26. Frank Stella
38. Cy Twombly
30. Keith Haring and LA II (Angel Ortiz)
21. Jean-Michel Basquiat
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York, 16 May 2019, 5pm
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1. Donald Judd Untitled, 1970
2. Roy Lichtenstein Small Wall Explosion, 1965
6. Robert Motherwell Open No. 119: In Blue with Charcoal Line, 1969–1972
7. Roy Lichtenstein Horse and Rider, 1976
11. Alexander Calder Black Gamma, 1966 Estimate $5,000,000–7,000,000
12. David Hockney Study for Parade from Parade Triple Bill, 1980 Estimate $600,000–800,000
3. Andy Warhol David Hockney, 1974 Estimate $400,000–600,000
4. Andy Warhol Two Coke Bottles, 1962
5. Roy Lichtenstein Modern Painting, 1967 Estimate $2,000,000–3,000,000
8. Andy Warhol Roy Lichtenstein, 1976
9. Andy Warhol 9 Flowers, 1964
10. Fernando Botero The Lovers, 1989
13. Andy Warhol Soup Can, 1962
14. Joan Miró Conque, 1969
15. Alexander Calder White Versus Yellow, 1973
Lots 16â€“45 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
33. Pat Steir
Property of an Important Private Collector, Europe
16. Nicolas Party
Landscape signed and dated â€œNicolas Party 2015â€? on the reverse. pastel on canvas. 78 3/4 x 47 1/4 in. (200 x 120 cm.). Executed in 2015. Estimate $100,000-150,000
Provenance Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich Acquired from the above by the present owner
Ostensibly fxed dichotomies – such as fguration and abstraction, pictorial fatness and volumetric forms, tradition and technology – are subverted in Nicolas Party’s captivating colored pastel works that reinvigorate long-established painterly themes for the contemporary era. Upending these conventional visual notions of representation, space, and time, Landscape, 2015, epitomizes the Brussels-based artist’s reimagination of the classical genre of landscape painting that has launched him to international acclaim in recent years. Since 2016, he has had solo exhibitions at distinguished institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. In the past decade, Party has garnered a reputation as one of the most visionary and eminent post-internet artists, as cemented by a 2018 exhibition at the Magritte Museum, Brussels which placed twenty of his works in dialogue with those of the canonized Surrealists. The frst major work by Party with this subject matter to come to auction, Landscape epitomizes the artist’s unique visual lexicon on a colossal scale.
A classically trained painter, Party has grounded nearly his entire oeuvre in rendering established aesthetic motifs of still life, portraiture, and landscape. A prime exemplar of one of the artist’s most iconic subject matters, Landscape presents the viewer with a vivid, dreamlike vista encompassing fat, graphic trees and shrubs that are defned as rich blocks of blues, scarlets, and neons beyond an amethyst-colored clearing in the foreground. The work positions Party in the arthistorical genealogy of landscape painters, in which he is the heir to renowned masters such as John Constable and Claude Lorrain as well as to the great challengers of the conventional genre, Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne. Though working over a century later than his Impressionist ancestors, Party similarly utilizes the orthodox painterly subject of landscape as a device to cleverly explore contemporaneous conceptual themes; while Monet and Cézanne experimented with the modernist fatness of the picture plane and forms abstracted from nature, Landscape studies the artifcial, computerized essence of the post-internet world. Party’s pastel also alludes to the work of the American modern painter Milton Avery, whose idiosyncratic depiction of nature as blocks of vivid color in paintings such as Tree Fantasy, 1950, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, conspicuously infuenced the former’s portrayal of forestland. Landscape demonstrates Party’s reverence for the masters of landscape while exploring the essential qualities of these long-established pictorial subjects. At frst glance, the viewer registers the present work’s composition as a landscape scene, but upon closer inspection, the forms appear to metamorphose into a medley of vibrant geometric shapes; the leafess, distinctly outlined shrubs in the foreground collapse into two-dimensional circles and ovals of scarlet, sand, and chartreuse while the forestry in the background transmutes into biomorphic, abstract forms. Landscape’s dual subject matter of the countryside and ambiguous, nonrepresentational shapes is also propelled by its bold, energetic palette that spans the color spectrum. The shades of Landscape are virtually psychedelic; their prismatic harmony embodies Party’s declaration that “a color by itself doesn’t mean anything. It’s only the relationship between them that makes
Henri Rousseau, A walk in the woods, 1886–1890. Kunsthaus, Zurich, Image Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland, Erich Lessing/ Art Resource, NY
something happen in a painting” (Nicolas Party, quoted in “Two Naked Women: Interview with Nicolas Party”, ATPdiary, March, 24, 2015, online). The context of Landscape is enigmatic: the absence of signifers of time, such as a sun, moon, or stars elicits a feeling of eternity in Party’s semi-abstracted universe. It is not only the hour of day that is obscured in the work, however; while the work refers to the traditional history of landscapes, it simultaneously evokes ghostly, hollow renderings of 3D models, which can be attributed to the artist’s 10 years spent working as a 3D animator and his interest in computer art. As Party illuminated in an interview with Loney Abrams in 2016, “I was doing very simple abstract forms with simple geometric shapes... We’re so used to seeing computer-generated images now that it has a big impact on how we see all images. I think this describes the look my fgures have. I see them almost as like a thin layer of something and I don’t know what is behind them” (Nicolas Party, quoted in Loney Abrams, “PostInternet Phenomenon Nicolas Party on the Importance of Painting Cats in the Digital Age”, Artspace, October, 19, 2016, online). The shallow depth of feld and fastidious arrangement of these inert, weightless entities is perhaps most formally reminiscent of the meticulous, unadorned placement of kitchenware by Party’s greatest infuence: Giorgio Morandi. The economy of form in Landscape also evokes the essence of his forebearer’s work; indeed, Party once acknowledged this parallelism by explaining that “[Morandi’s] remarkable attitude at working extremely hard on the most simple subject to get the most
René Magritte, L’incendie (Fire), 1948. Banque d’Images, ADAGP/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Milton Avery, Tree Fantasy, 1950. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Digital Image © Whitney Museum of American Art/Licensed by Scala/Art Resource, NY © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
essential meaning of things is a great lesson” (Nicolas Party, quoted in “Two Naked Women: Interview with Nicolas Party”, ATPdiary, March, 24, 2015, online). Party ironically creates these futuristic, vacant forms in pastel, a technique that was prevalent in the late 17th century through the beginning of the 18th century. While computer animation is a modern, technological endeavor, painting with pastel is an intimate, physical practice generally applied by fnger; according to Party, it allows him to “establish a real relationship with [his] work” (Nicolas Party, quoted in “Interview: Nicolas Party”, Conceptual Fine Arts, September 16, 2015, online). In this way, Landscape mystifyingly pays simultaneous homage to art-making modes of the past and to the technology of the future. Landscape is multifaceted, recalling René Magritte’s love of mystery and the fatness of the picture plane in works by Henri Rousseau or Giorgio de Chirico, while concurrently experimenting with contemporary phenomena such as computerized abstraction and psychedelia. Landscape encapsulates Party’s imaginative approach to referencing the masters of the past while keeping an eye open to the future. Perhaps this sentiment has best been elucidated by the curator of Party’s acclaimed 2016-2017 exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Ali Subotnick: “Nicolas collapses the past with the present and future... He never gets stuck in a formulaic pattern” (Ali Subotnick, Dodie Kazanjian, “Party Time”, Vogue, June 2018, p. 114). Oscillating between convention and the cutting-edge, Landscape attests to the bold, innovative thinking that has catapulted Party to global recognition.
THE WALK HOME signed, titled and dated “KAWS..12 THE WALK HOME..” on the reverse. acrylic on canvas. 68 1/8 x 86 1/4 in. (173 x 219.1 cm.). Painted in 2012. Estimate $600,000-800,000
Provenance Private Collection, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
Painted in 2012, KAWS’s THE WALK HOME is a quintessential example of the artist’s ability to communicate complex human emotion through reclaimed cartoon imagery. In the present work, KAWS depicts the ever-popular animated character, SpongeBob SquarePants, using line and fat, evenly saturated colors in “an almost rubber-like matte fnish”, similar to that of cartoons or toys (KAWS, quoted in KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 72). KAWS makes SpongeBob his own by obliterating the character’s eyes with his signature X-motifs. Presented on a scale akin to the grand tradition of history painting, KAWS captures the moment when SpongeBob, teetering on the heels of his bright red shoes, appears to be scared of his feet, his mouth agape in a shriek. Surrounding SpongeBob are over a dozen pairs of disembodied arms, echoing the protagonist’s own raised limbs. In their disembodiment, these fragmented forms serve as a precursor to KAWS’s more recent work where he strips cartoon visages of the salient features that convey emotion and reconstitutes those elements into an abstracted amalgamation. In THE WALK HOME, the catalyst of SpongeBob’s overwhelming anxiety is placed beyond the confnes of the picture plane. The audible manifestation of the scene is conveyed in the repeated arms contained within the compositional frame, that ostensibly function like the physical action exclamations of cartoons like “POW!” or “BAM!”. This technique more aptly recalls a scene on infnite loop, one that never comes to narrative fruition, rather than a cartoon
strip. In so doing, KAWS succeeds in emphasizing the magnitude of emotion captured in a single moment. By starting with the cartoon as his reference point, a genre characterized by short narratives, KAWS utilizes the televised series’ simplifcation for his greater goal. Combined with his deconstructive approach of isolating parts of the whole to comprise his seemingly familiar vignettes, KAWS complicates the viewer’s narrative reading of the scene and compels us to imbue the work with our own suppositions. As curator Mónica RamírezMontagut explains, “...we recognize the cartoon characters yet, with KAWS’s intervention, the meaning becomes somewhat subverted... Since we are familiar with these characters...we in fact feel empowered to ponder the meaning and have an opinion. Thus it is up to us to decide whether these are homages or criticisms” (Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, KAWS, exh. brochure, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefeld, 2010, online).
Francisco de Goya, The Third of May 1808, 1814. Museo del Prado, Madrid, Image Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain © Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY
“. . . SpongeBob was something I wanted to do because graphically I love the shapes. But honestly, when I’m painting SpongeBob, I’m not thinking, ‘Oh, I loved this episode.’ Honestly, I’ve never even watched it.” KAWS
Above: Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893. National Gallery, Oslo, Image National Gallery, Oslo, Norway, SCALA/Art Resource, NY Artwork ©Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Right: Keith Haring, Untitled, 1983. Image Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussicher Kulturbesitz, Nationalgalerie, Collezione/Collection Marx, Artwork © The Keith Haring Foundation
Despite being rooted in their source imagery, KAWS’s paintings are not appropriations of specifc animated cartoon narratives but rather broader interrogations of universal human emotions. Of his practice, KAWS has espoused, “even though I use a comic language, my fgures are not always refecting the idealistic cartoon view that I grew up on, where everything has a happy ending” (KAWS, quoted in KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 5). Indeed the overtly emotional reaction KAWS conveys here with SpongeBob, which is further reinforced by the repeated limbs in the air, seems to have more in common with such emotionallyladen works as Francisco de Goya’s politically charged The Third of May 1808 than any plotline from the children’s cartoon show. With this in mind, THE WALK HOME serves primarily as a study in pure human emotion, one that is universally understood and transcends nationality, culture and time. The confation of high and low culture is a common thread throughout KAWS’s varied and diverse practice, which includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, street art and clothing design. Following his limited edition toys of the late 1990s, of which the subjects were
KAWS’s own creations, the artist turned to familiar television and cartoon icons such as The Simpsons, Mickey Mouse, the Smurfs, and SpongeBob in the early 2000s. Created by marine science educator Stephen Hillenburg in the late 1990s, SpongeBob SquarePants is the highest rated series to ever air on the children’s cartoon network, Nickelodeon. Speaking about his use of SpongeBob’s character in his practice, KAWS said “...SpongeBob was something I wanted to do because graphically I love the shapes. But honestly, when I’m painting SpongeBob, I’m not thinking, ‘Oh, I loved this episode.’ Honestly, I’ve never even watched it” (KAWS, quoted in Tobey Maguire, “KAWS”, Interview Magazine, April 27, 2010, online).
18. Jordan Casteel
Self Portrait signed â€œCASTEELâ€? lower right. oil and paper collage (with ink, graphite and colored pencil) on canvas. 55 7/8 x 43 7/8 in. (141.9 x 111.4 cm.). Executed in 2012. Estimate $60,000-80,000
Provenance Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
Executed at the onset of her promising career, Self Portrait, 2012 comes to auction concurrent with Jordan Casteel’s frst major institutional show at the Denver Art Museum. The artist has contributed to the redefnition of contemporary portraiture taking place by a school of artists reinvigorating fgurative painting in the 21st century including Kerry James Marshall, Nicole Eisenman and others. Embodying the vibrant, tactile and painterly aesthetic that her portraits have become known for, the present work depicts herself staring directly at the viewer, inhabiting an intimate composition, which ofers a glimpse into the early stages of her practice, and more uniquely, her own persona. In Self Portrait, Casteel sits casually in a white t-shirt, wearing a necklace with a butterfy pendant and square-framed glasses. She looks ahead at us with raised eyebrows, surrounded by collaged sketches and letters written by her students from her time as a special education teacher in Denver prior to attending the Yale School of Art. The notes provide an intimate look at Casteel’s previous life before beginning her career as an artist, some containing colorful block letters spelling out “CASTEEL”, identifying the sitter. She is seated with an IV in her lef arm, a reference to her daily routine spent managing lupus, the autoimmune disease she was diagnosed with during her frst year of college. Throughout her development as an artist, Casteel acknowledges the profound efect that the disease has had, making her someone, as she describes, who “really desires authenticity, because everything else feels so feeting” (Jordan Casteel, quoted in Julia Felsenthal, “Jordan Casteel is Making You Look”, Vogue, February 27, 2018, online). By alluding to an aspect of her own private life, Self Portrait uniquely encompasses the authentic nature of her practice, perhaps even more so than her recent portraits of fellow New Yorkers painted over the past fve years.
In the present work, the artist utilized a varied color palette, mixing warm yellows with fery reds, juxtaposed with cooler violets found within the shadows, all layered on top of each other in heavy impasto. For each of her portraits, Casteel begins with a single activating color, which she then builds an entire palette around. She explains, “I consider myself a painter in the most technical way. I spend probably the majority of my time thinking about the nuance of color and composition” (Jordan Casteel, quoted in Julia Felsenthal, “Jordan Casteel is Making You Look”, Vogue, February 27, 2018, online). While recognizably dark, Casteel’s skin tone in Self Portrait is not composed of a single black hue. “I’m interested in pushing the dialogue of blackness. Within my own family, the scope of what blackness looks like is really vast...you literally have a whole scope and range of literal color, and representing that in my paintings is important to me. I just allow myself to play, as it relates to each painting individually” (Jordan Casteel, quoted in Jason Parham, “This Artist Wants You To See The Fullness Of Black Men’s Lives”, The Fader, August 10, 2016, online).
Alice Neel, Marisol, 1981. Honolulu Museum of Art, Image courtesy of the Honolulu Museum of Art, Artwork © The Estate of Alice Neel
Jordan Casteel in her studio. Photographed by King Texas. Courtesy of the artist.
“I won’t always be there to speak on the painting’s behalf— its success lies in its ability to speak for itself.” Jordan Casteel
Born and raised in Denver, Casteel received a Masters of Fine Arts in painting from Yale in 2014. Afer graduation, Casteel moved to New York and was quickly catapulted to fame a year later when she was ofered the renowned artist’s residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It was here that she shifed her focus to people she encountered in her new neighborhood, mostly men. Beginning with nude fgures in domestic interiors and later depicting them in their outdoor, urban surroundings, Casteel’s sitters are at once specifc and representative of a broader human experience. Working from photos that she stages herself, she ofen surrounds her subjects with their own ephemera to create a personal narrative. Afer amassing over 100 photos, she then returns to her studio and begins rendering her subjects in vibrant swathes of paint that have little basis in reality. By painting black subjects from her everyday life, Casteel re-contextualizes traditional portraiture of the past, which so ofen favored white subjects. In so doing she belongs to a specifc lineage of black artists like Marshall and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, both of whom are also focusing on previously underrepresented sitters.
On these artists’ collective eforts, Dushko Petrovich explains, “there is an institutional urgency to speak to a more diverse audience with painting...to attract the various people who had been excluded from the museum by remaking the history of fgurative painting, this time with color” (Dushko Petrovich, “The New Face of Portrait Painting”, The New York Times Style Magazine, February 12, 2018, online). Marshall does this by referencing the rewriting of art history, while Yiadom-Boakye imagines her ethereal subjects entirely. In contrast, Casteel paints people found within her dayto-day surroundings, bearing an equal resemblance to portraitists such as Alice Neel, and even 19th century masters like Édouard Manet. Of the timeless nature of her work, she explains, “I have to trust that the paintings’ integrity will allow them to hold space wherever they go and encourage conversation and thoughtfulness that might not have been there otherwise. I won’t always be there to speak on the painting’s behalf—its success lies in its ability to speak for itself” (Jordan Casteel, quoted in “Jordan Casteel: In Conversation with Nicole Kaack”, NYAQ, Issue 6, November-February 2016/2017, p. 14).
Property of a Distinguished Private Collector
UNTITLED (MBFU9) signed and dated “KAWS..15” on the reverse. acrylic on shaped canvas on panel. 60 1/4 x 60 3/8 in. (153 x 153.4 cm.). Painted in 2015. Estimate $300,000-500,000
Provenance Collection of Mary Boone, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Shanghai, Yuz Museum, KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, October 20, 2016 August 13, 2017, pp. 104, 195 (illustrated, p. 105)
“I think Peanuts is part of being a kid in America. Whether it’s the Great Pumpkin on Halloween or just seeing a diferent cartoon in the paper, it’s sort of around everywhere.” KAWS
UNTITLED (MBFU9), 2015, is a larger-than-life shaped canvas by the acclaimed artist KAWS that dramatically occupies our space. Painted with saturated colors and precisely defned lines, its subject is instantly recognizable as Snoopy from Charles M. Schulz’s comic Peanuts. KAWS presents the cartoon beagle seated on the canvas director’s chair ofen seen in the theatrical productions put on by the Peanuts characters. UNTITLED (MBFU9) was featured in KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, the artist’s frst comprehensive exhibition, which was organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2016 and traveled to the Yuz
Museum in Shanghai. Deconstructing the boundaries between popular culture and fne art, KAWS appropriates both Schulz’s famous character and the key characteristics of his style to create a painting that is compelling in its imagery, content and form. Afcionados of Peanuts will recall that Snoopy inhabits many diferent personae, transforming his personality by adopting costumes and behavior to imaginatively take on the roles of other animals, athletes or a WWI fying ace. When Snoopy dons sunglasses, he becomes the character of Joe Cool, which Schulz introduced in 1971. Here, Snoopy’s “coolness” is conveyed by his nonchalant seated pose and shades, which KAWS marks with his trademark Xs. However, in the iconography of cartoons, Xs in the place of eyes communicate death or drunkenness. These, coupled with Snoopy’s laid-back demeanor, perhaps throw into question his apparent confdence. KAWS further hints at the fragility of his protagonist’s attitude by adopting Schulz’s signature use of a wavering line to portray Snoopy’s mouth, an expression used by the cartoonist to express consternation. KAWS thus hints that Snoopy’s cool exterior exists as a façade for more complicated emotions, refecting complexities in our own presentation of self.
Lef: Roy Lichtenstein, Look Mickey, 1961. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Image © Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Artwork © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
The present lot installed in KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, March 28-August 13, 2017. Artwork © KAWS
In 1995, KAWS painted his tag over a MetLife billboard featuring Snoopy and Woodstock, an early incorporation of imagery from the comic into his art. As his career has developed, he has returned repeatedly to Peanuts as a source, explaining: “I’m into Schulz as an artist, a company, and an icon; I got into his stuf just because I liked the looseness of the line work, and I thought that it was just sort of a nice thing to bring into my paintings” (KAWS, quoted in Stef Yotka, “Inside KAWS’s Studio With the Artist—And His Snoopy for Uniqlo Toys”, Vogue, April 27, 2017, online). KAWS employs characters and a visual vocabulary drawn from comics and cartoons, applying them to the concerns of contemporary art. He thereby extends the legacy of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol—Pop artists who introduced comic book imagery into their practice in the early 1960s, as well as subsequent artists like Keith Haring who have mined popular culture. Like his predecessors, KAWS adopts their imagery and conventions, making them his own to communicate his vision. As Michael Auping has written, “While one expects KAWS’s work would be entirely indebted to Pop art, his process suggests an equal debt to Minimalism,
in which abstract parts of materials are rearranged to create diferent types of wholes” (Michael Auping, KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 68). KAWS’s use of a non-rectangular support also resonates with another key innovation of 1960s art: the use of shaped canvases by artists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. Whereas his predecessors’ nonfgurative works are based on combinations of geometric forms, UNTITLED (MBFU9) follows the contours of Snoopy and his chair, applying KAWS’s own pictorial logic and establishing the painting’s larger-than-life presence. As Auping notes, “American abstract painters employed the shaped canvas to objectify the canvas support, to give it the look of a self-contained painted object. KAWS uses it for just the opposite reason, as a form of physical animation, energizing the characters so that they appear to be moving across the landscape of the wall” (Michael Auping, KAWS: WHERE THE END STARTS, exh. cat., Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, 2016, p. 74). In so doing, KAWS succeeds in extending the legacies of distinctly American post-war movements with the vernacular of contemporary popular culture.
