Car Crash (Double Disaster)," that leads Sotheby's Contemporary art
evening sale in New York, and iconic "Liz #1 (Early Colored
Liz)," a 1949 painting by Barnett Newman, a winsome Basquiat, and
recent innovations by artists
working today, were some of the highlights that
lit up their galleries this fall, jewels in the crown of
the dazzling show Contemporary art auctions in New York have become.
There is important art on offer this auction
season, after record prices achieved for contemporary art in
spring. Some of the pricetags are hefty, reflecting confidence in the
Contemporary art market as more of the
world's wealthiest collectors compete for rare or prized pieces. This
is now a global quest. The
most confident collectors know what they want and they will go after
it. This time around they
may have to dig deeper into their pockets to
win their prizes, and New York - this amazing city - is
26, "Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)," by Andy Warhol, 1963, acrylic and
silkscreen ink on canvas, 40 by 40 inches
Contemporary works of art this
season have price tags of, or in excess of, $20,000,000. A
luscious De Kooning, painted
in 1975, Lot 30, "Untitled V," has an estimate of $25,000,000 to
$35,000,000; Lot 28, "By Twos," and important and beautiful painting by
Barnett Newman, circa 1949, from the
collection that was loaned to the major 1972 Tate retrospective, has an
estimate of $18,000,000 to $25,000,000.
The choicest lots, like Lot 16,
Car Crash (Double Disaster)," by Andy Warhol, has an estimate in the
region of $80,000,000.
"Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)," is a depiction of a fatal car
crash from the artists important "Death and
Disaster" series, culled from a
newspaper clipping, and rendered in silver and black. It is an unusual
composition for the artist, who left half of it blank and sprayed it in
silver, which adds to its edgy-ness. Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's
Worldwide Head, Contemporary Art, said "the work is so rare, how do you
put an estimate on it?"
is the only one of four Warhol Car Crash silkscreens remaining in
private hands. So fasten your seatbelts. Anything can happen. It sold for $105,445,000, including the buyer's premium as so all results mentioned in this sale. Its
pre-sale estimate was "in excess of $60 million" and bidding opened up
at $80 million. The price was a new world auction record for
Warhol and the second highest price ever paid at auction for a work of
contemporary art. It was one of four in his Death and Disaster
series and the only one remaining in private hands. The sale
total was $380,642,000, the highest ever total for a Sotheby's
auction, beating the $375,149,000 set a year ago. The pre-sale
estimate was $280.7 million to $394.1 million. In addition to
Warhol, artists records were set for Cy Twombly, Martin Kippenberger,
Brice Marden and Mark Bradford. The Dia Art Foundation consigned
several works to the auction and the foundation's founders withdrew a
lawsuit seeking to stop their sale shortly before the auction and the
Dia works totalled $38.4 million. They had been estimated to
fetch between $19.1 million and $25.6 million. The top Dia lot
was "Poems to the Sea, which sold for $21,669,000, way over its $8 million pre-sale high estimate.
