By Carter B. Horsley
The Spring evening sale of Contemporary Art
at Philips de Pury March 1 is short on lots - only 34 - but long
on quanlity and it makes up for it with its very large indiscipinary
affair of "Now" objects that will be auctioned March
6, 2010 as part of its most interesting grouping of theme auctions
being held here in New York and London. Both the March 1 and March
6 auctions share the same very lavish, oversized catalogue that
also contains numerous lavish and illustrated essays.
The two auctions have many modestly estimate
works by such fine artists as Kim Joon, Stephane Courturier, Simon
Norfolk, Robert Polidori, Elena Columbo, Ayala Serfaty, Eva Hild,
Edward Burtynsky, Christophe Ruckhaberle, Brian Fahlstrom, Gilbert
& George, George Condo and Steven Parrino.
Lot 4, "Trapped Priest," is a very
luscious and beautiful work by George Condo, who was born in 1927.
It is 28 1/2 inches high and is numbered 4 of edition of four.
The catalogue provides the following commentary
on the work:
"George Condo's oeuvre has been largely
based on the creation of cartoon-like characters, examining the
pscyhology of human carnality and deformity, though his dismantled
visions of realty. His works evoke humor encouraging viewers to
revel in their own sardonic mirth. His works evoke humor, encouraging
viewers to revel in their own sardonic mirth. Condo's sculptures
share imagery wuth his painters: imagery of characters that occupy
the artist's mind as archetypes of human conditions. Condo's dissatisfaction
with his Catholic childhood has preoccupied much of his work...driving
him to create imagery that involved the vengeful militation of
The lot has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.
It sold for $146,500 including the buyer's premium in a sale
in which 22 of the 34 offered lots sold for a total of $2,192,850.
The catalogue notes for Lot 11, "Scab
Noggin," notes that "the present work by Steven Parrino
an exemplary highlight of the artist's fascination with tools
of contortion within the medium of painting resulted in deconstructed
artworks reminiscent of artists such has Lucio Fontana and Piero
The quite exquisite lot has an estimate of
$400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $458,500.
Lot 17 is a stunning, mysterious sculpture
by Isa Gensken, who was born in 1948. Made of steel and aluminum,
the unique work measures 109 by 41 35 centimeters. Entitled "Schwules
Baby," it was executed in 1997.
It has an estmate of $30,000 to $40,000.
It sold for $92.500.
Lot 25 is a large work by Jonathan
Meese (b. 1970) that is entitled "Hagen v. Tronje's Privatarmee
'Schweinchen Dickde Monokeltennonon Zuckerpuppeam Madhen Kolibri."
An oil on canvas, it measures 78 by 111 1/8 inches and was executed
in 2004. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed
Lot 33 is a very strong painting by Gilbert
& George, who were born in 1942 and 1943 resectively. The
work is entitled "Friend Fear" and was execued in 1983.
It is acrylic and paper collage on paper in twelve parts in artists's
metal frames. Its overall dimensions at 71 by 78 1/2 inches. It
has an estimate $150,000 to $250,000. It faled to sell.
The "Now" auction
has more good and quite reasonably estimated contemporary works
than most intermediate contemporary art auctions at Christie's
Perhaps the best work in this
auction is Lot 173, an untitled oil on canvas by Christoph Ruckhaberle
(b. 1972). It measures 74 7/8 by 110/14 inches and was executed
in 2005. It is a very strong synthesis of themes and styles by
Matisse, Balthus, Marca-Relli, Velasquez and Cezanne. It has something
of a hypnotic charm. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
It sold for $18,750.
Lot 35 is a large digital color
coupler print of a "ROK Engine" by Simon Norfolk (b.
1963). It meausres 39 5/8 by 49 3/8 inches and is one of an edition
of 7 plus two artist's proofs. The 2008 work has an estimate of
$7,000 t0 $9,000. It sold for $13,750.
Another beautiful photograph
is Lot 34, "San Diego Olympic Parkway," by Stephane
Courturier (b. 1957). It measures 25 1/.2 by 48 3/8 inche and
is numbered 4/5 and was executed in 2001. It has an estimate of
$5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $5,250.
Another stunning horizontal
landscape photograph is Lot 221, "Bad Water Basin,"
by Scott Peterman (b. 1968). A C-print, it measures 40 by 76 inches
and was created in 2005. It has an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.
It failed to sell.
Lot 40 is a very beautiful
photograph of three ships underconstruction at Shipyard #11 at
Qili Port in Zhejiang Province in China by Edward Burtynsky (b.
1955). It measures 22 by 18 inches and is number 5/25. It has
an estimate of $5,0-00 to $7,000. It sold for $7,750.
Looking like a very chic sea
urchin, Lot 42 is a "Tamino" light sculpture by Ayala
Serfaty (b. 1962). Composed of glass rods, polymer, plastic and
steel, it measures 7 by 16 by 14 inches and was created in 2009.
It has an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $5,000.
Lot 41 is a very handsome stoneware
sculpture by Eva Hild (b. 1966). It measures 28 by 27 by 27 inches
and was created in 2003. It ha an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
It sold for $50,000.
One of the most elegant works
in the exhibition is Lot 56, a prototype 'branch trough"
with a "fire feature" by Elena Columbo (b. 1962). The
welded stainless steel work measures 6 by 31 by 9 inches and was
executed in 2009. It has an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500. It
sold for $2,625.
Lot 200, "The Shapes Project,"
is a very impressive group of 144 monoprints of monochrome abstractions
by Allan McCollum (b. 1944). The 2005 work has an estimate of
$10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $31,250.
Kim Joon (b. 1966) has two
stuning and very similiar phographs in the auction, Lot 19, "Birdland-Aerosmith,"
and Lot 20, Birdland-Mini Cooper."
Both measure 47 1/8 inches
square and were executed in 2008 and are numbered 2/5 and have
estimates of $6,000 to $8,000. Lot 19 failed to sell while
Lot 20 sold for $6,250.
Lot 36 i a striking photograph
of the interior of the Kuwait Exchange #1 by Robert Polidori (b.
1951). It measures 57 7/8 by 40 5/8 inches and was executed in
2007. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for
Lot 172 is a very large and
impressive Van Goghesque abstraction by Brian Fahlstrom (b. 1978)
entitled "Captivation/Allegro Vivace." An oil on canvas,
it measures 73 3/4 by 89 1/2 inches and it was executed in 2005.
It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 190 is a nicely mysterious
and abstract work by Gaijin Fujita (b. 1972), Entitled "Study
for Slow and Easy," it measures 53 by 851/4 inches and was
created in 2007. It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It
sold for $8,750.
Lot 192 is a very handsome
but sparse untitled abstraction by Richard Aldrich (b. 1975).
An oil and wax on paper, it measures 19 5/8 by 14 7/8 inches and
it was executed in 2006. It has an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.
It sold for $5,000.
A very colorful and lovely
urbanscape painting by Hening Kles (b. 1970) is Lot 241. Entitled
"Tiltsburg," it is an acrylic and oil on canvas that
measures 59 1/4 inches square. It was created in 2003 and and
has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $5,250.
Lot 242 is a lorge, detailed
abstraction by Kevin Appel (b. 1967) entitled "Country Home
#3 (Dreamer)." It measures 77 by 80 incheas and was created
in 2006. It has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for
The auction ends with 7 lots
meant to satisfy Godzilla lovers, cute, ungainly monsters of some
menance. Perhaps the cutest is Lot 284, "Cyclopus,"
a 8 3/4-inch-high acrylic on vinyl by Blopus. The 2009 work has
a modest estimate of $300 to $400 and sold for $500.