Property from a Private Collection, Oslo
20. Tomoo Gokita
Be Just Like Family signed, titled and dated “BE JUST LIKE FAMILY Tomoo Gokita 2015” on the reverse. acrylic gouache on canvas. 76 1/4 x 101 7/8 in. (193.8 x 259 cm.). Executed in 2015. Estimate $250,000-350,000
Provenance Bill Brady Gallery, Miami Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Miami, Bill Brady Gallery, Tomoo Gokita: DAMAGE CONTROL, November 30 - December 28, 2015 Birmingham Museum of Art, 2016-2019 (on extended loan) Birmingham Museum of Art, Third Space: Shifing Conversations about Contemporary Art, January 28, 2017 January 6, 2019, pp. 93, 201 (illustrated, p. 182)
Upending traditional notions of portraiture with his signature stylized aesthetic, Tomoo Gokita’s Be Just Like Family from 2015 is a prime example of the artist’s hypnotic oeuvre. Created just a year afer his frst solo museum exhibition The Great Circus held at the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in 2014, the present work signifes a shif in Gokita’s painting practice towards group portraiture. In contrast to the artist’s earlier intimate portraits of one or two sitters inspired by pin-ups, Be Just Like Family features fve standing fgures: two men dressed in tuxedos stand behind three women in gowns. As suggested by the work’s title, a traditional family portrait
takes on a new meaning with obscured faces and a monochrome palette of bright whites, sof greys and rich blacks – this palette being the singlemost defning characteristic of Gokita’s oeuvre. On extended loan and exhibited for two years at the Birmingham Museum of Art shortly following its acquisition, Be Just Like Family demonstrates the painterly and compositional prowess that has catapulted Gokita to international prominence over the course of the past few years. Afer beginning his career as an illustrator in the late 1990s, Gokita frst turned to painting in 2005, inspired by vernacular sources including vintage photography, black and white flm stills, and Playboy magazines for which his father designed printed advertisements. His decision to exclusively use matte black and white gouache-based paints, and to conceive many of his paintings with photographic source imagery, undoubtedly arose from these specifc infuences. Similar to the way artists before him such as Gerhard Richter used photographs as a starting point for abstraction, Gokita combines visual references from found imagery with his stylized approach, creating portraits that are both rooted in memory and rich in painterly expression. In addition to his engagement with pop culture imagery, Gokita is also well-versed in the painting practices of 20th century modern masters. One year before the creation of Be Just Like Family, Gokita visited The Museum of Modern Art, New York to view paintings by Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. Curator of Gokita’s 2014 exhibition, Takashi Suzuki explains how Gokita re-contextualized the tendencies of his Cubist predecessors in his portraits: “Perhaps what Gokita has been interested in may be some specifc expressions, such as reconfgurations of various ideological elements fragmented in the pictorial space of...The Passage from Virgin to Bride, the transformation of forms and the close entanglement of the fgures seen in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and their characteristic expressions in the direct of the models’ gaze...he
Gerhard Richter, The Schmidt Family, 1964 (CR 40). Hamburger Kunsthalle (loan from a Private Collection) © Gerhard Richter 2019 (0072)
Marcel Duchamp, The Passage from Virgin to Bride, 1912. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris/ Estate of Marcel Duchamp
has exposed various forms, which are like exteriorized human internal organs, and placed them on parts of the models’ faces and on other physical surfaces... through these expressions, Gokita’s work leaves its viewers with disquieting resonances along with a kind of feeling of repulsion” (Takashi Suzuki, Tomoo Gokita: The Great Circus, exh. cat., Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, 2014, n.p.). In Be Just Like Family, Gokita deconstructs the pictorial space by layering his subjects on top of each other, their limbs existing as separate, fat planes with no clear indication of a receding background. The female fgures’ arms appear more as fipper-like appendages modeled with monochromatic tonalities than human limbs, and each of the subjects’ heads foat like cut-outs atop a void background. These elements make the resulting image unsettling not only in its ambiguities, but also in its manipulation of the twodimensional space bounding the fve family members.
Gokita’s efacement of his portrait subjects further contributes to the disquieting efects of the painting. By obscuring and distorting any individuality to the fgures through his painterly process, Gokita renders their visages as blank tonal gradients, using small dots and streaks in place of their eyes and other features. The resulting mask-like forms, smoothly modeled in black and white, in combination with the geometric abstractions that make up the dress of the second female fgure on the lef, are at odds within the composition, creating a jarring incongruity. With an indication of gaze expressed only through body language, the family stares seemingly straight-ahead at the viewers, implicating us in the construction of a specifc narrative. As Roberta Smith espoused of Gokita’s most successful paintings such as the present work, “With their outdated glamour, eerie glow, ambiguous emotions and descriptive quirks, these paintings are undeniably rich” (Roberta Smith, “What To See in New York Galleries This Week: Tomoo Gokita”, The New York Times, October 20, 2016, online).
Property of a Private Collector
21. Jean-Michel Basquiat
Robot Man signed â€œJean-Michel Basquiatâ€? on the reverse. oilstick on paper. 22 1/4 x 30 1/8 in. (56.5 x 76.5 cm.). Executed in 1983, this work is registered under inventory number 1989 (Peorsveokpho) in the Annina Nosei Gallery Archive, Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University, New York. Estimate $2,500,000-3,500,000
Provenance Annina Nosei Gallery, New York Fredrik Roos Collection, Stockholm Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Malmö, Rooseum, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, April 8 - May 28, 1989, no. 30, p. 52 (illustrated)
A tour-de-force of form, symbolism, and energy, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Robot Man, 1983, embodies the artist’s ability to abstract the human fgure and to imbue it with multifaceted meanings. This arresting work features a single fgure with limbs in red: one arm is down by his side while the other is extended at an angle, and both of his legs point to the lef. The fgure’s head is abstracted, reminiscent both of an African mask and of the mechanical forms of a robot’s head, with black ovals delineating his eyes, ears, and mouth. Defned by confdent strokes of oilstick, its lines and shapes cohere into an active composition of grids, vectors, numbers, and letters that both surround the fgure and appear on his body, either as clothes or revealing inner mechanisms of some sort. To create this work, Basquiat synthesized diverse sources from the past and present – from ancient art and Christian iconography to modernist painting, and from mainstream popular sources to the hip-hop culture that arose in early 1980s New York. Not seen by the public for three decades, Robot Man was last exhibited at the Rooseum in Malmö as part of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel in 1989, the year afer the artist’s death. Robot Man was created in 1983, at the apex of Basquiat’s short but prodigious career and it exhibits the mature style that he had fully developed by the age of 23. That year, he became the youngest artist ever to be included in the Whitney Biennial. Just three years earlier, Basquiat had turned from thought-provoking grafti to painting, drawing, and mixed-media work. Hailed as the “Radiant Child” by critic Rene Ricard, he would rapidly receive popular and critical acclaim for his
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982. Private Collection, Photo © Bridgeman Images, Artwork © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
daring and expressive practice. Key to Basquiat’s rapid achievement was his ability to bring together disparate and even contradictory realms of imagery to create profound and expressive works of art. Though Robot Man contains robotic elements, the fgure in its center is more man than robot, difering from the artist’s depiction of a robot in Molasses, 1983, another painting of the same year. The robot in Molasses resembles a tin toy atop a skeletal body, whereas the fgure in the present work shares the style and stance of Basquiat’s heroic full fgures of men, including those in Per Capita, 1981, Self-Portrait, 1982, and With Strings, 1983. With its title, Basquiat indicates that we see not merely a robot, but a robot man, implying either a man with robotic qualities or a robot that resembles a human – a cyborg. His torso contains
overlapping patterns and alphanumeric characters, implying both human and mechanical characteristics. On the lef of his chest are gridded numbers that imply an equation. On the right side of his body are words that reference anatomy: “INTESTINES” written three times and crossed out, along with “HUESO” and “SIN HUESO” – Spanish words for “bone” and “boneless” that the multilingual Basquiat used in other works, such as Dog Leg Study, 1982-1983, from The Daros Suite. On the work’s right side are letters that suggest mechanical sounds and to the lef are letters that do not cohere into a legible word, but begin and end with the Greek letter Phi, a symbol ofen used to indicate a variable in a formula or algorithm. A segmented circle above his head reads both as a halo and a polar graph plot or radar screen, connoting both sainthood and an electronic display.
adapted a version of the Ancient Egyptian composite style, a convention in which head and limbs are in profle, while the torso faces forward. One can see the similarity between Robot Man and Relief of Akhty-hotep, circa 2650-2600 B.C.E., a work in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum that the artist may have known from a young age, having frequented the museum since a child. The position of Robot Man’s arms is related to the stance of the Old Kingdom ofcial, though Basquiat toyed with the conventions of Egyptian art by pointing both of his fgure’s feet to the lef as the rest of his body points right. In addition, his dispersal of letters and diagrammatic forms throughout his composition is reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
In addition to invoking Christian iconography with the halo in Robot Man, the style of the fgure suggests an even older form of art – that of ancient Egypt. Basquiat
In his bold handling of the human form, Basquiat drew from modernism as well, inspired especially by Pablo Picasso, Cy Twombly, and the early work of Jackson Pollock. It was his ability to engage with the legacy of
Relief of Akhty-hotep, circa 2650–2600 B.C.E. Limestone, 36 1/8 x 23 11/16 in. (91.8 x 60.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 57.178.
Byzantine fresco of Saint John the Baptist, circa 395–1453. Gracanica Church, Serbia, Image © Scala/Art Resource, NY
modern painting while creating profoundly original works that led Marc Meyer to designate Basquiat as “the last modernist” (Marc Meyer, “Basquiat in History”, in Basquiat, exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2005, p. 43). Consider, for instance, Robot Man in relation to Jackson Pollock’s Stenographic Figure, circa 1942, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. This totemic painting is from Pollock’s early career, as he incorporated the infuences of Synthetic Cubism, Surrealism, and Native American art into his work. Both Pollock and Basquiat worked in palettes based around primary colors, and shared a strategy of defning the fgure into planar abstractions that coexist with calligraphic lines that suggest written content without revealing its signifcance. Robot Man, like Stenographic Figure, contains multiple superimpositions of seemingly disconnected visual information, a strategy Basquiat frequently used to enliven his works. Popular culture was another key touchstone for Basquiat, who ofen worked in his studio with the television playing in the background. According to Glenn O’Brien, “He ate up every image, every word, every bit of data that appeared in front of him, and he processed it all into a bebop Cubist Pop Art cartoon gospel that synthesized the whole overload we lived under into something that made astonishing new sense” (Glenn O’Brien, “Greatest Hits”, in Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time, exh. cat., Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2015, p. 177). Robots were ubiquitous in 1980s popular culture and were prominent symbols of the decade’s futurist spirit, as seen in C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars, the replicant cyborgs from Blade Runner and many others. In science fction, robots serve as symbols of both fantasy and dread concerning the status of humanity amid rapid technological change. In addition to augmenting human powers in the popular imagination, robots also challenge what it means to be fully human; if someone is acting robotic, then they are behaving as if programmed, without volition or the spark of humanity. In Robot Man, as in 1980s culture as a whole, the boundaries between robot and human weren’t always clear.
The stif limbs and twisted perspective of the fgure in Robot Man has yet another possible meaning: that of a man dancing “the Robot”, a 1980s dance style that emerged from hip-hop culture. To do “the Robot”, dancers pop and lock isolated parts of their bodies to make quick, jerky moves that mime a mechanical fgure. Like grafti, “the Robot” was a street style that emerged from African American culture and would have been familiar to Basquiat. As Franklin Sirmans stated, “no artist has ever so profoundly embodied a cultural movement as Jean-Michel Basquiat personifed hip-hop culture in its brilliant infancy” (Franklin Sirmans, “In the Cypher: Basquiat and Hip-Hop Culture”, in Basquiat, exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2005, p. 91). By negotiating the boundaries between humanity and machine, the present work positions Basquiat within the discourse of Afrofuturism, a subcultural use of science fction themes to express aspects of African American experience in the present. By analogy, Afrika Bambaataa’s futurist hip-hop was inspired by the motorik beats and synthesizers of Krafwerk, taking up the mantle of Sun Ra and George Clinton. Basquiat also responds to the culture of his day as an African American artist very much aware of the era’s existential anxieties. By drawing from the past and the imagined future, Robot Man, then, is about defning what it means to be human in the computer age.
Jackson Pollock, Stenographic Figure, circa 1942. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © PollockKrasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Property of an East Coast Institution
22. Yayoi Kusama
Accumulation by Space (No.62.CO.) signed and dated “1962 YAYOI KUSAMA” on two stickers lower lef; further signed, titled and dated “YAYOI KUSAMA 1962 NO. 62. CO.” on the reverse; further titled “ACCUM ACCMILLATION BY SPACE” on the stretcher. stickers on primed canvas. 61 x 67 3/4 in. (154.9 x 172.1 cm.). Executed in 1962, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the Yayoi Kusama studio. Estimate $500,000-700,000
Provenance The Artist Private Collection, United States Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1982
Created during her frst decade in New York, Yayoi Kusama’s Accumulation by Space (No.62.CO.), 1962 is one of the artist’s earliest investigations of three pillars that defne her practice: repetition, accumulation and obliteration. Afer leaving Tokyo for the U.S. in 1957, the artist quickly gained critical acclaim. Following the success of her frst solo exhibitions, Kusama began to explore mediums other than painting in the early 1960s. The present work is a unique example of her rare collages, others of which are housed in institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Comprised of found, red-rimmed oval stickers on canvas, Accumulation by Space (No.62.CO.) draws the viewer into a mass of abstraction. Revealing the surface underneath throughout parts of the composition, we are invited into Kusama’s meticulous working method, allowing us a glimpse into the mental fxations that guide her process. Despite rave reviews for her Infnity Nets paintings frst shown in 1959, Kusama struggled fnancially throughout the early 1960s. It was during this time that she turned to unconventional materials such as stickers
and stamps. Soon afer, she used three-dimensional egg cartons to create relief-like works that served as an immediate precursor to her sculptures made of canvas-covered pouches flled with cotton, also called Accumulations. Diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder only three months afer completing her frst Accumulation sculpture in 1961, it became clear that Kusama’s repeated masses, whether composed of paint, stickers, egg cartons or sof sacks, were a means of coping with her personal neuroses. Working at the intersection of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and the beginnings of the Pop movement, Kusama occupied a unique place in the New York art scene. Her collages and sculptures were ofen erroneously associated with Andy Warhol’s concurrent, gridded silkscreens of consumer labels and dollar bills, as well as Donald Judd’s orderly sculptural installations. Despite sharing a studio space with Judd, Kusama rejected his use of repetition as a comment on aesthetic and instead relied on it to confront her battle with mental illness. Similarly, Kusama disagreed with Warhol’s ideologies behind consumerism and art, creating work that was diametrically opposed to his mass production techniques. As she avowed, “Anything mass produced robs us of our freedom. We, not the machine, should be in control” (Yayoi Kusama, quoted in Louise Neri and Takaya Goto, eds., Yayoi Kusama, New York, 2012, p. 62). Speaking of the importance of Kusama’s collage process, Alexandra Munroe describes, “the obsessive accumulation of actual
things, reinforced by the activity of pasting each element down, draws attention to the fevered mode of their creation; they become intense and pointedly personal in a manner alien to the cool detachment of a silkscreen print” (Alexandra Munroe, Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-1968, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1998, p. 16). While Judd and Warhol used mechanized materials and methods, in her Accumulations Kusama painstakingly adhered found objects to canvas, household furniture and kitchen implements. One of the frst instances the artist used the term “accumulation” was in reference to her earliest Infnity Nets paintings, articulating them as “unfoldings of macrocosmic space based on accumulation of microcosmic light, as if under an unconsciousness which is both simple...and yet complicated” (Yayoi Kusama, quoted in “Ona Hitori kokusai gada o yuku”, Geijutsu schincho, Tokyo, May 1961, n.p.). The term would not appear again until the collages, in which she turned accumulated paint into accumulated objects – the title of the works now explicitly referencing Kusama’s very process. By 1966, the artist reached international prominence afer her installation of Narcissus Garden at the 33rd Venice Biennale, an accumulation of refective silver spheres placed outside of the Italian Pavilion. In contrast to the present work, which represents Kusama’s own subconscious, Narcissus Garden shaped the viewers’ experiences, embodied through the aggregation of their own refections. Over the subsequent decade in New York, Kusama moved beyond collage and sculpture and began documenting her process through performance. This concept helped to transform accumulation into obliteration, a term frst used in her 1967 flm Kusama’s Self Obliteration in which she covered the space around her with polka dots. This concept would be revisited throughout her prolifc oeuvre, most recently in her reprised project The Obliteration Room featured in the 2017-2018 exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infnity Mirrors beginning at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. Over 50 years later, this installation recalls the exact process employed in Accumulation by Space (No.62.
Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation of Stamps, 63, 1962. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation of Nets, 1962. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Digital Image © 2019 Museum Associates/LACMA. Licensed by Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Yayoi Kusama
CO.), allowing visitors to place stickers on blank walls and furniture. The white space between these accumulated stickers recalls the present work from 1962, demonstrating the cyclical nature of Kusama’s practice. “The positive and negative become one and consolidate my expression. That is when I achieve obliteration” (Yayoi Kusama, Infnity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, Chicago, 2011, p. 47).
Property from an Important European Collection ○
23. Eva Hesse
No title dedicated “for Donald, for Roy our Maine vacation” on the reverse. nylon string, ink and graphite on paper, mounted to museumboard. 14 x 14 in. (35.6 x 35.6 cm.). Executed in 1967. Estimate $2,500,000-3,500,000
Provenance Donald Droll and Roy Leaf, New York (gifed by the artist in 1967) Droll/Kolbert Gallery, New York Ronald S. Lauder, New York Christie’s, New York, May 8, 1990, lot 128A Acquired at the above sale via Jefrey Deitch, New York by the present owner Exhibited New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Bufalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum; Pasadena Art Museum; Berkeley, University Art Museum, Eva Hesse: A Memorial Exhibition, December 8, 1972 - November 11, 1973, no. 61, n.p. (illustrated) Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum; The Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York University; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Eva Hesse: A Retrospective of the Drawings, April 20, 1982 - April 24, 1983, no. 69, pp. 22, 31 (illustrated, p. 76) Greensboro, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Eva Hesse: A Retrospective of Drawings, May 22, 1984 - March 31, 1985 New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, Eva Hesse: A Retrospective, April 15 - July 31, 1992, pl. 67, p. 192 (illustrated) Literature Lucy Lippard, Eva Hesse, New York, 1976, no. 166, p. 118 (illustrated)
Executed in 1967, No title showcases Eva Hesse’s resistance to any one art historical categorization. A key member of the art world in 1960s New York, Hesse occupied a unique position in a circle of post-minimalist artists, including Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman and others. The present work, rendered in subtle, gray graphite and ink washes features a grid of 49 circle motifs from which narrow, malleable pieces of nylon string protrude from their centers. Paralleling the artist’s refusal to be reduced to one particular movement, the work itself challenges classifcation as a single medium, straddling the disciplines of drawing and sculpture and appearing as a wall-bound object. Originally dedicated to the artist’s dealer and friend Donald Droll and fellow artist Roy Leaf, the work was exhibited for the frst time in Hesse’s seminal 1972 show held at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York just two years afer her death, one that would solidify her place in the discourse of post-war and contemporary art. Created at the pinnacle of the artist’s career, No title belongs to a small series of graphic works created between 1966 and 1968. In each of these intimatelyscaled objects, Hesse explored the capabilities of both drawing and sculpture, having recently abandoned the medium of painting, and with it, the use of color. Hesse’s infuences in this series, which features minimalist grids created through wash applications, harken back to the painterly compositions of her teacher at Yale University, Josef Albers, and also to monochromatic works by artists such as Jasper Johns. As Robert Pincus-Witten explained, “Eva Hesse’s drawing during 1966-68 emphasized modular and grid arrangements alluding, in this way, to the high regard in which Agnes Martin was held, although the delicacy of wash application in Hesse’s serial composition – as well as the single motif in isolation – equally refers to the target fgure in the Jasper Johns encaustic paintings of the mid-50s” (Robert Pincus-Witten, Eva Hesse: A Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1972, n.p.). It was also in 1966 that Hesse met key players in the art world including Donald Droll, at the time director of Fischbach Gallery, New York. According to her diaries,
Jasper Johns, White Target, 1957. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Digital Image © Whitney Museum of American Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Günther Uecker, Cork Picture 1, 1960. Image Peter Horree/Alamy Stock Photo, Artwork © 2019 Günther Uecker/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ VG Bild-Kunst, Germany
Hesse met Droll on October 28, 1966 through art critic and friend Lucy Lippard, and he immediately asked to buy several of her works. In the summer of 1967, Hesse visited Droll and painter Roy Leaf in Georgetown, Maine, afer which Hesse made the present work in honor of their “Maine vacation”, as it is dedicated on the reverse. In the fall of 1968, she had her frst onewoman show at Fischbach Gallery, an exhibition which signifed the beginning of Droll’s unending support of Hesse and her Estate which would extend until his own death in 1985. Amongst her fellow sculptors and friends including Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, Hesse’s practice was distinctly characterized by the use of malleable materials such as latex and nylon, rejecting traditional mediums of bronze and stone. Her most famous sculptural works, such as Hang Up, 1966, Art Institute of Chicago, consisted of grounded linear structures disrupted by hanging, pliable elements, an aesthetic choice that is also evident in the present work from which bendable plastic extends into the viewer’s space. In fact, it was Hesse’s training in the two-dimensional mediums of painting and drawing that allowed her to explore the expressive potential of her three-dimensional materials, which is realized in No title. According to Linda Shearer, the Guggenheim’s curatorial assistant who is credited with the idea for the artist’s 1972 exhibition, “the importance of Hesse’s training and experience as a painter and drafsman cannot be overlooked in any evaluation of her sculpture” (Linda Shearer, Eva Hesse: A Memorial Exhibition, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1972, n.p.).