30, "Untitled V," by Willem d Kooning, 1975, oil on canvas, 70 by 80
28, "By Twos," by Barnett Newman, 1949, oil on canvas, 66 1/4 by 16
inches. 1949 paintings by Barnett Newman are in the collections of The
Museum of Modern Art (Onement III and Abraham); The Metropolitan Museum
of Art (Concord); The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
(Dionysius); The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian
Institution, Washington D.C. (Covenant); The Whitney Museum of American
Art (The Promise); The San Francisco Museum of Art (Untitled 2); The
Menil Collection (Houston)
was energizing to be face to face with several Warhols:
"Silver Car Crash
(Double Disaster)," Lot 26, "Liz #1 (Early Colored
Liz)," Lot 21, "Flowers (Five Foot Flowers)," and another
Disaster" series painting, Lot 34, "5 Deaths On Turquoise (Turquoise
Disaster)." Where else can this happen except in New
York? It was pelting with rain outside, but who cared, with this
There are those that are dismissive of Warhol as a painter
of prosaic flowers, and glittery pink stillettoes - fun, for sure - but
had a serious side, which manifested in his "Death and
Series," the flip side of his seemingly unapologetic adulation of
American consumerism, which played out in the endless silkscreens of
Brillo boxes, Campbells soup cans, and wonderful Coca-Cola bottles. Confronting
and "processing" the gruesome reality of the subject of Lot
Deaths On Turquoise (Turquoise Disaster)," is not easy. This tragic
memorial to five lives
that ended abrubtly and violently in a car crash is a head on collision
our own mortality. Warhol wanted to freeze
that, instead of passing it by, as many of us do when we see such
tragic images. Viewing death in this unfiltered way helps explain his
almost childlike flowers, the brightly packaged, enticing merchandise,
and the glittery stillettoes made for dancing and
fun, enjoy every moment, the artist seems to say, because life is
Warhol's own life ended abrubtly and unexpectedly after a routine gall
Lot 26, "Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)," has an estimate of $20,000,000 to
$30,000,000. It sold for $20,325,000.
Lot 34, "5 Deaths on Turquoise (Turquoise
Disaster)," has an estimate of $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. It sold for $7,333,000.
Lot 21, "Flowers
(Five Foot Flowers)," has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000. It sold for $11,365,000.
"Green Car Crash (5 Deaths On Turquoise)," by Andy Warhol, 1963,
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 30 by 30 inches
21, "Flowers (Five Foot Flowers)," by Andy Warhol, 1964, Acrylic and
silkscreen on canvas, 60 by 60 inches; Right Lot 14, "Candy Andy," by
Chamberlain, 1963, Painted and chromium plated steel, 37 1/8 by 33 1/2
Few know that Warhol
was spiritual, and devout. He said the rosary, with its beads
and repetitious prayers, every day. An excerpt from John
Richardson's "The Eye of the Storm: Warhol and Picasso," from an
interview with Tobias Meyer, New York, October 2013, in Sotheby's
catalogue for this sale, offers further insights:
"I see Andy always at the Eye of the Storm. The Eye
of the Storm where there is stillness, and all around is disaster. Here
was Andy at the center of all this horror: the horror of modern life.
Yet Andy was unaffected. He felt this, he sensed this, but he wasn't
one of the victims of it. By virtue of being in the Eye of the Storm he
could see it. And he transmitted his feelings into these amazing
images...When I gave the eulogy at Andy's funeral I stressed the fact
that Andy was a Catholic who went to mass every single day of his life.
So much of his work, including the Disaster paintings, comes out of
that. The whole repetition of Andy's imagery stems from the fact that
he was Catholic. He went to church, he went to confession, he had to do
ten Hail Marys, twenty Ave Marias, and all this is reflected in the way
his imagery is repeated again and again and again..."
is a straightforward explanation for Warhol's fascination with
"multiples," from someone who knew him well. He also drew inspiration,
and acquired his subjects from tabloids and newspapers that
were read by
"For Warhol, tabloid papers were either vehicles for
mass disaster, rendering tragic cirucmstances almost mundane by their
commonplace repetition, or the purveyors of celebrity and fame to an
avid audience. In figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and
Jacqueline Kennedy, Warhol found the ideal subjects that combined both
aspects of the mass media culture where accessibility turned private
tragedy into public myth. By isolating and then serializing such
images, Warhol began the practice of essentially commodifying
celebrity, just as he had earlier catalogued the darker side of life
with his various images of car crashes, race riots and electric chairs.
This, in turn, would affect a later generation of artists, most notably
Jeff Koons, whose work seems to celebrate the Warholian process of
'commodification'" (from Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)
Chamberlain's Lot 14, "Candy Andy," illustrated above with
"Flowers (Five Foot Flowers)," has
an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $4,645,000.
This is one of three
Chamberlains being offered in this sale, together with Cy Twombly's
"Poems to the Sea," Property From Dia Art Foundation Sold To
Fund for Acquisitions.
