the 1940s, he traveled  to Mexico with Roberto Matta where he not only became entrenched in the ideas of the surrealists but was deeply affected by the earthly hues of the buildings."

The lot has an estimate of $180,000 to $220,000.  It sold for $365,000.



Kline


Lot 133, "Untitled," by Franz Kline, oil and gouache on newsprint mounted on board, 11 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches, 1950

If ome of Motherwell's oeuvre seem organic and complete compositions, the work of Franz Kline (1910-1962) can seem wild and free.  Lot 133, an untitled oil and gouache on newsprint mounted on board,, was painted in 1950 and is a fine example of his bold abstractions.

The catalogue proivides the following commentary:

"The ravishing beauty and intense emotion of these energetic brushstrokes strike a sense of awe within the viewer.  While they are historically considered a classic representation of Abstract Expressionism, also like Pollock's drips, an exemplar of Harold Rosenberg's 'action painting,' Kline's black and white paintings possess an uncanny sense of immediacy and of being in the present moment."

The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $821,000.

Mitchell


Lot 134, "Loom II," by Joan Mitchell, oil on canvas, 76 1/4 by 44 1/4 inches, 1976

Lot 134 is  a lush and lyrical field of blue and green by Joan Mitchell (1910-1962).  An oil on canvas, it measures 76 1/4 by 44 1/4 inches and was painted in 1976.  It has an estimate of $700,000 to $1,000,000.  It sold for $1,061,000.


Richter

Lot 163, "Fall (521-2)," by Gerhard Richter, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 by 27 3/8 inches, 1983


Lot 163, "Fall (521-2) is an oil on canvas by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)  that measures 39 1/2 by 27 3/8 inches.  It was painted in 1983.  It has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $2,045,000.


Thiebaud cigar


Lot 180, "Cigar in Ashtray," by Wayne Thiebaud, oil on canvas, 17 by 13 1/8 inches, 1973

Lot 180, "Cigar in Ashtray," is a good oil on canvas by Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) that measures 17 by 13 1/8 inches and was painted in 1973.  It has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $1,445,000.

Frankenthaler

Lot 238, "Tulip Tint," by Helen Frankenthaler, acrylic on canvas, 88 by 76 inches, 1975

Lot 28 is a very fine abstract acrylic on canvas by Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) entitled "Tulip Tint."  It measures 88 by 76 inches and was painted in 1975.  It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $605,000.


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