“for Donald, for Roy our Maine vacation” It was also Shearer who attributed Hesse’s relief works from 1964-1965 made while working at a textile factory in Germany, as the single precursor to her most successful graphic work, of which No title is an example. These reliefs represented the frst time that Hesse would attempt to translate two-dimensional concepts into three-dimensions, a preoccupation that would defne the rest of her career. Indeed, it was Hesse’s trip to Germany that both complicated and defned the artist’s relationship with the American minimalist movement. In Europe, Hesse encountered the works of German artists including Günther Uecker and Joseph Beuys. As Maria Kreutzer explained, “whereas minimalism used repetition and serial structure to eschew opposition in favor of structural organization, Hesse embraced both repetition and the paradigm of polar opposition to suggest variation as well as the process of transformation. Her deeply personalized feeling for materials shared much with Beuys and the artists of the Zero group, particularly Uecker: it was organic, visceral, and ultimately symbolic” (Maria Kreutzer, Eva Hesse: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1992, p. 79). The emotional undertones in Hesse’s oeuvre are conveyed not just in her choice of materials, but also in her symbols and motifs. Encountering a number of tragedies in the last years of her life, including the loss of her father, divorce from her husband, and her own deteriorating health, Hesse sought solace in her graphic and sculptural practice until her death in 1970. The cycle of obstacles that threatened to get in the way of her success was perhaps best symbolized
Eva Hesse, dedication on the reverse
by the repeated circles of her 1966-1968 series of works such as No title. “Coming close to answers but go in circles”, Hesse noted in her diary in 1966, and later, “all circles—grasping holding nothing ‘a great gesture around nothing’”, referencing a quote by her friend and fellow artist Mel Bochner. As Anna Chave espoused, “for Hesse the circle signifed also the self-defeating emotional pattern in which she felt locked; the ‘vicious cycle’ or ‘painful cycle’ she referred to particularly in the period when she lost her husband and her father, in 1965 and 1966” (Anna C. Chave, Eva Hesse: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1992, p. 110). Afer her death, Hesse’s work has been a constant source of inspiration for contemporary drafsmen and sculptors. This coming November, her graphic work will be the subject of an exhibition at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stifung Ludwig, Vienna presenting numerous drawings from the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, many of which were owned and donated by Donald Droll himself. Such shows highlight the importance of Hesse’s practice on current artistic pursuits today, making her one of the most important female artists of the 20th century.
Clockwise from lef to right: Roy Leaf (on railing), Donald Droll, Eva Hesse, James Mangold and Robert Mangold in Maine during the summer of 1967. Image courtesy of Sylvia Plimack Mangold
Property from a Distinguished Private American Collection
24. Mark Bradford
Helter Skelter II signed with the artist’s initial, titled and dated “Helter Skelter m 2007” on the reverse. mixed media collage on canvas. 148 x 436 in. (375.9 x 1107.4 cm.). Executed in 2007. Estimate $8,000,000-12,000,000
Provenance Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007 Exhibited New York, New Museum, Collage: The Unmonumental Picture, January 16 - March 30, 2008, p. 130 (details illustrated, pp. 20-21, 23) Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Collection and Then Some, 2008 (on extended loan)
Literature Thomas Micchelli, “Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century Collage: The Unmonumental Picture”, The Brooklyn Rail, February 6, 2008, online Thomas Micchelli, “Is Mark Bradford the Best Painter in America?”, Hyperallergic, November 17, 2012, online
Mark Bradford’s Helter Skelter II: A Portrait of a City By Jonathan Grifn
Jonathan Grifn is a critic and arts writer based in Los Angeles. He is a contributing editor for Frieze magazine, and he also regularly writes for Art Review, Apollo, Art Agenda, Cultured, CARLA, In Other Words and the Financial Times. His book On Fire, about artists’ studio fres, was published in 2015 by Paper Monument.
Jackson Pollock, Number 27, 1950. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Digital Image © Whitney Museum of American Art/ Licensed by Scala Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Pollock-Krasner Foundation/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Helter Skelter II is an extraordinarily complex work of art, layered not only formally but also narratively and conceptually. Due to variations in scale and media, its intricacy, its refusal of a singular compositional focus and most of all its sheer size, it is virtually impossible to absorb in one glance. It demands time and movement from its viewer, who must pace up and down its breadth, move back and peer in close, and crane his or her neck to inspect its uppermost sections. Areas of metallic silver foil fash as refections move across them, and eclectic textures restlessly intermingle – from lines of white caulk to torn fbrous card to drips and splashes of colored house paint to the sheen of commercially printed fy-posters.
Jasper Johns, Two Maps, 1965. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Digital Image © Whitney Museum of American Art/Licensed by Scala/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York
Clyford Still, Untitled, 1960. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Clyford Still/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Helter Skelter II, along with its partner work Helter Skelter I, was made by Mark Bradford for the exhibition Collage: The Unmonumental Picture in 2008 at the New Museum, New York, where the two works hung contiguously, side by side. In its title, the exhibition acknowledged a quality of collage that is simultaneously embraced and subverted by Bradford’s monumentally-scaled works; because it is usually made from the fotsam and jetsam of contemporary daily life, collage is typically considered humble, low-grade, marginal, minor, or “unmonumental” – especially when compared to the historical gravitas and grandeur of painting. Throughout his oeuvre, but especially in Helter Skelter I and Helter Skelter II, Bradford takes these preconceptions and turns them on their head. Given that much of Bradford’s source material is scavenged directly from areas of his city that have historically been neglected, discriminated against, and disenfranchised, this itself is a political act. As with all of Bradford’s sanded paper paintings and sculptures, Helter Skelter II is a miniature topography, a relief map of valleys and contours carved by Bradford’s controlled erosion of the three-dimensional, mixed-media surface. Much more than a pictorial representation, the work’s three dimensionality suggests that it is a section excised from real life, a piece of the wall itself, at one-to-one scale. Bradford’s work also ofen fickers between intimations of the micro and the macro. His linear compositions might
evoke panoramic maps one moment and microscopic pictures of skin or blood vessels the next. In the seismically active terrain around Southern California, maps visualize fault lines literally as well as sociopolitically. In fact, the two systems of information frequently intersect: the desirable Hollywood hills, for example, furnished with dramatic views over the seemingly endless grid of streets extending across the region’s fatlands, were historically formed by tectonic plate movement. Paradoxically, during future earthquakes, properties in the hills are less vulnerable to the ground liquefaction that is prone to occur in the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin. Helter Skelter II’s title most obviously references the phrase daubed in human blood on the refrigerator of the house occupied by Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in the
hills of Los Feliz, Los Angeles, where Charles Manson and his followers ended the infamous murder spree in the summer of 1969 that has been widely acknowledged as the grisly, depraved end to the optimism and liberty of the 1960s. “Helter Skelter” was Manson’s term for a race war that he foresaw between whites and blacks, which he believed he and his acolytes could frst catalyze (with gruesome violence that would be blamed on African Americans), then escape – hiding out in an underground city beneath Death Valley – and fnally beneft from as the Manson Family returned to rule the victorious African American population, all whites having been slaughtered. The phrase was appropriated by Manson from the 1968 record by The Beatles known as the White Album, with which Manson was obsessed and which he was convinced was entirely about his unhinged apocalyptic vision.
“Bradford’s behemoth collages, stretching across another 70-foot wall, with their silver paint over torn-up advertising posters lacerated by networks of fuid, incised lines, are as tough as the street and just as resistant to simple answers or unearned beauty.” Thomas Micchelli, “Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century Collage: The Unmonumental Picture”, The Brooklyn Rail, February 6, 2008, online
In the contemporary art world, the title “Helter Skelter” is also associated with curator Paul Schimmel’s epochal exhibition Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the ‘90s, at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art in 1992. It was the frst major show to cement the international reputations of artists such as Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon, Mike Kelley and Charles Ray, and also a redress of the popular stereotype of Los Angeles art being concerned only with “light & space”. Instead, as the LA Times critic Christopher Knight wrote at the time, it ofered a vision of “darkness & claustrophobia”. While Bradford has long been considered an artist of international stature and relevance, an understanding of his work is inseparable from an awareness of the city in which he lives and works. He espouses what curator Christopher Bedford has described as “an insistent localism” (Christopher Bedford, “Against Abstraction”, in Mark Bradford, exh. cat., Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, 2010, p. 26). Bradford became recognized early in his career for his mixed media paintings, which combine collagist techniques with paint efects and drawing – ofen through the application of media such as siliconized caulk or string. Early works ofen incorporated small square endpapers from the Leimert Park hair salon owned by his mother. These layered surfaces are then abraded with a power sander, exposing the strata of materials beneath. The results recall the decollage work from the 1950s and 1960s of nouveau realistes Raymond Hains and Jacques de la Villeglé, as well as the painterly Abstract Expressionism of Barnett Newman, Clyford Still and – particularly with
Helter Skelter II – the all-over compositions of Jackson Pollock. They also overtly resemble the tattered street hoardings onto which posters and handbills are pasted (and torn of) in thick palimpsestic indexes of the social and commercial life of a city. Bradford frst came to prominence when he featured in the 2001 exhibition Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem, curated by Thelma Golden. The exhibition showcased the work of a number of emerging black artists whose art Golden identifed as “post-black” – a term that grew widely in usage over the ensuing decade. Post-black art, explained Golden, “was characterized by artists who were adamant about not being labeled as ‘black’ artists, though their work was steeped, in fact deeply interested, in redefning complex notions of blackness” (Thelma Golden, Freestyle, exh. cat., Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2001, p. 14). Having studied during the 1990s at CalArts – then a theory-dominated program in which painting was marginalized – it was somewhat idiosyncratic of Bradford to adopt abstract painting as a genre through which to approach themes around race, gender and sexuality. Today, he is acknowledged as one of the central fgures of his generation; in 2017 he represented the United States at the 57th Venice Biennale, and later that year exhibited his panoramic cyclorama of paintings Pickett’s Charge at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
“[The work] efectively lays LA out before the viewer with a lateral scope that dwarfs both Pollock and Barnett Newman, the two great masters of pictorial immensity. Yet even as he stretches and subdivides pictorial space in the direction of the two infnities of largeness and smallness, Bradford uses materials and chooses formats that recalibrate its specifcally human dimensions. . .” Robert Storr, “And what I assume you shall assume...” in Mark Bradford, exh. cat., Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, 2010, pp. 47–48
Bradford himself had long moved between worlds. When he was 11 years old, he relocated with his mother from the then predominantly black, working class neighborhood of West Adams to the middle class city of Santa Monica, which is mainly white. As a young man he worked in his mother’s hair salon in South Los Angeles, and danced in the city’s nightclubs where he found his place in the city’s gay community. Afer traveling in Europe in his twenties, he enrolled as a mature student at CalArts, richly endowed with life experience but relatively unfamiliar with the academic discourse in which he was soon steeped. The experience of dissonance, of displacement and fracture – one that is familiar to denizens of a city such as Los Angeles – is physically embedded in Bradford’s work. In Helter Skelter II we see posters for Hollywood movies, record releases, club nights, fashion brands and untold other advertisements with purpose unclear. Not everything is culled from the street; at the lower edge, a print showing a black line drawing (echoing Bradford’s caulked white lines) is actually a reproduction of a drawing by the Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry. Bradford describes the chaotic, visually aggressive urban fabric of Los Angeles – a place in which multiple interests and aesthetics jostle for attention – via a formal practice that is rigorous, precise and fnely attuned to nuance. Helter Skelter II is delicate and subtle, even at monumental scale, and full of surprise and delight, notwithstanding its latent violence and noise. Above all, Helter Skelter II is a portrait of a city that is complicated and contradictory, that is the cradle of countless diferent histories and perspectives, and which can be horrifyingly brutal and astonishingly beautiful from one instant to the next. Bradford’s work does not attempt to represent its environment through a singular viewpoint, but by allowing multiple subjectivities to comingle and interrelate in unexpected, unresolvable ways. As with Los Angeles, Helter Skelter II refuses to be just one thing, and is ceaselessly in motion. Helter Skelter door found at Spahn Ranch.
Property from an Important Private Collection ○
25. Richard Diebenkorn
Untitled signed with the artist’s initials and dated “RD 82” lower lef. gouache, crayon and pasted paper on joined paper. 33 1/8 x 22 1/2 in. (84.1 x 57.2 cm.). Executed in 1982. Estimate $1,000,000-1,500,000
Provenance M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville (acquired from the above in May 1984) Their sale, Sotheby’s, New York, November 10, 2014, lot 7 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner Exhibited New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., Richard Diebenkorn, May 12 - 31, 1984, no. 23, p. 17 (illustrated, p. 11) Literature Gerald Nordland, Richard Diebenkorn: Revised and Expanded, New York, 1987, p. 243 (illustrated in progress in the artist’s studio) Jane Livingston and Andrea Liguori, eds., Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 4, New Haven, 2016, no. 4534 (illustrated, p. 355; illustrated in progress in the artist’s studio, pp. 334, 432)
Untitled, 1982, epitomizes the balance of controlled vision and intuitive spontaneity of the Ocean Park series for which Richard Diebenkorn has become known. Working in his preferred media at the time, Diebenkorn demarcated lines and planes in gouache and crayon, overlaying these with luminous painting and unpredictable breaks that reveal traces of his creative process. Untitled is dominated by deeply saturated blues, white and black, a palette that draws comparison to his large-scale paintings on the same theme. Untitled was formerly owned by Paul and Rachel Mellon, who acquired it in 1984, just two years afer its creation. The Mellons assembled one of the most signifcant American
“My idea was simply to get all the elements right. By that I mean everything: color, form, space, line, composition, what all this might add up to—everything at once.” Richard Diebenkorn
art collections of the 20th century and held several works by Diebenkorn, including other major examples of Ocean Park paintings on canvas and on paper. Breaking from the representational imagery that he had pursued since 1955, Diebenkorn began his Ocean Park works in 1967, naming them afer the Santa Monica neighborhood of his new studio, previously occupied by the painter Sam Francis. He would devote himself principally to the series for the next two decades, creating what would be celebrated as among the most signifcant abstract works of the later 20th century. Inspired by aerial views of the landscape throughout his career, the palette and structure of the radiant Ocean Park series was inspired by the light, water and atmosphere of Southern California. As he relayed, “I arrive at the light only afer painting in it, not by aiming at it” (Richard Diebenkorn, quoted in Michael Kimmelman, “A Life Outside”, The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1992, online). Diebenkorn’s architectonic rigor in this series coalesces with his use of luminous color and expressive application, drawing upon his admiration for the modernist masters Henri Matisse and Piet Mondrian as well as from his earlier experience painting in abstract expressionist and fgurative modes. The Ocean Park works inspired Diebenkorn to explore form and color through a diverse range of media. These interrogations led paper to become an essential aspect of his practice by 1970, a medium that would remain so for the rest of his career. Indeed, from 1980 through 1984, Diebenkorn abandoned painting on large-scale canvases, instead turning his attention almost exclusively to creating works on paper. According to curator Ruth Fine, “The Ocean Park works on paper parallel his canvases in the quest both to reveal his understanding of the world
Richard Diebenkorn in his Ashland and Main studio in Santa Monica, 1974. Photographed by Philip Brookman. Artwork © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
Henri Matisse, View of Notre Dame, 1914. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Far right: The present lot photographed in progress with Richard Diebenkorn at his Ocean Park studio in Santa Monica, 1982. Photograph by Hans Namuth © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate, Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Artwork © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
around him and to refne the world he was creating” (Ruth Fine in Jane Livingston and Andrea Liguori, eds., Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, New Haven, 2016, p. 136). Diebenkorn created the Ocean Park works on paper with an approach specifc to their medium and scale. As the artist noted, “A small canvas usually becomes for me an unfeasible miniature. Paper, I fnd, is something else, lending itself to the diferent scale” (Richard Diebenkorn, quoted in Drawings 1974–1984, exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1984, p. 77). His return to the Ocean Park works in the 1980s allowed Diebenkorn to extend his experiments with composition, and specifcally the morphology and signifcation of abstract shapes. In Untitled, Diebenkorn frst laid down rectangular bands and lines that he subsequently painted over, leaving them embedded in the work as palimpsests that he used to build up the overall composition. This is particularly evident in the upper third of the composition, where slackly curved lines are visible under washes of blue gouache. These lines are reinforced by gestural brushstrokes below that contrast with the work’s predominant rectilinearity. In its palette and use of visibly layered compositional elements, Untitled is strikingly reminiscent of Matisse’s groundbreaking View of Notre Dame, 1914, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Matisse’s art was central to Diebenkorn throughout the entirety of his career, with Susan Landauer observing that “even when looking at Matisse’s renowned innovations in
color, Diebenkorn focused on their unconventional spatial efects” (Susan Landauer, Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series, exh. cat., Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, 2011, p. 43). With his paintings on paper, Diebenkorn would ofen adjust the composition with additions of painted paper shapes that he would integrate during his creative process. According to Gerald Nordland, “when the artist occasionally found himself perplexed by a compositional knot in a work on paper, he would ofen prepare a patch of paper to cover the area, and permit himself to rethink it... The practice of pasting in a small area did not begin as a collage, but as the idea of trying out a color change, a compositional adjustment, or a new openness” (Gerald Nordland, Richard Diebenkorn, New York, 2001, p. 203). We see evidence of this process in the curving paper form that rounds the corner at the upper right, the white rectangle cut diagonally, and the irregular geometric shape painted in blue. Both refning the composition and remaining visible as a discrete marker of the artist’s intent, these paper additions evince the importance of process and contingency to Diebenkorn. Untitled is a pivotal example of the progress that curator John Elderfeld observed in Diebenkorn’s work of the time, in which “paintings, on canvas as well as paper, became tougher and bolder through the 1980s, more tolerant of discordant shapes, and more urgently vernacular in the form of the utterance” (John Elderfeld, Richard Diebenkorn, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1997, p. 113).