Rotter, Sotheby's Head of Contemporary Art, Americas talks about Lot
10, "Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers)," by Jean-Michel Basquiat,1982, Acrylic, oilstick,
crayon, paper collage and feathers on joined wood panels, 96 1/2 by 90
of Lot 10, "Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers)"
influence resonates in nations that are currently
experiencing unprecedented growth after decades when the majority of
their people suffered deprivation and
Warhol knew what it felt like not to have all the
things we take for granted today, because his parents lived through the
Depression, and he grew up poor. He wanted everyone to have their
labor-saving, "almost-ready-to-serve" soup, straight out of a
can, a luxury for the masses when they first appeared on
shelves. He also wanted the masses to have access to art. Both were
to him. He did not necessarily give one more importance than the
other, a radical idea at the time.
vision of art for everyone is becoming more possible than even he might
have anticipated. Today, more collectors are appropriating his
idea, making art accessible
masses in their own way - by beginning collections, building museums to
house them, and lending their art to institutions and museums.
a shift in values. Art was once the preserve of the few, the elite. The
more people have access to art, the more they
seem to grasp its meaning, or love it, or need it - or connect to whatever
art means to them. Many more people have come to value it.
rational explanation for the prices achieved for Contemporary works of
It is propelled by something deeper, especially as we grow more
technologically dependent, and less interactive with each other.
"Abstract" art - such as the Abstract Expressionists and The New York
School - also has global appeal because its imagery and iconograpy is
intended to be universal. That was what the artists wanted. Today,
anyone can relate to it, wherever they live in the
world: Mark Rothko being the most obvious example.
have also been influenced by Warhol, most notably Jeff Koons, Martin
Kippenberger (in Europe) and Jean-Michel Basquiat, even though they
themselves in very different ways. Jean-Michel
Warhol collaborated on monumental paintings, and Kippenberger
Koons often deploy epic or billboard proportions. A gorgeous, powerful
piece, Lot 10, "Untitled
(Yellow Tar and Feathers)" by Basquiat, (illustrated), was exhibited at
Larry Gagosian in Los
Angeles in 1982, soon after the artist's first one-person show in the
United States, in New York City. It was acquired by the present owners
from that exhibition. This is the first time it has appeared on the
market in over 30 years.
Lot 10, "Untitled (Yellow Tar and Feathers)," has an estimate
of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It sold for $25,925,000.
8 "Untitled," by Martin Kippenberger, 1981, Acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4
by 118 inches
8, "Untitled," by Martin Kippenburger, is a deceptively slick, sexy
painting, a self-portrait with serious
undertones from his "Lieber Maler, Male Mit" series, ("Dear Painter,
Paint For Me"). Proclaiming he was not an
"easel kisser," the artist delegated the painting itself to Werner, a
painter of film posters, to his specifications and vision, on a scale
of billboard proportions practiced by well-known German artists at the
time, like Richter and Sigmar Polke. Incorporating posters
commemorating 30 years since the existence of East Germany - with the
dismantling of the Berlin Wall - on a backdrop of a souvenir
shop, Kippenberger slyly referenced the tourist industry's exploitation
of Eastern bloc fascination in 1980s Berlin. Born in Dortmund in 1953,
the artist had no romanticized ideas about this chapter in German
history, because he had lived in Berlin from 1978, and had experienced
the tensions within the city and country at that time. From 1961 to
1989 the Berlin Wall divided Communist East Berlin from West Berlin -
one part was ruthlessly repressed, the other liberated.
The "Midnight Cowboy," American-ness, of this painting is
is also an inherent exquisite irony in the presentation of Untitled as
a self-portrait once the conditions surrounding the creation of the
Lieber Maler, Male Mit are taken into account. Kippenberger stands
nonchalantly in front of a seemingly abandoned Berlin souvenir stand,
between the East German DDR emblems and presumably in the shadow of the
Berlin Wall, apeing the style and pose of a cowboy in his Stetson hat
and fur-adorned coat. The choice of attire and the word 'Souvenirs,'
prominently displayed above Kippenberger's head, indicates a commentary
on the pervasiveness of American consumerism, obliquely connecting
Untitled with the earlier work of Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol and
Claes Oldenburg, as well as to Richard Prince's renowned Cowboy series, which
arose from Marlboro Man advertisements in the early 1980s." (Sotheby's
catalogue for this sale)
Lot 8," Untitled," by Martin Kippenberger, has an estimate of
$6,000,000 to $8,000,000. It sold for $6,437,000.