Property of an Important Private Collector, Europe ○
26. Frank Stella
Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum signed and dated “F. Stella ‘77” on the overlap; further signed, titled and dated “R SCRAMBLE: DESCENDING BLUE VALUES/ASCENDING SPECTRUM F. Stella ‘77” on the stretcher. acrylic on canvas. 69 x 69 in. (175.3 x 175.3 cm.). Painted in 1977. Estimate $2,500,000-3,500,000
Provenance Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles Private Collection, Los Angeles (acquired in 1988) Sotheby’s S|2, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited New York, Sotheby’s S|2, Stella: A Selling Exhibition, November 5 - December 4, 2015
The balance between precisely defned order and spectacular expression is strikingly realized in Frank Stella’s Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum, 1977. This dazzling painting ofers a composition that is resolutely symmetrical and stable in Stella’s repetition of squares and schematic placement of colors, but is simultaneously compelling in its dynamic space and mesmerizing prismatic gradations. Stella famously claimed: “What you see is what you see” – suggesting his systematic approach to non-representational abstraction. However, the artist also qualifed this statement by adding: “But the worthwhile qualities of painting are always going to be visual and emotional” (Frank Stella, quoted in William S. Rubin, Frank Stella, exh. cat., The Museum of
Modern Art, New York, 1970, p. 43). With its even painting and clear articulation of the canvas’s symmetry and geometric proportions, Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum follows the aesthetic methods to which Stella committed himself. It compellingly exhibits order – though not predictability – based on its composition but is also visually stunning in its color and dimensions. At nearly 6 feet across, this decisively abstract painting relates directly to human scale, encompassing the viewer and establishing an optically dazzling presence. Moving to New York in 1958, Stella reacted to Abstract Expressionism by extending these artists’ explorations of scale and abstract form, but rejecting gestural
Film still from Frank Stella’s production of Scramble, 1967. Directed by Merrill Brockway. Courtesy WNET-TV New York Archives. Artwork © 2019 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
improvisation and pictorial illusion. By doing so, he charted a new direction for nonrepresentational painting. In 1960, he laid out his philosophy of artmaking, discussing his approach to solving the problems he found inherent to painting: “I had to do something about relational painting, i.e. the balancing of the various parts of the painting with and against each other. The obvious answer was symmetry – make it the same all over. The question still remained, though, of how to do this in depth. A symmetrical image or confguration symmetrically placed on an open ground is not balanced out in the illusionistic space. The solution I arrived at, and there are probably quite a few, although I only know of one other, color density, forces illusionistic space out of the painting at constant intervals by using a regulated pattern” (Frank Stella, “The Pratt Lecture”, 1960 in Frank Stella: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2015, p. 153). Symmetry and repetition remained key to Stella’s exploration of the potentials of painting. Carrying through the approach that he had established in his early work, he used a house-painting brush to defne systematically painted lines of even widths in Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum, creating a visually powerful symmetrical composition that confrms the square shape of his canvas while employing color gradation to eliminate the illusion of spatial depth. Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum demonstrates the ways in which Stella remained faithful to his rigorous approach while extending its possibilities. An ingenious distillation of the artist’s creative philosophy, the Concentric Square paintings are among the most celebrated and recognizable body of work within Stella’s oeuvre. Examples of these paintings are represented in major public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Brighton Museum & Art Gallery; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; New Orleans Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Jasper Johns, Target, 1961. The Art Institute of Chicago, Image The Art Institute of Chicago/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Jasper Johns/ Licensed by VAGA, New York
Stella recommitted himself to his compelling Concentric Square series in the mid-1970s, extending an approach that he had frst developed in 1961. His return to square canvases occurred as he was beginning to produce complex relief works, revisiting his earlier format in a way that allowed him to judge the new directions in his practice. According to Stella, the Concentric Squares “became a sort of ‘control’ against which my increasing tendency in the seventies to be extravagant could be measured” (Frank Stella, quoted in William S. Rubin, Frank Stella 1970-1987, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1987, p. 48). Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum also represents a maturing of his style, as Stella explored new potentials of color and form within the parameters that he set himself. In his precisely defned Scramble works, he juxtaposes two systems of color in alternating concentric squares. Their title refers to the set that he designed for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s Scramble in 1967, for which strips of
Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-1943. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY
canvas in the colors of the spectrum were mounted on vertical frames and moved around the stage by the dancers. In the Scramble paintings, Stella established another sort of dynamism through color, juxtaposing a prismatic spectrum with gradations of a selected color, including green, yellow, orange, red, violet, and gray. For the present painting, he used the resplendent power of blue in a range of values, compelling us to judge its efects relative to the colors of the rainbow.
The title of Scramble: Descending Blue Values/ Ascending Spectrum announces the chromatic order of its composition, which Stella used to determine the colors of the painting’s squares with two competing, or scrambled, schema that alternate within the squares. One system – descending blue values – begins at the outermost square with a dark blue, becoming lighter as it moves in smaller squares toward the middle of the painting. The other system – an ascending spectrum – moves from the innermost square outward, going through the spectrum in sequence: violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Stella followed the logic of these sequential systems, creating a painting that is both systematic and entrancing, with its mesmerizing spatial and chromatic interplay of warm and cool colors. The evident incompatibility of the two scrambled systems is also fascinating – demonstrated particularly in the third square from the center, which Stella painted in a dark saturated blue (as determined by its place in the spectrum). This square is the same color and tone as the outermost square (as determined by value), creating an area in which the logic of one system contradicts the logic of the other. By placing these two chromatic systems in the same painting, they challenge the viewer to comprehend Stella’s logic, making its intriguing composition all the more compelling. Stella’s exploration of form and color ingeniously relates to the aesthetic strategies of both Color Field painting and those of Minimalism, though without adhering to the precepts of either movement. For instance, we might compare the present painting to Sol LeWitt’s systematic defnitions of color and form in his
“The concentric square is just a powerful pictorial image. It’s so good that you can use it, abuse it, and even work against it to the point of ignoring it. It has a strength that’s almost indestructible – at least for me. It’s one of those givens, and it’s very hard for me not to paint it.” Frank Stella
wall drawings. Whereas LeWitt regarded his art as conceptual, defning algorithmic instructions for making paintings that others could execute, Stella always painted his own works, understanding the painting process as integral to his work. As the artist explained, “to me, the thrill, or the meat of the thing, is the actual painting. I don’t get any thrill out of laying it out... I like the painting part, even when it’s difcult” (Frank Stella, quoted in William S. Rubin, Frank Stella, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1970, p. 37). Though geometric and unmodulated in application, Scramble: Descending Blue Values/ Ascending Spectrum clearly displays Stella’s emphasis on hand-painting. He defned its squares with crisp geometric lines and great precision, while avoiding being mechanical. Upon close inspection, his hand-painting process reveals itself in the concentric squares and the unpainted bands between them. The vivid hues of the present painting and their complex interactions corroborates Stella’s reputation as an inventive explorer of color and its visual efects. Paradoxically, however, he claimed not to be a colorist. According to Michael Auping, “Stella’s self-deprecating statement ‘I’m not a colorist’ refers to the fact that, for him, the function of color is not beauty, symbolism, or metaphor for its own sake. Within his abstractions, color is employed to manipulate our perception of space” (Michael Auping, “Phenomology of Frank”, in Frank Stella: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2015, p. 23). The astounding interrelations of color and space in Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum mark the success of Stella’s innovative approach to color and abstraction. Standing before Scramble: Descending Blue Values/ Ascending Spectrum, the viewer is confronted with the painting’s extraordinary hypnotic power, as its intense colors push and pull, receding and advancing in kaleidoscopic brilliance. At the same time, the rigor of his approach remains fully evident. Precisely defned by Stella through two systems of color into concentric squares, it is both dynamic and stable. Visibly and conceptually stunning, its compelling forms confrm him as one of the most original artists of our time.
Property of an Important Private Collector, Europe ○◆
27. Willem de Kooning
Untitled XVI signed “de Kooning” on the stretcher. oil on canvas. 60 1/8 x 53 7/8 in. (152.7 x 136.8 cm.). Painted in 1976. Estimate $8,000,000-12,000,000
Provenance Estate of the Artist Private Collection, New York Christie’s Private Sales, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Belgrade, Museum of Contemporary Art; Ljubljana, Museum of Modern Art; Bucharest, Romanian National Museum of Art; Warsaw, National Museum (illustrated, n.p.); Krakow, Branch Post; Helsinki National Museum of Art: Helsinki Kaupungin Taidekokoelmat (no. 8); Berlin, Amerika Haus; Alicante, Caja de Ahorros; Madrid, Fundación Juan March (no. 10); Oslo, Norwegian National Gallery of Art (no. 10); Dordrechts Museum (no. 10), Willem de Kooning: Painting and Sculpture, October 1, 1977 August 29, 1979 (with incorrect dimensions) Wassenaar, U.S. Embassy The Hague, February 1999 July 2000 (on extended loan) New York, Cheim & Read, Soutine and Modern Art: The New Landscape, The New Still Life, June 22 - September 9, 2006, n.p. (illustrated)
Riehen/Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Action Painting, January 27 - May 12, 2008, no. 82, p. 139 (illustrated) Kunsthal Rotterdam, Museum Minutes: Time and Energy for Art, September 29, 2012 - January 14, 2013 The Hague, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Transforming the Known, June 8 - September 29, 2013 New York, Lévy Gorvy, Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-Ki, January 18 - March 11, 2017, pp. 6, 60 (illustrated, p. 61; details illustrated, pp. 62-63) Literature Katherine Brooks, “‘Museum Minutes’: Kunsthal Rotterdam Makes Art Admiring A Little More Stimulating”, Hufpost, October 12, 2012, online (installation view illustrated) Ryan Lee Wong, “Two Men and a Show”, The New York Times Style Magazine, November 15, 2016, online (illustrated)
Masterful in its dynamic brushwork and energetic composition Untitled XVI, 1976, exemplifes Willem de Kooning’s work at the height of his prowess as a painter. Fully employing the luscious tactility of oil paint, he flled the entirety of his canvas with visceral brushstrokes that merge into a vibrant union of shapes and surfaces. De Kooning’s gestures range in size, texture, and direction, coalescing into an inspired balance between control and chaos. With a strong palette dominated by white, black and red, de Kooning kept his colors rich and varied, blending their tones with both subtlety and considerable visual impact. The painted passages of Untitled XVI evoke a churning seascape, immersing the viewer into a stunning abstraction which channels the gray light of the North Atlantic as it illuminates the roiling waves breaking onto the shore with tremendous velocity and inefable rhythms, while also suggesting a fgural presence.
Wassily Kandinsky, Composition, 1911. Photo credit © DeA Picture Library/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
Held in only two private collections since its creation in 1976, Untitled XVI, has been exhibited widely around
the world over the past four decades. It was frst featured in Willem de Kooning: Painting and Sculpture, a major international traveling exhibition organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and the United States International Communications Agency in 1977. Touring for two years throughout continental Europe, it traveled to museums in places such as Yugoslavia, Poland, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands. More recently, the present work was included in the innovative exhibition Museum Moments: Time and Energy for Art, 2012, held at the Kunsthal Rotterdam. In 2017, Untitled XVI was exhibited in a museum-quality show celebrating the work of two great painters, de Kooning and his Chinese contemporary Zao Wou-Ki, to inaugurate Lévy Gorvy’s opening in New York.
Willem de Kooning in his studio in East Hampton, New York, March 26, 1978. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images, Artwork © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
De Kooning had relocated to Springs on Long Island’s East End permanently in 1963, leaving behind the intensity of New York City. Designing a spacious new studio, the artist immersed himself in the bucolic, and decidedly rural, coastal landscape. Over the next two decades, he would engage with a pastoral mode very diferent from the urban themes and women featured in his previous paintings. It took some time living there for his environs to make a substantial impact on his work, however. “When I moved into this house”, de Kooning observed in 1976, “everything seemed self-evident. The space, the light, the trees – I just accepted it without thinking about it much. Now I look around with new eyes. I think it’s all a kind of miracle” (Willem de Kooning, quoted in Marla Prather, Willem de Kooning: Paintings, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art,
Jackson Pollock, Phosphorescence, 1947. Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, Photo credit: Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 PollockKrasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Washington, D.C., 1994, p. 197). By the mid-1970s, the artist fully brought the spirit of the area’s land, sea, and light into his paintings. Indeed, the unique light of the North Atlantic coast pervades Untitled XVI, its richly varied tones suggesting the unbridled movements of air and water along the coastline. Untitled XVI ofers an extraordinary demonstration of de Kooning’s artistic boldness at a high point in his career, as he renewed his commitment to painting afer
devoting signifcant eforts to sculpture and lithography in the early 1970s. The resultant body of works that he produced from 1975 through 1977 are among his most renowned, both critically and in the marketplace – his auction records since 2006 have been works from this period. During this era, the artist, then in his seventh decade, brought his accumulated powers as a painter to bear on a series of abstract paintings that responded brilliantly to the pastoral Long Island landscape. Presenting the frst of these paintings in the fall of 1975 with the gallerist Xavier Fourcade, followed by subsequent exhibitions in 1976 and 1977, this astounding series of work received wide critical praise. As David Sylvester summarized: “It came, with the artist in his mid-seventies, as the climax of a period in which the paintings – most of them landscapes of the body, some purely macrocosmic landscapes – with their massively congested, deeply luminous color, their contrasts between fowing and broken forms, attain at their best a total painterliness in which marks and image coalesce completely and every inch of the canvas quivers with teeming energy. They belong with the paintings made at the same age by artists such as Monet and Renoir and Bonnard and, of course, Titian. The paint is freely, loosely, messily handled, sometimes with fngers rather than a brush or knife. Blurred forms loom up, ofen in extreme close-up, simultaneously adumbrated and dissolved by the paint” (David Sylvester, “When body, mind and paint dissolve”, The Independent, February 15, 1995, online). A master of abstraction, de Kooning evokes the ever-changing elements of land, sky, and sea without literal depiction or, indeed, without adhering to the conventions of landscape representation. According to Carter Ratclif, de Kooning’s “whites have the shimmer of the sun careening of a gently rippled ocean. Though form is impacted here, this produces no harsh tensions, only the intensity of a scene so rich with shape and texture that it threatens to drown the eye” (Carter Ratclif, “Willem de Kooning and the Question of Style”,
“De Kooning’s paintings of the 1970s are an annihilation of distance. The close-ups are about closeness, a consuming closeness. These paintings are crystallizations of the experience and amazement of having body and mind dissolve into another who is all delight.” David Sylvester, About Modern Art: Critical Essays 1948-1996, London, 2001, pp. 349-350
in Willem de Kooning: The North Atlantic Light, 1960-1983, exh. cat., Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1983, p. 22). This is certainly the case with Untitled XVI, in which the artist’s powerful brushwork and nuanced colors creates a painterly analogue for the dynamics of natural forces in a way that brings to mind the seascapes of J.M.W. Turner. As he relayed in an interview with Harold Rosenberg: “I wanted to get in touch with nature. Not painting scenes from nature, but to get a feeling of that light that was very appealing to me, here particularly... When the light hits the ocean there is kind of grey light on the water... Indescribable tones, almost. I started working with them and insisted that they would give me the kind of light I wanted... I refected upon the refections on the water, like the fshermen do” (Willem de Kooning, quoted in Harold Rosenberg, “Interview with Willem de Kooning”, Artnews 71, no. 5, September 1972, pp. 56-57). While the composition of Untitled XVI suggests the dynamics of the land and sea, its varied red tones also coalesce into fesh-like pinks and contours that hint at human presence. “Flesh was the reason why oil painting was invented”, de Kooning once proclaimed (Willem de Kooning, quoted in Thomas Hess, “The Renaissance and Order” in Willem de Kooning, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1968, p. 142). Without forming distinct anatomical references, Untitled XVI still manages to evoke bodily presence,
part of the ongoing oscillation between abstraction and fguration that can be found throughout de Kooning’s oeuvre. The sensuality of his facture also suggests the infuence of Chaim Soutine, whom he admired for his ability to infuse paint with the sense
Willem de Kooning, Untitled XIX, 1977. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“I get the paint right on the surface. Nobody else can do that.” Willem de Kooning
of fesh. In addition, de Kooning’s style emphasizes painting’s pliability as a medium, bringing to mind the gestural fguration of the sculptures that preceded this body of works. In his studio, de Kooning surrounded himself with these paintings, reacting to them as a group as he worked, and built on their innovations as they progressed. The artist began the mid-1970s abstractions by covering the canvases with lead white, then sanding them down to give those supports a tremendous luminosity. Blending his oil paint with water, safower oil and kerosene, he varied its viscosity to achieve the consistency he desired, as seen in the lustrous painted surface in Untitled XVI. The resultant depth of colors and range of facture are unparalleled. The artist asserted: “I get the paint right on the surface. Nobody else can do that” (Willem de Kooning, quoted in Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master, New York, 2004, p. 562). The brushes and other tools de Kooning used to paint were no less unconventional. As John Russell reported afer visiting the artist, “People ofen think that a great painter has to have great brushes, and it’s true that some of them insist on hair so fne that it could put the silkworms out of business. But de Kooning uses (apart from knives and spatulas) everyday housepainters’ brushes that come in a ‘Pak-o-Four’ for $1.49. He also has devices of his own invention—pullings and tuggings and overlayings—for the perfecting of the licked look that
gives so sumptuous a consistency to his recent paintings” (John Russell, “De Kooning: ‘I See the Canvas and I Begin’”, The New York Times, February 5, 1978, online). This sumptuousness is evident in the intense passages that emerge from the painting’s center and sides, where de Kooning’s robust brushstrokes twist and turn into spatially complex layers of intense color and emergent form. Throughout his career, de Kooning repeatedly proved himself to be a protean artist, continually reinventing himself while maintaining a continuity of aesthetic concerns. With his paintings from the era of Untitled XVI, he reinvigorated his practice, incorporating his unique approach to gestural abstraction with a new pastoral subject, creating a breathtaking topography of form within a single canvas. Drawing on a life-long commitment to process and form, he found new freedom in this late era, producing truly groundbreaking paintings. “De Kooning redefned the pastoral tradition in an original way”, summarized his biographers, Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan. “He found a means, at last, to unite the fgure and the landscape into an ideal image that he could believe in... He presented the fgures in the landscape – rather than from without. He was not the outsider who surveys the ideal scene from afar. He had passed through the looking glass; he created, as he put it, ‘a feeling of being on the other side of nature’” (Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan, de Kooning: An American Master, New York, 2004, p. 571).
28. David Hockney
Iris with Evian Bottle signed, titled and dated “Iris with Evian bottle 1996 David Hockney” on the reverse. oil on canvas. 31 3/4 x 25 5/8 in. (80.7 x 65 cm.). Painted in 1996. Estimate $2,000,000-3,000,000
Provenance Annely Juda Fine Art, London Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1997 Exhibited London, Annely Juda Fine Art, David Hockney: Flowers, Faces and Spaces, May 1 - July 19, 1997, n.p. (illustrated in the artist’s studio; installation view illustrated; illustrated) Humlebæk, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, The Flower as Image, September 10, 2004 - January 16, 2005, no. 37, pp. 9, 93 (illustrated, p. 8); then traveled as Riehen/Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Blumenmythos, Van Gogh bis Jef Koons / Flower Myth, Vincent van Gogh to Jef Koons, February 27 - May 22, 2005, no. 64, p. 195 (illustrated, p. 159)
With its exuberant palette and lively composition, Iris with Evian Bottle, 1996, is a prime example of David Hockney’s innovations in still life painting. Its vibrant forms demonstrate his extraordinary creativity and sustained engagement with the history of art. This painting has remained in the same private collection since it was purchased from Hockney’s memorable Flowers, Faces and Spaces exhibition at Annely Juda
Fine Art in 1997. In 2004, it was featured in The Flower as Image, a major group show at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, which then traveled to Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, that explored the signifcance of foral subjects in modern art. Iris with Evian Bottle epitomizes Hockney’s commitment to working from observation as well as his painterly invention, a creative balance between representation and abstraction that has positioned him among the most renowned painters working today. Throughout his career, Hockney has turned to traditional artistic subjects—landscapes, interiors, portraits, fgure studies, and still lifes—to reimagine and renew his decidedly contemporary practice. Still life has always been an important focus for Hockney, from his Pop works of the 1960s, to the precise realism of his paintings from the 1960s and 1970s, his intriguing photocollages and colorful abstractions from the 1980s and 1990s, and the digital works he made on iPhones and iPads in the 2000s. Still life has allowed him to continually refresh his vision. “I think every artist who deals with the visible world must come back to them”, he has said. “You begin to see how many choices you can make in even these simple things right in front of you. How exciting they are” (David Hockney, quoted in Piet de Jonge, “Interview with David Hockney” in David Hockney: Paintings and Photographs of Paintings, exh. cat., Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1995, p. 34).
Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait, 1889. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Image Art Resource, NY
Claude Monet, Irises, circa 1914–1917. National Gallery, London, Photo © National Gallery, London/ Art Resource, NY
of blue and representation of light are reminiscent of Vermeer’s most treasured compositions, such as Girl with a Wine Glass, 1659-1660, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig. With sensitive brushstrokes, Hockney painted the drip-like refections of light and the swelling curves of the Evian bottle, conveying his careful observations of luminous refraction where the iris stems enter the water through subtle breaks of line and shifs in color. Though separated by three centuries, both Hockney and Vermeer demonstrated tremendous command of their medium and a compelling ability to depict observed forms through the rich colors of oil paint. Spurred by Vermeer and others, Hockney’s interests in representation and the use of optical devices would culminate four years later in his book Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters.
In 1996, Hockney embarked on a compelling series of still life paintings afer attending a Johannes Vermeer retrospective at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Reacting strongly to the exhibition, he noted: “What so impressed me about the Vermeers was the condition and the vibrancy of the colour... Seeing how Vermeer handled his paint, and beyond that how he controlled the light on to his subjects, sent me back into the studio with tremendous energy” (David Hockney, quoted in Paul Joyce, Hockney on Art, London, 1999, p. 206). Stirred by the Dutch master’s paintings, he situated himself at a far end of his studio where the north light entered the space in precisely the right way. Hockney’s inspiration by Vermeer’s work can clearly be seen in Iris with Evian Bottle, in which his bold use
Throughout his career, Hockney has also been motivated by the expressive style of another Dutch master – Vincent van Gogh. Among van Gogh’s most revered works are his paintings of irises that he produced while in Saint-Rémy during 1889 and 1890. Hockney’s ingenious use of color, space, and brushwork in Iris with Evian Bottle suggest his study of van Gogh’s Irises, 1890, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Inspired by his predecessor, Hockney emphasized the vibrant purples of the iris petals, which contrast with the variegated greens of their stems. Dramatizing the vibrant growth of the fowers by spreading them across his composition in multiple directions, he also adapted van Gogh’s revolutionary use of shallow space, creating a textured ground of electric blue that indicates a table and walls. Hockney modulated the painting’s surface with directional brushstrokes that enliven his composition, ingeniously drawing attention to the forms of the fowers and the water bottle.
“You begin to see how many choices you can make in even these simple things right in front of you. How exciting they are.” David Hockney
The present lot photographed in David Hockney’s Los Angeles studio, 1996. Photographed by Richard Schmidt, Steven Oliver, and David Hubbard, Artworks © 2019 David Hockney
By establishing visual and conceptual contrasts between the irises and the Evian bottle, Hockney was able to radically update the classic still life for the modern world. In an ingenious nod to the Old Dutch Masters’ inclusion of Delfware with tulips in their still lifes, Hockney here juxtaposes the natural beauty of the fowers with the artifcial banality of the plastic water bottle. Though he draws attention to the material diferences of the objects, he unifed the painting by treating both elements with equal levels of detail and attention. Indeed, the sensitive brushstrokes that defne the curves of the Evian bottle
are compellingly balanced by the vibrant energy of the iris petals. As Christopher Knight has noted about the artist’s work using an apt foral analogy: “Hockney flls his work with sensual surfaces and seductive visual information, ofen plucked whole from a variety of sources” (Christopher Knight, “Composite Views: Themes and Motifs in Hockney’s Art”, in David Hockney: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1988, p. 36). This is certainly the case with the dynamic composition, striking colors, and careful observations of form in Iris with Evian Bottle.
This selection of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the Collection of Matt Dike not only provides insights into the artist’s practice, it also puts the extraordinary legacy of Matt Dike into the spotlight. DJ-extraordinaire and co-founder of the legendary West Coast label Delicious Vinyl, Dike is widely celebrated as transforming the L.A. music scene within the course of a single decade. Paving the way for the explosion of hip hop in the 1990s, Dike was behind such hits as Tone Loc’s Wild Thing, Young MC’s Bust A Move and the Beastie Boys’ groundbreaking album Paul’s Boutique. Having moved to Los Angeles from New York in 1980, Dike’s adept ear, sampling skills and encyclopedic knowledge of music made him an extraordinary club DJ. It was on the strength of Dike’s DJ-ing that the impromptu parties he initiated with Jon Sidel in the mid-1980s coalesced into the notorious Power Tools club, which attracted the likes of Andy Warhol and David Bowie. In 1987, Dike closed Power Tools and cofounded Delicious Vinyl with Michael Ross, a fellow hip hop afcionado whom he had met in his early twenties at the legendary Rhythm Room. Working from Dike’s apartment, the upstart label quickly made hip hop history by championing artists from the streets. The works from the collection of Matt Dike speak of the intense bond Dike and Basquiat shared in life, as in work. Dike had frst met Basquiat in the late 1970s at a party in the infamous Weinstein dormitory at NYU, where the record label Def Jam would be founded. If Basquiat was then still an underground artist emblazoning the streets with his unique grafti under the pseudonym SAMO, playing music with his band “Gray” and DJing Manhattan clubs, by the time
he and Dike met again he had been catapulted to art world fame. It was in the spring of 1982, when Basquiat traveled to Los Angeles for his frst solo show at Gagosian Gallery, that the two met again. Dike – then working at the gallery during the day – became Basquiat’s designated chaufeur and eventually his studio assistant. In fact, afer the remarkable work Self-Portrait, 1983, was created by Basquiat, it was moved to the studio of Matt Dike where it would remain. Dike forged an intense and lasting friendship with Basquiat over the years – perhaps no surprise given their shared sensibilities. Basquiat possessed a remarkably encyclopedic knowledge of music, approaching his medium of painting and drawing with a sampling approach indebted to jazz, bebop and hip hop. Basquiat frequently stayed at Dike’s Hollywood apartment/recording studio during his visits to L.A. The works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the Collection of Matt Dike not only ofer long overdue insights into the crucial role Dike played in Basquiat’s life and career, they also provide an apt lens to reconsider Basquiat’s story as a truly bicoastal one – one in which Los Angeles ofered the artist the freedom and the inspiration he sought while grappling with the pressures of fame and success. Dike, at the height of his own incredible success, retreated from public life to his Echo Park home – leaving Delicious Vinyl and relinquishing sole ownership to Mike Ross in 1992. He never parted with the works by Basquiat in his collection, which today ofer us intriguing insights into the whirlwind decade of the 1980s.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session Wednesday, May 15 at 11am Lots 151–154 151. Untitled (Red/Black Figure), 1982 152. Untitled (Standing Male Figure), 1982–1983 153. Untitled (Figure with Blue Head), 1983 154. Untitled (Insect Order), 1982–1983
29. Jean-Michel Basquiat
Self Portrait oil, acrylic, oilstick, graphite and pen on paper collage on wood with metal attachments, in 2 parts. lef panel 79 5/8 x 29 3/4 x 5 1/2 in. (202.2 x 75.6 x 14 cm.), right panel 96 3/4 x 34 x 2 in. (245.7 x 86.4 x 5.1 cm.). Executed in 1983, this work is accompanied by a certifcate of authenticity from the Authentication Committee of the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Estimate $9,000,000-12,000,000
Provenance Matt Dike (acquired directly from the artist) Thence by descent to the present owner Literature Tamra Davis, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”, July 21, 2010, 1:30:23, 1:30:36, video (illustrated in progress) Jessica Rew et. al., “Delicious Vinyl x Tamra Davis”, July 27, 2017, 0:45, 1:08, 1:25, 1:36, 1:51, video (1988 footage illustrated with Matt Dike and Mike Ross)
TO REPEL GHOSTS Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Self Portrait, 1983
By Fred Hofman, PhD
As one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s most compelling depictions of himself, Self Portrait, 1983 presents a metaphysical subject on two related panels. The full-length representation of the artist is juxtaposed with an adjacent panel portraying both his personal incantation, “To Repel Ghosts”, and his characterization of the passage from the material to the eternal. Self Portrait is unique, having been executed on two found doors, one which also includes an attached plywood panel. This singular painting was executed in Venice, California sometime in 1983 at New City Editions, the print studio where Basquiat produced his now acclaimed silkscreen works, Tuxedo, 1983, Untitled, 1983 and Back of the Neck, 1983. The creation of this painting is recorded in flmmaker Tamra Davis’ acclaimed documentary, The Radiant Child, possibly the only extant flm documentation of Basquiat working on a painting.
Fred Hofman, PhD, worked closely with Jean-Michel Basquiat during the artist’s residency in Venice, California in the early 1980s. He has written extensively on Basquiat’s practice, most recently authoring The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, published in 2017.
As conveyed to the author by Tamra Davis, afer having completed the work, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Tamra Davis moved the work to the studio of Matt Dike in West Hollywood. The work is also documented in Tamra Davis’ 1988 promotional video for Matt Dike’s record label Delicious Vinyl, in which Matt Dike and his business partner Mike Ross are flmed sitting on a couch with Self Portrait in the background.
Matt Dike with a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984. Photo © Brad Branson Photography Estate, Artwork © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Matt Dike frst met Jean-Michel Basquiat at a party at New York University in the late 1970s. In 1982 Matt Dike was the 21-year-old gallery assistant at Gagosian Gallery in West Hollywood. His interest in both art and
music led to his friendship with Tamra Davis, then the young gallery assistant at Ulrike Kantor Gallery also in West Hollywood. When Larry Gagosian invited Jean-Michel Basquiat to live and work in his new Venice residence, Larry suggested to Matt and Tamra that they get together with Jean-Michel, knowing that the young artist would enjoy hanging out with two people of his own generation. Both of them quickly bonded with Basquiat, spending time with him in his new studio, equally exploring and having fun around Los Angeles. Dike soon became Basquiat’s go-to assistant in his studio. As documented in recently discovered photos taken by Brian Williams in early 1983, Dike worked closely with Basquiat as he prepared for his April exhibition at Gagosian Gallery. Later that year, when Basquiat moved into his own studio, also on Market Street in Venice, Dike was part of the crew who assisted the artist with the production of his silkscreen-based paintings. This is documented in the wonderful photo taken in the Venice studio of Dike standing alongside one of the 1984 silkscreen paintings in progress. While Dike played an important role in Basquiat’s Venice studio production, the young painter equally found his way into Dike’s music world, regularly hanging out and spinning records with the soon to become hip hop record producer at the club Power Tools located in Central Los Angeles.
Matt Dike and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Los Angeles, circa 1986. Photo by Salomon Emquies.
On Basquiat’s Self Portraiture Self Portrait is one of the most compelling portraits Basquiat rendered. In its scale, it is rivaled by only one work, Basquiat’s heroic depiction of himself as a full-length black man, his lef hand holding at arrow in a gesture of pride and dignity set against a background of abstract passages of paint, intermixed with marginal references to the urban milieu. First exhibited in the artist’s debut one-person exhibition in New York, the work announced Basquiat as a new and authoritative voice in the contemporary art world. Painted approximately one year later, Self Portrait is signifcantly diferent. It is the frst, and retrospectively, the most important self-portrait presented as a multi-part structure. Here the artist’s self-image is countered by a compendium panel conveying insight into not only how the artist viewed himself, but also his larger “world view”. While Basquiat would explore a formal structure of dichotomy in other self-portraits, such as the 1985 two-part painting in which the head-torso image of the artist is juxtaposed with a second panel comprised of six
Matt Dike and Jean-Michel Basquiat hanging artwork in Basquiat’s studio in Larry Gagosian’s home, Venice, California, 1982. Photograph courtesy of Brian Williams. Artwork © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
vertical rows of bottle caps adhered to a wooden panel, Self Portrait is still the largest and most complex multi-faceted self-portrait in the artist’s oeuvre. Basquiat’s rendering of his head in Self Portrait is consistent with many of the artist’s other self-portraits, such as Untitled, 1960, a work that the artist retained for his personal collection and which is documented in Tseng Kwong Chi’s memorable 1987 photograph of Basquiat crouched on a box in front of a grouping of
paintings including a portrait of the artist by Andy Warhol. Another example is the rendering of the head in the 1985 painting/construction Untitled. What most of Basquiat’s self-portraits share is the generalized manner in which the artist has captured his own key facial features such as the eyes and mouth. In the Venice self-portrait, the rendering of his eyes is especially haunting. Painted in a cool grey-white, Basquiat’s eyes block interior penetration, almost functioning as the exterior-directed glow of a machine whose rays pulsate out into the realm of the viewer. The somewhat harsh, clearly confrontational efect of these eyes, which is only enhanced by similar treatment of the mouth, is made even more haunting as they are now part of a full-length fgure depicted on an object conveying the reality of our daily-lived experience. Separating itself from almost all other self-portraits is Basquiat’s treatment of the fgure’s chest as well as the lower portion of his fgure. He has outlined portions of the ribs as well as a small segment of the spinal column in the same grey-white pigment. Basquiat has essentially X-rayed himself, revealing his internal channel of energy. While the chest cavity is more or less an accurate representation of this portion of the human
Robert Rauschenberg, Bed, 1955. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
anatomy, the suggestion of skin and muscle encasing both arms is not apparent; these limbs having been reduced down to the bone. Setting this fgure even further apart from his other self-portraits is the artist’s treatment of his lower limbs and pelvic region. Again, portraying what is beneath both skin and muscle, Basquiat has depicted his right hip/pelvic bone in profle, as well as his extended, fully exposed femur bone. This treatment of the fgure’s lower extremities reminds us of the artist’s continued fascination with both Gray’s Anatomy and the anatomical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Equally relevant is what Basquiat has not included: both his fbula and tibia bones and any suggestion of the foot. Further distinguishing this fgure, the artist has lef a virtual void in the place where we would expect to fnd the lower lef portions of his anatomy. In place of the lower lef region Basquiat has painted a red linear-shaped form, presumably his means of depicting the passage of vitally circulating blood from his heart to the region of his lower limbs. Basquiat’s inclusion of a bloodline leaves no mistake that the fgure depicted is a fully functioning human being. “To Repel Ghosts” What makes Self Portrait most unique in Basquiat’s oeuvre is the artist’s juxtaposition of an image of himself with the second panel full of symbolic imagery conveying both a personal narrative and larger world-view. In the lower portion of the second door, Basquiat collaged two original graphite and ink drawings. The drawing to the lef presents an array of
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1983. Private Collection, Photo Credit Banque d’Images, ADAGP/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
text references to our lives and our world, including sodium water copper, pine tree, silver, mexico, information, billion quality and moose. The second accompanying drawing is unique in Basquiat’s oeuvre: a dense, seemingly non-directional map, a frenetic linear cacophony of lines suggesting movement through a maze executed in the unusual medium of a rolling ballpoint pen. Together these two works on paper collaged onto the picture support literally “ground” the work, capturing aspects of how we navigate, what we uncover and what we experience. Immediately above these two images, Basquiat has layered abstract passages of bright, colorful paint. We know that this portion of the work is in fact the result of multiple paint applications from the evidence provided in the flm The Radiant Child, in which Davis captures Basquiat laying down an initial layer of both text and imagery in this section of the composition. As the flm footage shows, he began this part of his work with the letters nit below which he seems to have repeated the same letters and then partially painted them out. To the immediate right he possibly wrote the word (or name) dogen, having made this reference unclear by the painting over of the d. More revealing, directly below, Basquiat began to depict a human head with the outline of two large, almond shaped eyes. In the fnal painting, what remains from these initial pictorial actions are two haunting eyes peering through a rich passage of colorful green, red, orange and brown layers of paint. These pentimenti deliver Basquiat’s intended result of portraying the haunting presence of a personage coming forth from a distant place, another world. They remind us of other examples of Basquiat integration of imagery from the underpainting into a “fnal” image. Interestingly, in another example of this pictorial strategy, Masonic Lodge, painted around the same time as Self Portrait, a number of ghost-like human heads emerge out of the background and into the viewer’s realm. But Basquiat does not stop with these subtle and mysterious references to another reality. Partially covered over by his rich pictorial paint application, yet equally legible, the artist has painted the words to repel ghosts ©”. This is Basquiat’s earliest reference to this phrase, which he would later repeat in a select few other works, and which has become synonymous with Basquiat’s declaration of his own identity. Positioned halfway between his drawings of a map, a mixed assortment of material references, and the top portion of the work, an additional wooden panel with the images of spaceships, a
ladder and forms suggestive of natural vegetation (possibly tree branches), Basquiat’s incantation functions as a declaration of a rite of passage. The ever insightful and masterful Basquiat enhances this conclusion with the subtle addition of a thin red vertical line starting below one of the two collaged drawings, passing both through and across the central passages of paint and running up to, and virtually touching his assorted symbolic references to transcendence. The Artist’s Ascendance The imagery depicted on this attached upper wood panel is Basquiat’s means of declaring ascent, not merely something physical (the spaceships), but something psycho-spiritual—a transcendence, a liberation from the confnes of one’s worldly experience. This was a central theme for the artist, something that he explored throughout his short career as a painter. In this light the artist’s usage of two doors as his picture support must be viewed as much more than the act of bringing the outside world into the studio. While Basquiat’s act may be considered a new contribution to a postwar artistic practice (in the lineage with Rauschenberg’s Bed), it is much more. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s presentation of his monumental self portrait on two found doors reveals a highly considered and insightful understanding that the doors themselves signify the portal between these two realms of experience. Jean-Michel Basquiat integrated the subject of transcendence into many of his most important artistic contributions. It underlies works as diverse as Untitled, 1981, Broad Collection, Notary, 1983, Schorr Collection, Tuxedo, 1983, and Pegassus, 1987. In each of these works Basquiat alludes to the transformative
Below: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Back of the Neck, 1983. Private Collection, Photo © Christie’s Images/Bridgeman Images, Artwork © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Opposite: Tseng Kwong Chi photograph of Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York, 1987. Photograph by Tseng Kwong Chi. © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc. New York. Artwork © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Self Portrait, 1983 announces that the world we inhabit opens onto another, that the image of the earthly gives way to the heavenly, the miraculous. What could convey the world of our earth-bound existence more convincingly than the matter-of-factness of two common doors?” Fred Hofman, PhD
experience—a rite of passage from the transitory nature of phenomenal experience to the realization of a more fundamental state of being. Throughout Basquiat’s short career, he continually sought out new means of capturing this dichotomy, the duality of flesh and spirit, the play between god and law. In Self Portrait Basquiat captures this same expression in diferent ways. For one, he juxtaposes a full-length portrait of himself with a second panel that essentially serves as a “roadmap” from earth to heaven. Equally notable, and in many ways separating itself from Basquiat’s other depictions of the dichotomy of flesh and spirit, the right half of Self Portrait declares that this rite of passage “moves” from our comings and goings in the material world into an encounter with our demons, our ghosts—those forces that continually weigh on us and limit recognition of a truer sense of self. This right panel of Self Portrait was for Basquiat a Rosetta Stone, his means of capturing the stages of life, the path toward liberation. Not unlike Dante’s Divine Comedy, a text which Basquiat must have considered (as it clearly underlies portions of Untitled, 1984-1987, a work also depicted in the background of the previously referred to Tseng Kwong Chi photo of Basquiat in his studio), the artist’s declaration to repel ghosts was his means of expressing a decent into hell. Like Dante, Self Portrait portrays a journey. That this is Basquiat’s journey is made explicit by his depiction of himself on one panel of the painting. The journey begins as a twisting passage © Fred Hofman/2019
through the muck of the here and now. Not only has the artist alluded to this in the two collaged drawings, but the fact that the picture support for this work is an object from our daily lived experience, gives additional credence to Basquiat’s subject. As the right panel continues to suggest, we are lead from the world of our observations to an encounter with our fears—those aspects of one’s life that are haunting and threatening. Only then, as Basquiat portrays, are we capable to repel ghosts. Basquiat characterizes this passage as an ascent, a rite of passage from adversity to the recognition of a truer sense of self. Supporting this conclusion, in a later, 1985 painting Basquiat returns to this iconography, depicting a head/torso image in profle with the text autoportrait © beneath, above which he has written inside a diamond-shaped form the word heaven ©. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life was short, and his career as an artist only ten years. It is hard to understand how this young man could create the number of important contributions to 20th century art that he did. Even more impressive is Basquiat’s awareness and sophisticated interpretation of his world. He must have been aware of his unique gif long before he began his practice as an artist. By the time of his frst one-person exhibition, the depth of his insight was apparent. His themes had profound meaning, were rendered with a mature artist’s recognition of traditions and techniques that had gone before him; Basquiat leapt forth with a totally new voice. Like the spiritual masters, Basquiat seemed to possess an understanding of fundamental truths.
30. Keith Haring
and LA II (Angel Ortiz) b. 1967 Untitled (Two-Panel Mural) signed and dated “AUG. 1 - 1982 ⊕ K. Haring Angel Ortiz” on the reverse. marker and Sumi ink on foamcore. 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm.). Executed on August 1, 1982. Estimate $700,000-900,000
Provenance Private Collection, Berlin Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Keith Haring (with LA II), October 9 – November 13, 1982 (illustrated with Keith Haring & LA II on exhibition announcement card) Reading Public Museum, Keith Haring: Journey of the Radiant Baby, February 18 - August 6, 2006, pl. 4, p. 86 (illustrated, p. 63)
New York, Venus Over Manhattan, The Art of Collaboration, September 17 - October 27, 2018 This work has been requested for inclusion in Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Basquiat and Rammellzee, April 5 August 2, 2020 Literature Tony Shafrazi et. al., Keith Haring, New York, 1982, n.p. (illustrated with Keith Haring & LA II) Jefrey Deitch, Suzanne Geiss and Julia Gruen, Keith Haring, New York, 2008, p. 191 (illustrated in progress)
“Meshing Madison Avenue and Walt Disney with systemic and contextual art, and laying it all onto a grafti beat, Haring is creating more than good paintings and drawings. He’s not just making art; he’s communicating in a totally contemporary way.” Jefrey Deitch, “Why the Dogs are Barking” in Tony Shafrazi et. al., Keith Haring, New York, 1982, p. 20
Keith Haring, Untitled, 1982 (detail). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/ Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © The Keith Haring Foundation
“The Flying Saucer appeared, zapping animals in a feld, transferring some extraterrestrial force to the animal world. From the animal, the Flying Saucer zapped faceless humans. . . They became energy sources. Then the kid happened. Maybe the kid is radiating energy that had been zapped down to earth by the Flying Saucer.” Keith Haring
Keith Haring, UNTITLED, 1982. Private Collection, Artwork © The Keith Haring Foundation
Keith Haring and LA II, New York, 1982. Artwork © The Keith Haring Foundation
31. Donald Judd
Untitled stamped with the artist’s name, fabricator, number and date “JO JUDD BERNSTEIN BROS INC. 87-33” on the reverse. anodized aluminum. 6 1/8 x 110 3/4 x 6 in. (15.6 x 281.3 x 15.2 cm.). Executed in 1987. Estimate $1,250,000-1,750,000
Provenance Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
With its compelling structural clarity and chromatic brilliance, untitled, 1987, exemplifes Donald Judd’s achievements as a colorist. Composed of anodized aluminum, untitled is defned by the artist’s juxtaposition of red and magenta, a striking variation of a palette that he revisited throughout his career, including in his frst examples from this body of work. A wall-mounted piece that Judd defned as a progression, its composition is based on a pre-determined mathematical ratio. Here, a red rectangular aluminum tube defnes its nine-foot length, with a series of fve magenta boxes below it arranged in a reversal pattern wherein the length of the boxes double in one direction while the intervals between them double in the other direction. Upon viewing the present work from its side, it becomes clear that the long red tube is hollow and cradled by the L-shaped magenta forms, achieving an integration of color, volume, and space.