38, "Untitled (Bernstein 81-83)," by Donald Judd, stainless steel and
blue Plexiglas, in four parts, each 19 5/8 by 39 1/4 by 19 5/8 inches,
22, "A.B. Courbet," by Gerhard Richter, 1986, oil on canvas, 118 1/8 by
98 3/8 inches
38, "Untitled (Bernstein 81-83), is a large stainless steel and
blue Plexiglass sculpture in four parts by Donald Judd (1928-1994).
Each part measures 19 5/8 by 39 1/4 by 19 5/8 inches.
The work was created in 1981. It has an estimate of
$3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It sold for $2,925,000.
technical virtuosity of Gerhard Richter's "A.B. Courbet" is matched by
its phenomenal beauty, as riffs of color mingle and collide with
startling precision. A squeegee is hardly a reliable tool with which to
compose a painting, but Richter deploys it like an alchemist and a poet:
Richter himself declares, 'There is no more that I can do to them, when
they exceed me, or they have something that I can no longer keep up
with'" (Exh. Cat., Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Gerhard Richter: Paintings, 1988,
p. 108, cited in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)
Lot 22, "A.B. Courbet" has an estimate of
$15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It sold for $26,485,000, the third highest price at auction for a Richter.
12, "The Attended," by Brice Marden, 1996-9, Oil on canvas, 82 by 57
12, "The Attended," by Brice Marden, is a beautiful, sinuous painting
that invites contemplation. It is a painting you want to live with
forever and look at all the time. It is impossible to tire of it.
lot has an estimate of $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. It sold for $10,917,000.
44, "1960-F," by Clyfford Still, 1960, oil on canvas, 112 by 144 1/2
inches, background; front: Lot 51, "Agricola XII," by David Smith,
1952, Steel, 32
by 24 by 4 5/8 inches
44, 1960-F," by Clyfford Still, has been widely exhibited and
written about. Disenchanted with the commercial art world, he left the
art galleries and his fellow artists behind a year before he painted
this compelling, atmospheric work in the peace and solitude of the
Maryland countryside. Still was always his own person, one of a kind,
even though he was in the vanguard of Abstract Expressionism, and a
critical player in a
legendary group of American artists whose influence and impact cannot
be quantified. Rothko and Barnett Newman were close friends, and he
shared with them the pursuit of the sublime:
painting should - above all else - be a pure and singular totality that
could speak to the soul and address universal themes of life, death,
freedom and oppression that were the very essence of philosophical
discourse in the post-war world at mid-century. His credo, as it
applied to the viewer and to his conception of the role of the artist,
is perhaps best summarized in his own words, 'I want the spectator to
be reassured that something that he values within himself has been
touched and found a kind of correspondence. That being alive, having
courage, not just to be different, to go your own way, accepting
responsibility for what you do best, has value, is worth the labor."
(Excerpted in Dean Sobel Anfam, Clyfford
Still: The Artist's Museum, New York, 2012, p. 101, cited
in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)
Lot 44, "1960-F," has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It was withdrawn.
51, "Agricola XII," by David Smith, has an estimate of $1,200,000 to
$1,800,000. It sold for $1,205,000. It is described as part of an installation illustrated
29, "Genesis - The Break," by Barnett Newman, 1946, Oil on canvas, 24
by 27 1/8 inches
purist, non-conformist, deeply spiritual, independent and a huge
influence on the trajectory of art after World War II, Barnett Newman
was not content to look back at art history and what had gone before.