“Color is like material. It is one way or another, but it obdurately exists.” Donald Judd
The chromatic intensity of the red and magenta in the present work highlights the vitality of color in Judd’s oeuvre. Color was an important part of his practice, to the extent that in 1989, he declared: “It’s best to consider everything as color” (Donald Judd, quoted in David Batchelor, Donald Judd, exh. cat., Tate Modern, London, 2004, p. 74). Deeply infuenced by the systematic painterly investigations of color by fgures including Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers, his works ofen feature strong hues. Judd was fascinated by red – cadmium red in particular. Discussing his interest in red, he noted that “I thought for a color it had the right value for a three-dimensional object”, and that it “seems to be the only color that really makes an object sharp and defnes its contours and angles”
Donald Judd in Marfa, Texas, 1982. Photo courtesy of the James Dearing Judd Foundation Archives/Art Resource, NY
Donald Judd, Untitled, 1965. Collection Pheonix Art Museum, Gif of Howard and Jean Lipman, Artwork © 2019 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
(Donald Judd, quoted in John Coplans, Don Judd, exh. cat., Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, 1971, p. 25). Judd sought to clearly defne volumetric form, not only through his work’s structure, but also through its color. In addition, Judd gave signifcant thought to chromatic relationships in his work, avoiding conventional palettes. He wrote: “I especially didn’t want the combinations to be harmonious, an old and implicative idea, which is the easiest to avoid, or to be inharmonious in reaction, which is harder to avoid. I wanted all of the colors to be present at once. I didn’t want them to combine” (Donald Judd, “Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular” in Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works, New Haven, 2014, p. 278). In untitled, the anodized red and magenta hues relate to one another tonally, but avoid both harmony and disharmony, remaining clearly distinct from one another. The colors in the present work relate back to the origins of the series, reversing their chromatic relationship so that red is on top. For the 1964 prototype of his progressions, Judd painted the aluminum linear tube in purple lacquer and its fve prismatic elements in light red cadmium oil paint. This in turn led to the 1965 aluminum progression with the same color scheme, now in the collection of the Phoenix Art Museum.
Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1964. Private Collection, Image Mayor Gallery, London/ Bridgeman Images, Artwork © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Judd based the compositions of the progressions on known mathematical sequences, including the Fibonacci series, inverse natural numbers, and the reversal pattern seen in the present work. Establishing their proportions according to these defned series allowed him to avoid making subjective compositional decisions as he worked, instead using their pre-determined sequences to create a unifed structure. Conceiving a three-dimensional work based on a linear sequence, Judd encouraged viewers to focus on their serial structure and overall unity of form. This versatile format allowed him to revisit the
progressions throughout his career, creating variations in their proportions, colors, and materials. As David Raskin has argued, Judd used “material standardization to create sensory variation” (David Raskin, Donald Judd, New Haven, 2010, p. 79). Judd’s use of anodized aluminum creates surfaces in which color is assimilated as integral rather than a superfcial element. This convergence of material and color accords with the artist’s desire to foreground the qualities of his media. Judd created his works in iron, zinc, Cor-ten steel, Plexiglas, plywood, and concrete, all industrial materials distanced from traditional sculptural media like bronze or marble. He applied surface treatments to his metal works that include anodizing, galvanizing, and enameling – methods that allowed him to apply color while retaining their inherent surface qualities. This is compellingly the case with untitled, in which its color and surface operate together to defne it as a unifed object in real space.
The present lot photographed in progress at Robert Motherwell’s studio in Greenwich, 1984. Image © Steven Sloman, Artworks © 2019 Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Property from a Private West Coast Collection
32. Robert Motherwell
Untitled (Elegy) signed “R. Motherwell” upper lef; further signed and dated “R. Motherwell 1983-85 (4 Nov.)” on the reverse. acrylic and charcoal on canvas. 66 x 90 in. (167.6 x 228.6 cm.). Executed in 1983-1985. Estimate $2,000,000-3,000,000
Provenance M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York Private Collection, California (acquired in 1985) Thence by descent to the present owner Literature Gabriella Drudi, Note romane a Robert Motherwell, Rome, 1984, p. 123 (titled Elegy to the Spanish Republic; illustrated in progress in the artist’s studio, pp. 3, 6, 29, 63) Robert Motherwell, “Philosophy and Abstract Expressionism: A Painter’s Palette”, Harvard Graduate Society Newsletter, winter 1987, p. 6 (illustrated in progress in the artist’s studio) Marcelin Pleynet, Robert Motherwell, Paris, 1989, p. 242 (titled Elegy to the Spanish Republic; illustrated in progress in the artist’s studio, p. 173) Robert Motherwell: A Dialogue with Literature, exh. cat., Galerie Bernd Klüser, Munich, 2001, p. 60 (illustrated in progress in the artist’s studio) Jack Flam, Katy Rogers and Tim Cliford, Robert Motherwell: Paintings and Collages, A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941-1991, vol. 2, New Haven, 2012, no. P1110, p. 532 (illustrated)
Painted in 1983-1985, Untitled (Elegy) is a vivid example of the ambitious work Robert Motherwell pursued in the last decade of his life. The work eloquently encapsulates the adroitness with which Motherwell reimagined the most celebrated
Franz Kline, Untitled, 1952. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
subjects from the previous four decades. Untitled (Elegy) articulates the tension between abstraction and fguration that characterizes his most iconic Elegies, begun in the late 1940s, with the interrogation of line and ground that defned his Opens of the 1960s. Here, Motherwell has placed his powerful ovoid shape upon a luminous ground consisting of layered washes of cream, grey, and blue, creating a space that has no reference beyond itself. The sensuous space created through the subtle interplay of line and color powerfully pays homage to his earlier Elegies, capturing “the complex interplay of timelessness and grief achieved in the very best works of the series” (Tim Cliford, in Jack Flam, ed., Motherwell: 100 Years, Milan, 2015, p. 301). This work has been held in the same family’s private collection since its completion in 1985. Untitled (Elegy) is a testament to Motherwell’s remarkable ability to continuously reinvent himself, refusing to have his work reduced to a single style. From the 1970s, Motherwell became the subject of increasing art historical study as one of the few remaining survivors of the Abstract Expressionist generation. A series of major exhibitions provided him the opportunity to review his life’s work during these years, culminating in 1983 with his frst U.S. retrospective since 1965 at the Albright-Knox Gallery that travelled to Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. During the same period, in 1974, with his 60th birthday approaching, Motherwell underwent a series of major surgeries, nearly dying on the operating table. His confrontation with his own mortality, coupled with the systemic process of reviewing his own canon for inclusion in these retrospectives, lef marked traces in his work for years to come as it brought about an immensely fruitful period in his practice, one that saw him invent, reinvigorate, work and rework many of his most important thematic pursuits. While the Elegy works had always meditated on the opposition between life and death, the series took on a deeper signifcance for Motherwell in his later years. In 1971, Motherwell began to paint his frst large Elegies since 1967. These works pay homage to
Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 133, 1975. Sammlung Moderne Kunst, Pinakothek der Moderne, Bayerische Staatsgemaeldesammlungen, Munich, Image bpk Bildagentur/ Sammlung Moderne Kunst/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
the evolution his practice underwent with the Opens, capturing the sensitivity to structure and surface that defned that series. As Tim Cliford notes, “Afer the relative serenity of the Open series, these works revived...an archaism and brutality that typifed many of his best works dating to the 1940s” (Tim Cliford, in Jack Flam, ed., Motherwell: 100 Years, Milan, 2015, p. 282). These works marked the beginning of a new and sustained exploration of the Elegies that stretched throughout the decade, ultimately transforming in a number of surprising ways during the 1980s. Motherwell’s large new painting studio allowed him to undertake a number of monumental works at the same time, which synthesized and transformed his earlier preoccupations into something fresh. His penchant for working up small images into large pictures was characteristic of his later years and is exhibited in the genesis of Untitled (Elegy). This work fnds its point of departure in a work conceived concurrently, the smaller Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 161, 1983-1985. This methodology of working articulates Motherwell’s statement that, “Making an Elegy is like building a temple, an altar, a ritual place. The Elegies are never ‘a throw of the dice.’ They are almost the only pictures I do in the way one traditionally thinks of a Western artist working on a large scale, whether Leonardo or Rubens or Seurat, of starting with sketches, or using all one’s resources to make a complete image, not improvised” (Robert Motherwell, quoted in interview with Jack Flam, October 2, 1982, in Jack Flam, ed., Motherwell: 100 Years, Milan, 2015, p. 121).
While Untitled (Elegy) certainly pays homage to the classic form of the early black and white Elegy, Motherwell’s restrained use of color here elegantly articulates his new approach. Where the Elegies of the 1950s had the stark clarity of black shadows and sunlight, the 1970s were defned by a range of rich earth tones. As such, the works of the 1980s brought about a diferent way of working with the Elegy motif and color. The varied application of color and brushwork imbues the works from this period with a rich texture and vibration of light that at once reference the gesturality and chromatic starkness of the Elegies and the Zen-like spatial harmony characteristic of the Opens. In addition, the linear articulation of space and color in Untitled (Elegy) appears to pay homage to both his own recent work in collage as well as that of Henri Matisse. The present work exemplifes how, nearly four decades afer he began his Elegies, the series continued to absorb him, driving the artist to probe the limits of virtually everything he undertook. “The Elegy series still goes on,” Motherwell explained, “because life and death still go on, and Elegies must be written” (Robert Motherwell, quoted in interview with Rudi Blesh, May 23, 30, June 6, 1961, in Jack Flam, ed., Motherwell: 100 Years, Milan, 2015, p. 274). The process of invention and reinvention was to defne his work going forward, with the last decade of his life characterized by an undiminished sense of joie-de-vivre. “One wonderful thing about creativity”, Motherwell said two years afer painting this work, “is that you’re never wholly satisfed with what you’re trying to do. There’s always the anguish, the pleasurable challenge... For me, to retire from painting would be to retire from life” (Robert Motherwell, quoted in Nan Robertson, “Artists in Old Age: The Fires of Creativity Burn Undiminished”, The New York Times, January 22, 1986, online).
“The Elegy series still goes on, because life and death still go on, and Elegies must be written.” Robert Motherwell
Property of an American Collector
33. Pat Steir
Monk Tuyu Meditating Waterfall oil on canvas. 149 3/8 x 114 5/8 in. (379.4 x 291.1 cm.). Painted in 1991. Estimate $600,000-800,000
Provenance Robert Miller Gallery, New York Collection of the Artist Dominique Lévy, New York Private Collection, Texas Acquired from the above by the present owner Literature Thomas McEvilley, Pat Steir, New York, 1995, pl. 52, p. 70 (illustrated, p. 137)
Standing over 12 feet high, Monk Tuyu Meditating Waterfall, 1991, is from Pat Steir’s most renowned body of works, her waterfall series. With its vast scale and dramatic visual impact, this monumental painting prompts a response from the viewer akin to one inspired by standing before a waterfall in nature. Steir created this painting gesturally, splashing and dripping diluted white oil paint across its matte black ground. Arrayed across its top and middle sections are staggered horizontal passages from which paint streams down, reading both as abstractions and as the representation of cascading water breaking over rocks. In the lower register, gestural splatters
Shen Zhou, Lofy Mount Lu, 1467. National Palace Museum, Taiwan, Image © Art Resource, NY
emphasize horizontal and diagonal movement, evoking rapids under the waterfall. Profoundly infuenced by the tradition of Chinese landscape painting, Steir blends its aesthetic with techniques that extend and challenge the concerns of Abstract Expressionism. Revisiting the monochromatic origins of her series, Steir has recently returned to the dramatic use of black and white with her Silent Secret Waterfalls, 2018, a newly commissioned cycle of eleven paintings now on display at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Steir’s critically acclaimed waterfall paintings emerged from her painterly investigation of the history of art through time and across cultures. Progressively interested in consolidating Asian and Western aesthetic traditions, her approach became increasingly abstract and gestural. Beginning in 1987, Steir began using an oversaturated brush loaded with paint, allowing it to fow and drip, a technique that lead to her waterfall paintings. Steir has explained: “I was thinking a drippy brush stroke is the symbol of an abstract painting and I was going to make it paint a picture by itself” (Pat Steir, quoted in Hilarie M. Sheets, “Pat Steir Gets Discovered, Again”, The New York Times, January 18, 2019, online). Over the course of four years, she developed these works in black and white before reintroducing color, a reductive impulse that allowed her to introduce both rigor and expression in these classic paintings. Thomas McEvilley identifed Monk Tuyu Meditating Waterfall as an example of Steir’s “apex of fruitful production” in which her “methodology, mingling Asian and New York School approaches to action painting, produced an elegant resolution” (Thomas McEvilley, Pat Steir, New York, 1995, p. 70). A generation younger than the Abstract Expressionists, Steir extended new possibilities for gestural painting in these works, challenging the hegemony of her predecessors by employing abstract gesture to introduce imagery. Her technique established a dialogue with the legacy of Jackson Pollock’s renowned drip paintings without duplicating his methods. Instead of painting with a canvas on the foor as Pollock did, she hung the unstretched canvases vertically on her studio wall, using a ladder to work. Steir’s methods require her bodily engagement and a balance between chaos and control, using the power of gravity and practiced gestures to
Barnett Newman, Untitled, Attributed title: The Break, 1946. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Photo © CNAC/MNAM/Dist. RMNGrand Palais/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Barnett Newman Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Tuyu Meditating Waterfall suggests the contemplation of transience and the sublime power of nature by scholars or monks, a key motif in Chinese art and philosophy that Steir connects to the scale of her paintings: “I am similar to the monk on the ground, a speck like a fy looking up at the sky. These paintings are simply rectangles around a piece of infnite space. The waterfall paintings are painted as though the waterfall is directly in front of the artist, chaotic but confrontational” (Pat Steir, quoted in Anne Waldman, “Interview with Pat Steir”, BOMB Magazine, no. 83, April 1, 2003, online).
paint. She has stated: “I’ve been making gestures in air long enough to know more or less how they’ll hit the canvas. The thing that I always have to force myself to do is let the paint hit the canvas, walk away and let it do its thing” (Pat Steir, quoted in Anne Waldman, “Interview with Pat Steir”, BOMB Magazine, no. 83, April 1, 2003, online). In addition, Steir treasured her friendship of over thirty years with Pollock’s contemporary Agnes Martin and was inspired by the repetitive gestures and meditative qualities of Martin’s abstract work.
Jackson Pollock, Number 28, 1950. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 PollockKrasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Gustave Courbet, The Stormy Sea, 1870. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, Photo © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
The spontaneous but studied methods in Steir’s painting were also inspired by Chinese landscape traditions. She explained this connection, noting: “I began looking at Chinese Literati paintings and at Southern Song Dynasty pottery and painting, and I realized that I didn’t have to use the brush, that I could simply pour the paint, that I could use nature to paint a picture of itself by pouring the paint” (Pat Steir, quoted in “Pat Steir with Phong Bui”, The Brooklyn Rail, March 4, 2011, online). Steir’s palette from this era also invokes the monochromatic and calligraphic characteristics of Chinese bokugwa and Japanese sumi-e ink painting, particularly the fung-ink tradition, which emphasize freedom of brushwork. Essential to traditional Chinese aesthetics and philosophy is the understanding that landscapes ofer a material embodiment of the vital spirit that permeates nature. A symbol of eternal change and persistence, waterfalls are a perennial motif. Indeed, the Chinese term for landscape, Shan shui, means “mountain-water”. The title of Monk
Steir brings these themes together into Monk Tuyu Meditating Waterfall, creating a powerful painting that transcends the distinctions between abstraction and representation, evoking the spirit of the monk contemplating a waterfall. As critic Holland Cotter declared, Steir’s work “demonstrates that objective and subjective, realism and abstraction are ultimately the same thing: the ‘water’ is paint; its fall is line; the energy of Steir’s hand and the accident of gravity are equal creators of this intensely rhythmical work” (Holland Cotter, Pat Steir, exh. cat., Robert Miller Gallery, New York, 1990, n.p.).
Property from a Private European Collection
34. Dana Schutz
Signing oil and acrylic on canvas. 80 1/8 x 90 1/8 in. (203.5 x 228.9 cm.). Painted in 2009. Estimate $250,000-350,000
Provenance Zach Feuer Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited New York, Zach Feuer Gallery, Dana Schutz: Missing Pictures, March 13 - April 25, 2009 Literature Roberta Smith, “Art in Review: Dana Schutz, ‘Missing Pictures’”, The New York Times, April 16, 2009, online Jonathan Safran Foer and Barry Schwabsky, Dana Schutz, New York, 2010, p. 139 (illustrated, pp. 8, 131; details illustrated, pp. 128-129) Cary Levine and Helaine Posner, Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, exh. cat., Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, 2011, p. 69 (illustrated)
In Signing, 2009, Dana Schutz erects a disquieting, surreal world furnished in her idiosyncratic visual lexicon. Depicting one of the most chronicled events in American history – the ratifcation of the Declaration of Independence – as a postapocalyptic moment frozen in time, Signing approaches the traditional genre of history painting through a contemporary lens and on a monumental scale. The dense composition is replete with the American forefathers, who are rendered half-eroded or scorched in a chromatic dimension that combines fantasy with reality and beauty with horror. Belonging to Schutz’s small, discrete chapter created in 2008-2009 in which fgures are severely burnt or singed, Signing is the only “singed” painting to feature the history motif that has become one of her most iconic subjects. Signing embodies the peculiar vision that has launched Schutz to critical acclaim, cemented by her inclusion in
major institutional collections as well as by curator Eva Respini’s contention that she is “one of the most important painters of her generation” (Eva Respini in Joshua Barone, “Outrage Follows a Painter from the Whitney Biennial to Boston”, The New York Times, July 27, 2017, online). Signing takes its place in the pantheon of depictions of the ratifcation of the Declaration of Independence captured in the canon of American history painting, most discernably referencing John Trumbull’s eponymous work from 1817-1818 which is housed in the United States Capitol. Schutz has revisited the conventional genre throughout her career, notably with Presentation, 2005 – which belongs to The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Signing ironically interrogates this distinctly American subject through the lens of the 20th century European avant-garde with a multitude of pronounced formal analogies to Synthetic Cubism and German as well as a vibrant palette reminiscent of René Magritte’s vache period. Incorporating a conspicuous topical reference to American history painting as well as a stylistic afnity to European modernism, Signing is testimony to Schutz’s resolve to represent traditional themes in a contemporary context. Schutz’s oeuvre dexterously oscillates between grotesque destruction and prolifc creation; in Signing, a nation-producing document is signed by historically monumental fgures that appear burned and severely eroded, some entirely faceless, and the active signee’s hand invisible. The corporal and macabre deterioration of formidable individuals with seemingly invincible reputations kindles a multitude of interpretations, but perhaps most palpable is the weightless, dreamlike dimension of the work. “It’s as if there has been an unseen explosion that happened outside the painting...singeing [some of the subjects] on the lef or right side. [They] appeared like cut-outs themselves—objects or props that could be rearranged...” Schutz delineated. “I was looking at Magritte at the time. I liked the fake-out surfaces and patterns in his work... And there was this question of whether the painting you’re looking at is something that just happened, like a frozen event, or if it’s something that never really happened, but that you could reconstruct and put together however you wanted” (Dana Schutz, quoted in Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, exh. cat., Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, 2011, p. 95). The John Trumbull, Declaration of vacant, Kafaesque aura of Signing fuses contemporary life Independence, 4th July 1776, circa 1817. Yale University, with an apocalyptic, surreal rendering of one of the most New Haven, Photo © Album/ recounted moments in United States history. Art Resource
René Magritte, The Ladder of Fire, 1934. Private Collection, Photo © Banque d’Images, ADAGP/Art Resource, NY, Artwork, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Signing encapsulates a mystifying quality which art critic and historian Barry Schwabsky contends best demonstrated Schutz’s precocity at this point in her oeuvre. Perhaps best interpreted as a painting’s ability to wink at itself – as in Magritte’s The Treachery of Images, 1928-1929 – this aspect challenges the viewer with myriad questions; Schwabsky ponders of Signing, “Is this a representation of some corroded human beings, or a corroded representation of some human beings?... Does the painting symbolize ambivalence toward its subjects’ heroic reputation?... Or is it about the art of painting itself and its diminished capacity to engage with history as subject matter?” (Barry Schwabsky, Dana Schutz, New York, 2010, p. 8). Thwarting any concrete conclusions to whether the rendering refers to a reality inside or outside of itself, Signing fosters an inscrutable presentation of colonial history. While Magritte’s paintings wink at the limits of language, Schutz unmasks the boundaries of history and memory: the latter uses a scene that has been historicized as tranquil and noble to reveal the destructive and brutal war that actually engendered the country’s independence. Ridiculing the use of an administrative scene as a synecdoche for a violent revolution, Schutz revitalizes the Dada and Surrealist manipulation of syntax and symbols with a contemporary perspective. Dense with fgures who appear more caricatured than threedimensional, Signing upends traditional portrayals of these avowedly heroic fgures. Thus, in a work that is topically historical but unequivocally contemporary, Schutz carefully constructs an enigmatic dimension that suspends the moment of the establishment of the United States. As Calvin Tomkins astutely illuminated, “Schutz’s pictorial logic allows her to build pictures that are simultaneously convincing and absurd, troubling and uncanny... The private worlds that her bold, declarative colors and thrusting forms evoke can be inexplicable, but they resonate with the anxieties and contradictions of contemporary life” (Calvin Tomkins, “Why Dana Schutz Painted Emmett Till”, The New Yorker, November 10, 2017, online).