He, like Clyfford Styll, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottleib,
Willem de Kooning and all the groundbreakers that became known as the
Abstract Expressionists and The New York School, wanted to
celebrate the art of their own time. That art happened to be American,
although many of these artists had strong European, Russian and other
roots. Some had fled war torn countries, and persecution, and found
refuge in America, or their art might not be with us today. Lot 29,
"Genesis - The Break," a rare and moving painting - circa 1947 - by
Newman preceeds his now iconic "strips" and "zips." It has been so
widely written about, the cititations occupy two full pages of
Sotheby's catalogue for this sale. That is because "Genesis - The
Break" is also a survivor, for a very different reason:
"Genesis - The Break
is the third painting recorded in the artist's catalogue raisonne, as
Newman destroyed all of his artistic efforts prior to 1944. Throughout
his career Newman remained steadfastly fixated on performing his
creative act freely, ultimately developing a groundbreaking style that
enabled him to achieve his goal. He felt an inescapable need to
liberate painting from its formal preconditions and conventional
properties as an object. Thus he abandoned as many established devices
of presentation and composition as he could identify. In an interview
in 1963, Newman confirmed the consistency of his artistic project,
almost twenty years after creating his first preserved paintings,
stating: 'I want my painting to separate itself from every object and
from every art object that exists.' (the artist in a statement prepared
for an interview with Lane Slate and aired by CBS, March 10, 1963."
(Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)
Lot 29, "Genesis - The Break," has an estimate of $3,500,000 to
$4,500,000. It sold for $3,637,000.
Lot 25, "Malaprop," by John Chamberlain, 1969, Galvanized steel, 23 5/8
by 22 1/4 by 14 inches; Center: Lot 24, "Atlantic Side," by Joan
Mitchell, 1960-61, Oil on canvas, 87 1/4 by 84 1/4 inches; Right: Lot
51, "Agricola XII," by David Smith,
1952, Steel, 32 by 24 by 4 5/8 inches
the center of the installation illustrated above is Lot 24, "Atlantic Side,"
a powerful painting by Joan Mitchell created in 1960-61. Sotheby's
catalogue for this sale cites its importance in the context of its time:
in 1960-61, the present work is an indisputable demonstration of the
artist's uninhibited confidence and bravura among what was perceived at
the time to be a male dominated exercise in painting, as such, it is
not surprising that Atlantic Side was selected as the sole painting
exhibited by Mitchell in the important exhibition Abstract
Expressionists and Imagists, held at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
in 1961. Shown alongside the work of the legendary male artists of the
New York School, the present work signified Mitchell's acceptance as a
member of this elite generation of painters. A brilliantly executed and
gorgeously raw exemplar of the artist's oevre, Atlantic Side retains
the same overpowering immediacy and emotional potency today as it
surely did while hanging on the walls of the Guggenheim museum in the
year immediately following its creation."
Lot 24, "Atlantic Side," has an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000. It sold for $6,885,000.
Chamberlain's (Lot 25), "Malaprop," created in 1969, is a wonderful,
monochromatic galvanized steel sculpture (illustrated on the left),
originally in the collection of Leo Castelli, and O.K. Harris, among
other important collectors and gallerists. It is one of
the Works from
Dia Art Foundation that will be Sold To Establish a Fund For
Lot 25 has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $845,000.
The steel sculpture on the right is Lot 51, "Agricola XII," by David
Smith (previously illustrated with the Clyfford Still),
a superb sculpture of restrained proportions, considering his later
work. An important member of the Post War generation of artists that
founded the New York School and Abstract Expressionism, Smith forged
innovative sculpture that - like this piece - was radical for its time:
"With his mature works of the 1950s, such as Agricola XII,
1952, Smith arrived at his own artistic apex. Agricola XII belongs to
the series of seventeen sculptures that defines this seminal moment in
Smith's oeuvre; this is the first series explicitly grouped
titled by the artist, thus inaugurating a method that mapped a powerful
trajectory for the rest of his career, culminating in his final great
series, the Cubi.
family groups of sculptures were both organizational and inspirational
as each series developed its own vocabulary or aesthetic relationships
and principles. In this instance, Agricola
is abstract but still rooted in the experience of an earthly existence,
embodying Smith's elegant command of a sculptural form whose references
move among abstraction, Cubism, Surrealism and even drawing."
Lot 51, "Agricola XII," by David Smith, has an
estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for $1,205,000.
Lot 11, "On the Corner," by Christopher Wool, 1999, enamel on canvas,
108 by 72 inches; Right: Lot 9, "Untitled," by David Hammons, 2009,
silver paint and mixed media on canvas, overall dimensions 110 3/4 by
"Woman," by Willem de Kooning, 1972, Oil on canvas, 39 1/2 by 36 inches
Wool's Lot 11, "On the Corner," is a beautifully
inscribed constellation of black dots, elegant squiggles, and
interlocked circles that form an almost lace-like pattern on the stark
For those that need proof of Pop Art and Abstract Expressionisms
influence on future generations of artists, here is a perfect example,
it is deliberately and cleverly "de-constructed." Jackson
Pollock, automatic writing, Zen painting, Brice Marden, and even Juan
Miro, come to mind when viewing Wool's "On the Corner," whose
actually "stamped out" and not painted at all - evoking Warhol's
silkscreens which elevated the mechanical process of printing to high
Lot 11, "On the Corner," has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $2,741,000.
Hammons has consistently launched broadsides against the status of high
art, capitalist systems, and the elitism of the art world, prompting
the writer Steven Stern to describe him as a "projectile in the
medieval armoury of the art world...[who] set about finding ways to
sabotage the work, to undermine this notion of a singular context and a
singular dialogue,' (Steven Stern, A Fraction of the Whole, Frieze Contemporary Art and
March 2009.) Untitled, 2009, does just this by pointedly challenging
the monumental legacy of painting." The essay in Sotheby's catalogue
for this sale continues:
present work comprises a large canvas cloaked in a plastic sheet that
obscures the painted surface below. Areas of pigment are visible only
through tears and holes in the overlaid wrapping, revealing gestural
brushstrokes of metallic silver in a style alluding to Abstract
Expressionist masters such as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock."
"Untitled," has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for $1,925,000.
46, "Woman," by Willem de Kooning, shown above, is as fully charged
with pigment and virtuoso brushwork as it is possible to get on canvas.
Primoridal, as luscious as a sunset or verdant landscape, this superb
painting is clearly inspired by the female body, a preoccupation
of other masters of female nudes that rendered flesh like magicians,
such as Rubens,
Titian, Ingres, Renoir and Matisse:
"Flesh was the reason oil painting was invented," said de Kooning.
Lot 46 has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It was passed at $2,700,000.
4, "Mithra," by Mark Bradford, 2008, Mixed media and collage on canvas,
72 by 84 1/4 inches
constellations, to maps and streetscapes, Bradford's superb mixed media
works take a birds eye view of the urban environment, and somehow
simultaneously submerge us in it, grids, grit and all. It is a lucky person that
wins this one.
Lor 4, "Mithra," by Mark
Bradford, illustrated above, has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $2,629,000.
fabulous paintings by Roy Lichtenstein flank David Smith's sculpture -
again, (it is the same sculpture) - in the photograph below.
"Puzzled Portrait," features one of the famed blondes - deconstructed -
and will be included in the catalogue raisonne being prepared by the
Roy Lichtenstein Foundation; Lot 37, "Stretcher Frame and
Vertical Bars" is about art itself: the subject is the back of a
canvas, its wood bones laid bare. Both paintings are
in magna on canvas.
Lot 27 has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000. It was passed at $7,250,000.
Lot 37 has an estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. It sold for $4,309,000.
Lot 27, "Puzzled Portrait, 1978, Oil and magna on canvas, 72 by 60
inches, and Right: Lot 37, "Stretcher Frame with Vertical Bars," 1968,
36 by 68 inches, both by Roy Lichtenstein. Sculpture "Agricola XII" by
David Smith (previously cited)
Twombly's mysterious "ancient," towering stucture - created in 2009 -
is enigmatically called "Untitled (The Mathematical Dream of
Ashurbanipal)," references the powerful Assyrian king, who was able to
read cuneiform script in Ancient languages such as Akkadian and
Sumerian, and who was obsessed with documenting his empire's history. A
complex leader, he
plundered "resources of knowledge" from those he conquered during
brutal military campaigns - like computer hacking today.
also able to solve mathematical problems, and founded The Library of
Ashurbanipal, a treasure trove in the lost city Nineveh, the capital of
Assyria, in what we know today as Iraq. The site was discovered in
The sun set on Ashurbanipal's Neo-Assyrian Empire in the
Seventh Century BC, but by then he had "dispatched scribes and scholars
every part of his empire to collect and transcribe ancient texts. The
discovered Library contained over 30,000 clay tablets, which have
provided exhaustive insight into Mesopotamian and Babylonian literary,
religious and administrative history. The tablets include treatises on
mathematics, medicine, astronomy and literature; omens, incantations,
and hymns; and epics and myths such as the Enima Elis creation
story, the myth of Adapa the first man, and the legendary Epic of
Gilgamesh...." (Sotheby's catalogue for this tale)
history, mythology and legend were a continual source of inspiration
for Cy Twombly, whose work is simultaneously fragile, mysterious and
Lot 33, "Untitled (The Mathematical Dream of Ashurbanipal) has an
estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $2,285,000.
Lot 7, "Spermini," by Maurizio Cattelan, 1997, painted latex rubber
masks, in one hundred fifty parts, overall dimensions variable; Left:
Lot 36, "The Statue of Liberty," by Andy Warhol, 1986, Acrylic and
silkscreen inks on canvas, 72 inches square.
7, "Spermini," consists of 150 painted latex rubber masks by Maurizio
Cattelan (b. 1960). The workd was created in 1997 and is
unique. It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It failed to sell and
was passed at $1,600,000.
36, "The Statue of Liberty," is an acrylic and silkscreen inks on
canvas by Andy Warhol. It measures 72 inches square and was
created in 1986, It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $3,189,000.
Lot 40, "Blue Skull Painting," by Takashi Murakami, 2012, acrylic on
canvas, 78 1/2 by 60 1/4 inches; Left: "Mask" by Jean-Michel Basquiat,"
from the Day Sale
40, "Blue Skull Painting," is an acrylic on canvas by Takashi Murakami
(b. 1962) that measures 78 1/2 by 60 1/4 inches. It was
in 2012. It has an estimate of $900,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $1,565,000.
Lot 33, "Untitled (The Mathematical Dream of Ashurbanipal)," by Cy
Bronze, 41 1/2 by 20 3/4 by 20 3/4 inches; This work is number two from
an edition of three; Right: Lot
22, "A.B. Courbet," by Gerhard Richter,
previously cited. Also in the photograph is Simon Shaw, Senior Vice
President, Head of Department, New York, Impressionist and Modern Art
offer eight works generously donated by leading contemporary artists to
benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF). Works by Marina
Abramović, William Eggleston, Inka Essenhigh, Theaster Gates, Wade
Guyton, Louise Lawler, Raymond Pettibon, and Ai Weiwei will be
included in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Sale on 14 November 2013
which goes on public exhibition on Saturday 9 November. All proceeds
from the sale of these eight works will benefit EJAF’s life-saving
Elton John said: “All of
us at the Elton
John AIDS Foundation are deeply grateful to Sotheby’s and to all of the
wonderful artists, dealers, and galleries that have partnered with us
on this project for the last three years. The funds raised from the
special charity lots at the sale will support our continuing efforts to
achieve an AIDS free generation by confronting stigma and
discrimination and helping people to access the prevention, treatment
and care services they need. This sale truly is art supporting life,
and I can’t think of a higher purpose for art than that.”