35. Robert Colescott
Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: The Original signed and dated “R Colescott 84” lower lef. acrylic on canvas. 84 x 72 in. (213.4 x 182.9 cm.). Painted in 1984. Estimate $300,000-500,000
Provenance Semaphore Gallery, New York Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, Detroit N’Namdi Contemporary, Miami Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Charlotte, Knight Gallery, Spirit Square Arts Center, Robert Colescott: Another Judgement, February 13 April 7, 1985, n.p. (illustrated) New Orleans, Arthur Roger Gallery, Robert Colescott: Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future, October 5 - 26, 2002 Detroit, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, Robert Colescott, Knowledge: Paintings from the 80s and 90s, September 12 - October 11, 2003 Literature Lisa M. Collins, “Exhibits with bite”, Detroit Metro Times, October 1, 2003, online (illustrated)
Paul Gauguin, Women on the Seashore (The Motherhood), 1899. Collection of the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Photo credit HIP/ Art Resource, NY
“Some of the strugles we have and some of the imperfections that we have as human beings may make us stronger and help us produce original works of art and great orchestras and jazz, but racial prejudice, sexism, and commercialism often supersede humanism.” Robert Colescott
A provocative painting in Robert Colescott’s signature style, Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: The Original, 1984, uses caricatured fgures to confront social prejudices around race and sexuality. Created with vibrant colors and the artist’s uniquely expressive fguration, this painting juxtaposes two groups of people in a disjunctive space that is fanked by a waterfall on the lef, and palm trees and a jet incongruously together with a table and lamp of a modern interior on the right. In its upper lef, a black family is grouped into a cohesive shape, their fgures reminiscent of African sculpture. In its center, all fgures are depicted in a brightly hued caricatured style, a black woman wearing a leopard-print dress nurses a diminutive white man in a suit. Behind them stands a bikini-clad white woman who holds a black baby, with another baby below in a bassinet. Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: The Original is from a group of Colescott’s paintings from the mid-1980s that confront the politics of representation and the legacy of the past. Its title is a variation on an aphorism by Marcus Garvey: “A people without the knowledge
Robert Colescott, Knowledge of the Past Is the Key to the Future: Some Aferthoughts on Discovery, 1986. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Estate of Robert Colescott/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Another painting from the series, Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: Some Aferthoughts on Discovery, 1986, is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Returning to the United States during the socially transformative 1970s afer spending time in Egypt and France, Colescott began developing his mature style, painting parodies of historic art and using barbed satire to confront contemporary social issues. Over the course of the 1980s, Colescott’s paintings became increasingly complex in their themes and expressive in their style, recasting historical imagery in personal terms from his perspective as an artist and an African American man. As the artist stated: “They’re about my humanity and my desires (and some of the pitfalls of those desires and those passions and about the society that creates those things for me” (Robert Colescott, quoted in Robert Colescott: Another Judgment, exh. cat., Knight Gallery, Spirit Square Arts Center, Charlotte, 1985, n.p.). In 1997, Colescott represented the United States in a one-artist exhibition at the 47th Venice Biennale, the frst African American artist to do so.
Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: The Original is a thought-provoking example of Colescott’s use of transgressive imagery to both play with and disrupt stereotypes. Its palette and the juxtaposition of disparate spaces evokes the work of Paul Gauguin, also implicitly raising issues with the French painter’s attitudes toward his non-white subjects. In addition, the woman breastfeeding the man draws upon Christian iconography of Mary nursing the infant Christ. Her leopard-print dress is echoed by the same pattern on the clothing worn by the baby in the upper lef, establishing a connection between them. With its intertwined themes of nurture and sexuality and Colescott’s caricatured depictions of both white and black fgures, the present painting addresses social taboos around the intermingling of races. The artist, whose ethnicity includes African, European, and Choctaw ancestors, maintained that his paintings were not about race, but social perceptions of it, pointedly stating: “To make a statement about white perceptions of black people by redoing a stereotype, who ever thought such a thing could happen?” (Robert Colescott, quoted in Holland Cotter, “Unrepentant Ofender of Almost Everyone”, The New York Times, 1997, June 8, 1997, online). By inserting black fgures into the history of art with subversive wit, Colescott has asserted signifcant infuence on many prominent contemporary artists, including Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, Glenn Ligon, and David Hammons. As Hammons declared: “Robert Colescott’s the force... He’s playing with all these things, using himself as a subject and getting mixed up in the art world” (David Hammons in Miriam Roberts, Robert Colescott: Recent Paintings, SITE Santa Fe, 1997, p. 28). Through his striking images, he confronted issues around identity that continue to impact society today. With its destabilization of stereotypes and social mores, Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: The Original confrms the continued relevance of Colescott’s work.
36. Roy Lichtenstein
Coup de Chapeau I incised with the artist’s signature, number and date “6/6 rf Lichtenstein ‘96” and stamped with the Tallix foundry mark on the base. painted and patinated bronze. 26 1/2 x 26 1/2 x 7 1/8 in. (67.3 x 67.3 x 18.1 cm.). Executed in 1996, this work is number 6 from an edition of 6. Estimate $800,000-1,200,000
Provenance Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, New York Acquired from the above via Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York by the present owner Exhibited Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein: Recent Drawings and Sculpture, November 6 - December 31, 1997, no. 16, p. 36 (another example exhibited and illustrated, p. 37) Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey; Valencia, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno; A Coruña, Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza; Lisbon, Centro Cultural de Belém, Roy Lichtenstein: Imágenes reconocibles: Escultura, pintura y gráfca / Roy Lichtenstein: Imagens Reconhecíveis, July 9, 1998 - August 15, 2000 (illustrated, pp. 37, 207); then traveled as Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture & Drawings, June 5 September 30, 1999, no. 161, p. 193 (illustrated) Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Roy Lichtenstein: Inside/Outside, December 11, 2001 - February 24, 2002, no. 37, p. 106 (illustrated, n.p.) New York, Leo Castelli Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein: Mostly Men, September 15 - October 30, 2010, p. 31 (another example exhibited)
Roy Lichtenstein, Coup de Chapeau (Self-Portrait), 1996. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Literature Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2012, p. 25, note 29
Andy Warhol, Popeye, 1961. Artwork © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The culmination of a half-century interrogation into the genre of self-portraiture, Coup de Chapeau I, 1996 epitomizes Roy Lichtenstein’s idiosyncratic visual language and unconventional treatment of the traditional theme. Bursting with dynamism, the selfportrait Coup de Chapeau I animates a vibrant, Dick Tracy-esque yellow fedora atop two counterpoised arcs of primary colors that diverge from a Ben-Day dotted collision. Interpreted in French colloquially as “hats of” – the idiomatic expression “coup de chapeau” implies a double entendre that Lichtenstein manipulates: “coup” directly translates to “blow” or “hit”, which he hyperbolizes into an American comics-derived climax where the protagonist is struck by the upcoming 21st century. Coming to auction for the frst time, Coup de Chapeau I embraces the parodic quintessence of its famed predecessor Coup de Chapeau (Self-Portrait), 1996 and anticipates the three-dimensional vitality of its successor, Coup de Chapeau II, 1996, of which one from the edition is held by the Broad Museum, Los Angeles.
Arguably Lichtenstein’s frst self-portrait in sculpture, Coup de Chapeau I is ironically void of any physical reference to the artist. In fact, within his career-long investigation of portraiture, Lichtenstein progressively began to utilize his corporeal absence in works to paradoxically hint at his underlying artistic presence. This tendency to conceal himself ostensibly began with his Cubist self-portraits in the 1970s, such as SelfPortrait II, 1976, The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, in which his visage is rendered abstract to the point of indistinguishability. Lichtenstein subsequently painted Self-Portrait, 1978, which is composed of a vacant, beveled mirror adorned with Ben-Day dots foating above a blank white t-shirt, further abstracting his physical likeness from supposed portrayals of himself. His predilection for this ironic, bodily absence in his own self-portraiture paralleled his resolve to eliminate any suggestion of spontaneous or artistic gesture in his oeuvre. In this way, Lichtenstein’s nuanced outlook on authorship became a hallmark of his visual style. As Michael Lobel has elucidated, “Lichtenstein oscillates between an erasure of self and an attempt – however conficted and provisional – to reconstitute a semblance of authorial presence” (Michael Lobel, Image Duplicator:
René Magritte, Le Principe de Plaisir, 1937. Private Collection, Digital Banque d’Images, ADAGP/Art Resource, NY © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Far right: Laurie Lambrecht, Flash with Level, 1990 (detail). Photograph of source material in Roy Lichtenstein’s studio. Photo © 2019 Laurie Lambrecht
Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art, New Haven, 2002, p. 73). His experimentation with omission even goes beyond self-portraiture and is discernible in his most iconic images, such as Girl with Ball, 1961, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, whose subject is more suggestive of a weightless, decorative adornment than a physical inhabitant. This progression towards Lichtenstein’s absence paradoxically signaling his aesthetic presence becomes increasingly palpable in the Coup de Chapeau series, which consists of just one painting and two sculpture variations, along with their respective preliminary sketches and maquettes. First explored in paint, Coup de Chapeau (Self-Portrait) depicts a man constructed of Ben-Day dots struck by his own hat with such force that his glasses have been knocked of; Lichtenstein addressed the enigmatic blow in a study for the work which he labelled “man hit by the 21st century.” Another sketch for the painting portrays a mirrored image of the frst, but with nearly all of the man’s visage obfuscated by the explosion, evocative of the concealed face in René Magritte’s The Great War, 1964. His experiment with omission intensifed with Coup de Chapeau I, his frst self-portrait with unequivocally no corporeal reference to himself: Lichtenstein’s anticipation of the new millennium is captured exclusively by his airborne hat along with its hyperbolic arc and collision. The pinnacle of his inquiry into invisibility, Coup de Chapeau I is seemingly anonymous yet replete with manifest authorship and identity, encapsulating a formal lexicon and satire that is Lichtenstein’s alone. Coup de Chapeau I strikes a dynamic tension between two- and three-dimensionality, propelled by the sculpture’s forceful launch into space despite its striking lack of structural depth, which causes the image to virtually disappear when viewed in the round. “These pieces exist between paintings and sculpture in terms not only of genre but also of structure”,
Hal Foster has delineated. “If most representational painting is a two-dimensional encoding of threedimensional objects, Lichtenstein reverses the process here, and freezes it somewhere in between” (Hal Foster, Roy Lichtenstein: Sculpture, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery, London, 2005, p. 10). Foster’s observation aligns with Lichtenstein’s conviction that “the best sculptors have been painters” who are accustomed to resolving 2D and 3D spatial dilemmas (Roy Lichtenstein, quoted in Richard Brown Baker, “Oral history interview with Roy Lichtenstein”, November 15, 1963 – January 15, 1964, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, online). Indeed, the planar fatness of Coup de Chapeau I echoes the uncompromising twodimensionality of his most celebrated paintings from the 1960s, such as Drowning Girl, 1963, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Look Mickey, 1961, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Accordingly, Coup de Chapeau I blurs conventional distinctions between painting and sculpture and typifes the artist’s signature fxation with hyper-fatness in all media. Dynamic yet static, Coup de Chapeau I exemplifes Lichtenstein’s ability to freeze dramatic, kinetic scenes into seemingly fxed moments. The fery explosion of speckled Ben-Day dots recalls more so humorous, fctional depictions of crashes in comic book pages than factual and kinetic collisions. These suspended moments pepper Lichtenstein’s oeuvre: the subject of Coup de Chapeau I is reminiscent
of the stationary combustion depicted in works created decades earlier, such as Whaam!, 1963, Tate Modern and Explosion I, 1965, Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Interpreted as a satirical response to Abstract Expressionism – and more specifcally, Harold Rosenberg’s 1950s idiom “action painting” – Lichtenstein’s explosion motif ironically captures incendiary activity within fxed inertia, caricaturing the intellectual pretension of the mid-century New York art world with vernacular references to American comics. Created a year before his death, Coup de Chapeau I encapsulates Lichtenstein’s unique visual vocabulary as well as his anticipation for a century he would not experience; reexamining his entire oeuvre, the sculpture underscores his career-long concerns with irony, cross-media dialogue, and the “super fat” composition of comic books. As a result, Coup de Chapeau I both ridicules and earnestly challenges mid-20th century artistic tenets and conservatism, epitomizing Lichtenstein’s revolutionary postmodern spirit.
37. Jean-Michel Basquiat
Untitled (Piss Piss Piss Piss) acrylic and oilstick on plywood. 37 1/4 x 14 7/8 in. (94.6 x 37.8 cm.). Executed in 1982-1983. Estimate $600,000-800,000
Provenance Matt Dike (acquired directly from the artist) Thence by descent to the present owner
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s painting Untitled (Piss Piss Piss Piss), 1982-1983, projects the expressive rawness for which his work is renowned. Executed on plywood in acrylic and oilstick, the looping streaks of yellow and a dashed, arcing line in black imbue the work with a sense of movement and action, mirrored in the repetition of the word “PISS” in the composition’s lower half. The black shape at its top reads alternately as a head or mask, an important leitmotif for the artist. From the collection of Matt Dike, this provocative painting has never before been publicly exhibited. Untitled (Piss Piss Piss Piss) contains the key themes of Basquiat’s oeuvre: grafti, the body, and identity.
Moreover, it illuminates our understanding of the early stages of his artistic relationship with Andy Warhol, who would come to play an important role in his career. With its graphic insistency and explicit subject, this is a painting with the confrontational immediacy of grafti. Grafti provided a key artistic means for Basquiat, who frst gained the attention of the art world in the late 1970s for the conceptually and politically charged works that he spray-painted around downtown Manhattan in collaboration with his friend Al Diaz under the tag SAMO©. Moving to painted, drawn, and multimedia work by late 1980, Basquiat retained and expanded his striking use of writing and his improvisational approach. As Klaus Kertess stated, Basquiat was motivated by “a pure voracity for words, a reveling in the vernacular, and a desire to reinvent and claim language” (Klaus Kertess, “Brushes with Beatitude”, in Jean-Michel Basquiat, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1992, p. 53). Ofen repeating words in columns, crossing them out, and painting over them, he retained their verbal and allusive content while employing them as key compositional elements. Basquiat combined street vernacular with a style inspired in part by the balance of crudity and sophistication pioneered by Cy Twombly. Twombly’s 1979 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art had a great impact on him, with the artist revealing in a 1983 interview that his favorite work by Twombly was Apollo and The Artist, 1975. As Richard D. Marshall has noted, “from Twombly, Basquiat took license and instruction about how to draw, scribble, write, collage, and paint simultaneously” (Richard D. Marshall, JeanMichel Basquiat, Paris, 2000, p. 40). The present painting echoes Twombly’s style in its incorporation of language and gesture, strategies that Basquiat made his own and combined with expressive fguration.
Matt Dike, wearing a suit given to him by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and his father attend Vikyana Dike’s wedding. Image courtesy Michael DeMatteis.
The themes of Untitled (Piss Piss Piss Piss) also recall those of Andy Warhol’s Oxidation Paintings – known casually as the Piss Paintings – and highlight Basquiat’s history with the Pop artist. Warhol created most of these works in 1977 and 1978, painting canvases with
copper pigment, laying them on the foor, and inviting his Factory members to urinate on them. This process transformed their surfaces to areas of black or green through a chemical reaction, in a transgressive parody of Abstract Expressionism. The Oxidation Paintings are abstract, with a prominent exception that is key to understanding the present work. When Basquiat visited Warhol’s studio in October of 1982 with Swiss dealer Bruno Bischoferger, Warhol took Polaroids of the younger artist, silk-screening them onto 40-by-40-inch canvases that had been covered with cooper paint, then creating three Oxidation Paintings featuring Basquiat’s image. Produced before the later collaborations by the two artists in the mid-1980s, these portraits are unique in Warhol’s oeuvre. As Neil Printz speculates, “Precisely why Warhol chose to revive a technique from four years before as a background for Basquiat’s portraits is not clear— possibly Basquiat suggested it, or perhaps Warhol was drawn to the idea by the way the surface wed associations with the precious and abject” (Neil Printz, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings, 1976-1978, vol. 5B, London, 2018, p. 132). Therefore, it is interesting to consider the present work as a painterly response to, or perhaps even an inspiration for, Warhol’s extraordinary portraits of Basquiat.
Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982. Artwork © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
With its black color and oblong slits in the place of eyes, the head on the painting’s top suggests a mask, evoking themes of both anonymity and assumed character. In addition, Basquiat’s heads and masks played of the abstract forms of African art and their interpretations by modernist painters. For this young African American painter, this motif constituted both an expressive subject and an assertion of his identity. As Marc Meyer has noted about Basquiat, “many of his works maintain a sub-textual argument with his predecessors, full of corrections, challenges, homages and some spectacular showing of” (Marc Meyer, “Basquiat in History” in Basquiat, exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2005, p. 44). These themes, in conjunction with this unique painting’s confrontational subject and tone, convey the complexity of Basquiat’s work and his negotiation of his artistic self through it. Kore mask of a hyena, Bamanana Peoples, Mali. Musee du Quai Branly/Paris/France, Photo: Jean Gilles Berizzi © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
Property of an Important Private Collector, Europe ○
38. Cy Twombly
Untitled inscribed “4” upper lef of upper sheet and “6” upper lef of lower sheet; each sheet further signed, consecutively inscribed and dated “[4, 6] Cy Twombly 1970” on the reverse. oil and wax crayon on two joined sheets of paper. 55 x 34 in. (139.7 x 86.4 cm.). Executed in 1970. Estimate $4,000,000-6,000,000
Provenance Private Collection, Delaware PaceWildenstein, New York (acquired from the above in May 1989) Thomas Segal Gallery, Boston (acquired from the above in June 1989) Galerie de France, Paris Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above in October 1997) Sotheby’s, New York, May 12, 2015, lot 4 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner Literature Nicola Del Roscio, Cy Twombly: Drawings, Cat. Rais. Vol. 5 1970-1971, Munich, 2015, no. 8, p. 23 (illustrated)
With its rhythmic, calligraphic lines, Untitled, 1970, is a work that expresses Cy Twombly’s gestural and graphic genius. Drawn in white wax crayon on a subtly modulated ground of gray oil paint, Twombly’s mark-making appears both elegant and inchoate. He organized its curving linear marks into loosely defned rows drawn over two aligned sheets, which traverse laterally across them as they rise, fall, and change direction. Twombly’s lines in Untitled vary in their shape, size, density, and evident speed. His linear segments appear to fade out in places, at times seeming to emerge in and out of the gray ground. In other passages, their fow is interrupted or seems to double back, overlaying one set of gestural lines over another. Calling to mind both writing exercises as well as Surrealist automatism, Twombly’s mark-making
here resembles script while avoiding the formation of letters and suggesting a dissolution of written language for a more personal form of expression. Spare in its format, Untitled foregrounds line as Twombly’s most efective artistic means, manifesting in inspired gestures that activate intensely defned felds of graphic activity. The present work was made in Rome in 1970, a productive year for Twombly that saw him traveling between Italy, Ireland, and the United States. It is closely related to his groundbreaking Roman Note series, a group of works for which he drew lines in varied calligraphic strokes that evoke both cursive writing and waves in their dynamic progress across their sheets. Whereas Twombly created many of the Roman Notes on a light gray ground with blue and black wax crayons, in Untitled he laid down a ground in darker gray oil paint and made his gestural linear marks with white crayon. Gray and white were Twombly’s preferred palette of this era, one that draws attention to his compositional choices through his use of dramatic contrast. Identifed in the artist’s catalogue raisonné as one of only two examples from this era to feature two sheets of paper mounted vertically, the scale and format of Untitled emphasizes the range of Twombly’s mark-making, fully revealing the incredible variation of form and gesture that he brought to his work. In this era, Twombly realized the works he made in Rome on the foor and tables of his expansive studio in his apartment on Via Monserrato. Nicola Del Roscio describes his process, noting: “Cy would work with white wax crayons on the semi-wet surface of the paper, sometimes in a linear gesture that seemed traced in an infnitely serene karma. A fuid gesture or a rolling one in a seismographic fow from the mind that could sometimes end in a slight tantrum, or as if writing a letter describing a dream” (Nicola Del Roscio, Cy Twombly: Drawings, Cat. Rais. Vol. 5 1970-1971, Munich, 2015, p. 6). Del Roscio’s stunning description draws out the extraordinary range of Twombly’s mark-making and the gamut of emotions that creating them called forth from him. In Untitled, the viewer may observe the artist’s considerable variety in the propulsive ebb and fow of his gestures.
Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1970. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © Cy Twombly Foundation
Cy Twombly in the streets of Rome, 1961. Photo © Mario Dondero/Bridgeman Images
Twombly’s emphasis on varied gesture and restricted palette in Untitled represents an extension of his approach in his “Gray” or “Blackboard” works, a distinctive series that is among his most celebrated. Initiated in 1966, they represent a new direction for the artist afer a hiatus in his production for much of the previous two years. He continued with this approach through 1971, fnding in it a wellspring of creative inspiration. This development in his style marked a signifcant departure for Twombly, resulting in works that are comparable with those made by PostMinimalist artists then emerging in the United States. Sparer than those that preceded them, he also avoided his earlier use of direct language and mythological references. Keeping with a monochromatic approach, their distinct format and style ofered Twombly the opportunity to work in a more focused manner, placing primary emphasis on the autographic quality of his mark-making and the possibilities of linear form. In Untitled, Twombly’s emphatic gestures focus our attention on his linear forms, which resemble writing but avoid coalescing into letters or other recognizable lexical forms. These characteristics, together with his choice of using white crayon on a gray ground, caused them to be understood by critics in terms of writing exercises in chalk. Discussing these works in 1968,
Robert Pincus-Witten stated: “handwriting has become for Twombly the means of beginning again, of erasing the Baroque culmination of the painting of the early 1960s...it has been drowned in a schoolmaster’s blackboard. It has been reduced to rudimentary exercise”. For Pincus-Witten, the relative austerity of Twombly’s approach represented a positive step for the artist, insofar as it focused and refned his eforts, “rejecting a lush manner for simple and stringent exercises... Afer the capitulation of a vast style, Twombly has learned to write again” (Robert Pincus-Witten, “Learning to Write” in Cy Twombly, Paintings and Drawings, exh. cat., Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, 1968, n.p.). Pincus-Witten and others have interpreted Twombly’s gestural style from this time as infuenced by the Palmer method, a technique of handwriting instruction in which pupils kept their fngers and wrists rigid while moving only their arms. The repeated rows of inscriptions that form the linear curves of Untitled do in fact resemble the exercises that a student practicing cursive script might undertake. The willful elegance of Twombly’s extraordinarily expressive gestures, however, suggests a depth of volition that extends beyond this interpretation. Indeed, the artist described his graphic approach as “childish but not child-like...to get that quality you need to project yourself into the
child’s line. It has to be felt” (Cy Twombly, quoted in Hayden Herrera, “Cy Twombly, A Homecoming”, Harper’s Bazaar, August 1994, p. 147). The continuum between the sophistication of Twombly’s work and his intentional adoption of evident naiveté is central to his achievement as an artist. The forms of Untitled evoke the improvisational means of Surrealist automatic writing and the expressive gestures of Abstract Expressionism as well. According to Kirk Varnedoe’s analysis, the artist here “ventures into the area of an engulfng abstract sublime that Pollock had defned... Twombly replaces the colored organicism of Pollock with colorless lines whose steady, progressive rise and fall insists on their attachment to the drier constraints of writing, will, and culture” (Kirk Varnedoe, Cy Twombly: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1994, p. 43). The themes of written language and gestural expression were always central to Twombly’s practice. Fundamental to his early development as an artist was the time he spent in Georgia and Washington, D.C. in 1953 and 1954 afer being conscripted into the army, where he studied cryptology. Interested in the theme of code and seeking to extend his practice, he began to draw at night afer lights out. Drawing in the dark to intentionally reduce his visual control and introduce spontaneity into his gestures, Twombly worked “blind” to produce form through his hand alone. His emphasis on drawing primarily by touch re-emerges in the present work, in which the artist harnessed haptic gestures to form a visually extraordinary composition. “The cursive, energetic torrent,” according to Heiner Bastian, “marks Twombly’s complete embrace of the ardent gesture of script as graphic code that excludes both text and deciphering” (Heiner Bastian, Cy Twombly: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Vol. III, 1966-1971, Munich, 1994, pp. 25-26). In addition, there is a performative element that is evident in the linear gestures that Twombly made in Untitled. Inherent to his achievement in this extraordinary work are the ways in which his white lines follow the movements of his hand across its space and through the time of its creation, allowing the viewer to trace the development of their varied graphic forms. Moreover, he did so while deliberately avoiding fxity of reference or meaning. As a result, in the words of critic Pierre Restany: “Twombly’s ‘writing’ has neither syntax nor logic, but quivers with life, its murmuring penetrating to the very depths of things” (Pierre Restany, Cy Twombly: la revolution du signe, exh. cat., Galerie J, Paris, 1961, n.p.).
Mark Rothko, Untitled (Brown and Gray), 1969. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Willem de Kooning, Black Friday, 1948. Princeton University Art Museum, Photo credit: Princeton University Art Museum/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
39. Kenneth Noland
Untitled signed and dated â€œKenneth Noland 1965â€? on the reverse. acrylic on canvas. 63 1/2 x 63 1/2 in. (161.3 x 161.3 cm.). Painted in 1965. Estimate $500,000-700,000
Provenance Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc., New York (acquired directly from the artist) Private Collection, East Coast (acquired from the above in October 1989) Sotheby’s, New York, May 11, 2011, lot 163 Private Collection (acquired at the above sale) Private Collection (acquired from the above) Phillips, New York, November 16, 2017, lot 39 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner Exhibited New York, Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc., Kenneth Noland: An Important Exhibition of Paintings from 1958 through 1989, October 4 - November 11, 1989, p. 173 (illustrated on the front cover) New York, Sotheby’s S|2, Born in a Minute: Color Field Painting from the 1950s-1970s, September 20 October 14, 2014 Literature Karen Wilkin, Kenneth Noland, New York, 1990, no. 26, p. 126 (illustrated, n.p.)
An ingenious exploration of pure form and sublime color, Untitled is an early example of Kenneth Noland’s renowned Diamond series, one of a discrete series from 1964-1965 known as “square diamonds”. Painted in 1965, it is among the artist’s earliest works on shaped canvas – an innovation that cemented his reputation as one of the most important masters of American abstraction. Developing the potentials of his signature chevron motif, Noland made his painting’s structure integral with the diamond format of its canvas, charging its serene color feld with the dynamism of its composition. One of relatively few Diamond paintings, Untitled is an outstanding example of Noland’s work in private hands, its signifcance underscored by its placement on the cover of the catalogue of his 1989 solo exhibition at the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc., New York. Demonstrating his undisputed abilities as a colorist, Noland created a bold and harmonious interplay of green, red, and blue in Untitled. Using his highly controlled staining method, the artist defned its composition with thinned acrylic paint on raw canvas, at times allowing the colors to subtly bleed into one another and at other times clearly demarcating their forms as crisp lines. As the critic Clement Greenberg declared: “His color counts by its clarity and its energy; it is not there naturally, to be carried by the design and the drawing; it does the carrying itself” (Clement Greenberg, “Louis and Noland” in Kenneth Noland: Paintings, 1958-1989, exh. cat., Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, Inc., New York, 1989, p. 16). Noland developed the chevron as the defning element in his practice from 1963, replacing the concentric circle motif that had marked his artistic breakthrough in the late 1950s. While he initially deployed the V-shaped chevron symmetrically from a central vertical axis, by 1964 Noland had begun to experiment with alternative possibilities for this motif – placing the chevron of-center to emphasize the tension between bounded and unbounded space, reducing the number of bands, and varying his use of color. Noland introduced the chevron into the realm of the shaped picture for the frst time with his Diamond works such as C, 1964, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto;
Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1967. The Art Institute of Chicago/ Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Josef Albers, Study to Homage to the Square: Blue + Darkgreen with 2 Reds, 1955. LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Muenster, Westphalia, Germany, Photo credit: bpk Bildagentur/LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur /Art Resource, NY, Artwork © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Drive, 1964, Saint Louis Art Museum; and the present painting. By turning his square canvas on its axis to create a diamond shape, Noland achieved a dynamic composition in which the edges of the chevron parallel those of the canvas support. He thereby actively energized his painting, making its external shape structurally integral to its composition. Thus, Untitled is not only the culmination of the artist’s banded chevron paintings, but also represents a momentous breakthrough in Noland’s innovations with the shaped canvas, which would lead to the Needle Diamonds of the mid to late 1960s and his acclaimed asymmetrical shaped canvases of the 1970s and 1980s. While the square diamond paintings emerged within a lineage of artistic predecessors such as Piet Mondrian and Ilya Bolotowsky, who was Noland’s teacher at Black Mountain College, they represent a major innovation in the history of modern painting. As art historian Kenworth Mofett noted in reference to this series, “Noland thinks more abstractly” than Mondrian, “and, characteristically, he interlocks the outside and the inside. The diamond is used to accommodate not lines but colored bands in chevron formation... At once open and delimited, they have no unambiguous, behind-the-frame feeling; they seem to be simultaneously a cutout from a series of larger chevrons marching of in one direction and a completely self-sufcient picture object” (Kenworth Mofett, Kenneth Noland, New York, 1979, p. 61). Thus, Untitled represents a major milestone in the artist’s career-long pursuit of achieving a harmonious union between color, image, and support.
Property from a Distiguished European Collection
40. Mark Tansey
View from Mt. Hermeneut signed and titled “View from Mt. Hermeneut Tansey” lower lef; further signed, titled and dated “Tansey 1991 “View from Mt. Hermeneut”” on the reverse. oil on canvas. 61 x 100 in. (154.9 x 254 cm.). Painted in 1991. Estimate $1,000,000-1,500,000
Provenance Curt Marcus Gallery, New York Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Trento, Palazzo delle Albere, American art of the 80’s, December 18, 1991 - March 1, 1992, no. 49, p. 89 (illustrated)
Mark Tansey dramatized the process of interpretation in View from Mt. Hermeneut, 1991, juxtaposing text and image to explore themes of legibility and illegibility. Stretching over 8 feet, this epic canvas draws the viewer in with its intriguing content and expansive blue surface, which he developed with virtuosic additive and subtractive techniques. View from Mt. Hermeneut is from a series of large-scale oil paintings central to Tansey’s considerable aesthetic and conceptual achievements. The present work responds to the ideas proposed by theorists Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man, who wrote about the world as systems of signifying texts, introducing strategies of interpretation intended to destabilize – or deconstruct – those systems. Ingeniously making these notions of the world as text
literal, Tansey used pages from these critics’ books, enlarging and silk-screening them on his canvases to produce the textured masses that form the painting’s rugged landscape. Overprinted and obscured, these texts are rendered indecipherable. As its two protagonists look out into the abyss of the painting’s cryptic textual felds, they stand in for the viewer’s own attempts to determine its meaning. View from Mt. Hermeneut is a visually and conceptually powerful painting from a groundbreaking series that he began in 1987, astutely addressing the ideas of postmodernist philosophy in a brilliantly painted form. Using fgurative painting to explore theoretical subjects, these works operated as allegories that engaged with philosophy, criticism and aesthetic theory. The son of two art historians, Tansey pulled from a vast repertoire of knowledge to create this series of work which was full of allusions to art and ideas. Drawn from his substantial archive of photographic clippings from vintage magazines, books and other sources, their imagery drew upon both fne art and popular culture. The title of View from Mt. Hermeneut refers to a place of Tansey’s own invention that invokes hermeneutics, an interpretive method used to develop a comprehensive understanding of texts and works of art through close reading and consideration of context. Though the faces of Tansey’s fgures are not revealed in this painting, we may identify them as Derrida and de Man, the theorists who inspired this body of work. But any understanding that they have an actual view of the world in this painting is contradicted by its intriguing but indecipherable text and its background of obscure darkness, which is also composed of text. In View from Mt. Hermeneut, therefore, Tansey confronts the idea of metaphorical blindness, a central theme of de Man’s infuential book Blindness and Insight, in which he argues that a critic is metaphorically blinded by his or her own assumptions. To develop the powerful imagery of View from Mt. Hermeneut, Tansey employed two painting processes that are unique to his artistic practice: the frst is subtractive, in which he removed paint to achieve precisely rendered monochromatic imagery, and the
Mark Tansey, Derrida Queries de Man, 1990. Private Collection, Artwork © 2019 Mark Tansey
second is additive, in which he utilized silk-screen to form the painting’s astounding textual landscape. The two fgures in View from Mt. Hermeneut are realized through this subtractive technique: a process by which he applied oil paint to his gessoed canvas, adroitly removing the paint as it dried so as to vary the painting’s tones by selectively revealing its white ground. As Tansey has described, “The fuidity of the paint is always working against the time of the painting. In the frst ffeen minutes fuid washes and gradations can be achieved. Human fgures can be painted in the frst two hours. Afer three hours tacky paint can be blotted and smudged to create such naturalizing efects as atmospheric perspective and obscuring dusts. Afer fve hours only scraping or abrasion is possible” (Mark Tansey, quoted in Arthur C. Danto, Mark Tansey: Visions and Revisions, New York, 1992, p. 127). Using this innovative time-dependent method, Tansey developed his fgures in monochromatic tones that suggest the photographic sources of his imagery while expressing the painted trace of his hand.
Caspar David Friedrich, Chalk Clifs on Rügen, circa 1818. Museum Oskar Reinhart am Stadtgarten, Winterthur, licensed by Art Resource, NY
In contrast, the rugged landscape and background are formed utilizing the additive technique wherein pages of theoretical texts are enlarged, multiplied and applied to his canvas with silk screen. Crumpling the pages, overprinting, blurring, and otherwise obscuring their text, he produced the rugged textures of his painted clifs, establishing an appropriately postmodern slippage of meaning between “text” and “texture”. According to Tansey, “The key to this rendering or representational function is Jacques Derrida’s defnition of text as ‘the trace of the absence of a presence,’ which sounds to me like drawing...and in this sense texture functions as the somewhat forbidden bridge between text and picture. Through abrasion, text can become a geological surface, with smudging it can appear like atmospheric depth, with erasure it can look like water, with crumpling it can be a rock or object rendering, etc.” (Mark Tansey, quoted in Arthur C. Danto, Mark Tansey: Visions and Revisions, New York, 1992, p. 132). In the present painting, Tansey used this method so that its silk-screened sections resemble both printed pages and geological formations. This ingenious dynamic is seen especially in the striking formation on the lef, which reads as both a folded page and a rocky overhang.
In a related painting from the same series, Derrida Queries de Man, 1990, Tansey depicted the two critics locked in struggle on the edge of a perilous chasm that is also composed of silk-screened text. According to Marc Redfeld’s analysis, “the edge of Tansey’s clif is a cut that blurs the diference between seeing and reading, perception and blindness, image and sight” (Marc Redfeld, Theory at Yale: The Strange Case of Deconstruction in America, New York, 2016, p. 175). In View from Mt. Hermeneut, the two are not fghting, but perched together on the precipitously steep clif, peering into the dark layers of densely overlaid text that constitute the painting’s background. With its sense of obscurity and rough landscape, the present work recalls the Romantic theme of the sublime, conveying a sense of transcendence and the unknown. Given the visual magnifcence of View from Mt. Hermeneut, Tansey’s evocation of the sublime raises not only the critical perils of interpreting works of arts, but also its intellectual and aesthetic rewards.
Property from a Private Collection
41. Christopher Wool
Untitled signed, titled, numbered and dated Ă’WOOL UNTITLED 1998 P280Ă“ on the stretcher. enamel on canvas on panel. 108 x 72 in. (274.3 x 183 cm.). Executed in 1998. Estimate $2,000,000-3,000,000
Provenance Luhring Augustine, New York Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin Private Collection, Germany (acquired from the above in 2004) Christie’s, London, February 11, 2015, lot 14 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner Exhibited Berlin, Galerie Max Hetzler, Christopher Wool, September 9 - October 10, 1998 IVAM Institut Valencià d’Art Modern; Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg, Christopher Wool, April 6 September 24, 2006, pp. 90, 209 (illustrated, p. 91) Literature Hans Werner Holzwarth, ed., Christopher Wool, Cologne, 2012, p. 420 (illustrated, p. 216)
“Wool’s work accentuates the tensions and contradictions between the act of painting, the construction of a picture, its physical attributes, the visual experience of looking at it. . . They are defned by what they’re not—and by what they hold back.”
captured the entire composition of a work from his earlier oeuvre. With the same riot of imagery, drips and skips that formed its antecedent, Untitled expands on the visual complexity of the former composition through the addition of markings revealing its own facture, the most overt being the crisply delineated gaps that correspond to the individual screen frames. Of this connection between antecedent and descendent, Ann Goldstein has espoused, “the silkscreen is not merely a reproduction, nor is it secondary to the original, hand-painted picture; rather, both the original and its reproduction are unique and considered equal as paintings” (Ann Goldstein, Christopher Wool, New York, 2012, p. 175). Untitled articulates the critical role the silkscreen technique plays in Wool’s interrogation of the conceptual limits of painting. Wool’s earliest engagement with the method grew out of his use of rollers and rubber stamps during the late 1980s. He then took repetition and seriality one step further in 1992 when he turned to silkscreen to capture his appropriated graphic motifs, reveling in the slippages, splatters and drips that the serial nature of the process generated. 1998 marked a new phase in Wool’s practice, one which saw him move from found imagery to self-appropriation. Untitled forms this new series, where Wool created a multi-part silkscreen from one of his own previously completed paintings, re-imagining the composition onto a new canvas, a support he recently began privileging over
Ann Goldstein, Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1998, p. 263
Untitled, 1998, marks a conceptual shif in Christopher Wool’s oeuvre, one that saw the artist turn to his own back-catalogue of imagery for creative inspiration. Conceived the same year as the artist’s major midcareer retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles that traveled to the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh and Kunsthalle Basel, Untitled was included in the artist’s retrospective at IVAM Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in 2006, later traveling to Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg. Giving the impression of a multi-layered image, Wool in fact conceived Untitled from a multi-part silkscreen that
Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1978. Private Collection, Artwork © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Wool paradoxically captures Untitled’s very facture in his aesthetic decision to retain the ghostly absence of the silkscreen frames as a formal part of the overall composition, giving credence to the artist’s own statement that “it’s easier to defne things by what they’re not than by what they are” (Christopher Wool, quoted in Christopher Wool, exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, 1989, n.p.). The presence of the resulting halos extend the artist’s investigations from a year prior when he overpainted his silkscreened compositions with spray paint “frames”. By starkly bisecting the work across the horizontal and vertical axes in an uneven grid, Wool has dramatically called attention to the framing function, with the rectilinear traces of the silkscreen frames acting “like a disembodied picture of a picture, they frame a painting within a painting” (Ann Goldstein, Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1992, p. 262).
aluminum. In doing so, the composition completely transforms: whereas the source painting presented a proliferation of painterly layering and depth, the new image puts forward “a crisply delineated silhouette of the original, creating a stark, monochrome polarity between ground and image” (Katherine Brinson, Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2013, p. 46).
Above: Francis Picabia, La Sainte Vierge (The Holy Virgin), 1920. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Photo © CNAC/MNAM/Dist. RMNGrand Palais/Art Resource, NY, Artwork © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris Right: Brice Marden, Vine, 1992-1993. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY. Artwork © Brice Marden/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Works such as Untitled would seem to reiterate the conceptual parallels between Wool and Andy Warhol. Ofen connected in relation to their shared penchant for the medium of silkscreen and appropriated imagery, this specifc series extends Wool’s connection to the Pop master who also revisited his own back-catalogue of imagery in his Reversals from the late 1970s as a means of pushing forward his conceptual painterly pursuits. Speaking of this connection, Glenn O’Brien notes, “Warhol found magic in the accidents and imperfections of the printing process... Wool is also interested in the copy of the copy of the copy, but he takes it farther... As the copy is copied it becomes more original and something else emerges, something like the soul of the machine. The process itself is the picture” (Glenn O’Brien, Christopher Wool, New York, 2012, p. 12).
Indicative of the seminal shif that occurred in Wool’s practice in the 1990s, Untitled stands at the confuence of Pop in its method of production and Minimalism in its repudiation of the hand of the artist. Speaking of works like Untitled, Katherine Brinson notes, “Wool’s appropriation-based abstractions are less signs than portraits of paintings, and like the best examples of the genre, they delineate an interior as well an exterior likeness, as if drilling down into the subconscious of the original” (Katherine Brinson, Christopher Wool, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2013, p. 47).
Jean Dubufet Works from the Private Collection of William Harris Smith, Chicago
The collection of works by Jean Dubufet assembled by William Harris Smith spans the two seminal decades of the artist’s career. With one work dating from 1943, at the very beginning of Dubufet’s artistic maturity when he began to develop his signature style, the works form parts of some of his most important series, including Portraits, Corps de dame, Personnages monolithes, and Barbes. It is only too apt that one of the later pictures is from what many consider the apogee of Dubufet’s artistic explorations: the image of two cars relating to the Paris Circus series of the early 1960s. This urban, even cosmopolitan theme is perfectly suited to the legacy that Smith lef in his beloved native Chicago, a city with strong links to Dubufet. The artist had visited Chicago as early as 1951, giving his important lecture “Anticultural Positions” at the Arts Club. In some ways, Dubufet and Smith each took unorthodox approaches to their respective felds. Smith, afer all, was remembered as an “eclectic developer” in an obituary in Crain’s Chicago Business. When Dubufet began honing his style in the early 1940s, he was doing so against the backdrop of the German Occupation of Paris. To create an art so willfully linked to what Dubufet would term Art Brut—the art of those seeing the world in diferent ways, from the mentally ill to children to outsiders— was a bold decision, only a few years afer the phrase Entartete Kunst had been made so widespread. It was the freshness of Dubufet’s provocative vision that saw a number of prominent fgures of the French cultural frmament, in particular writers, gather around him, visiting his studio for glimpses of his trailblazing pictures, which were gleeful afronts to the prevailing tastes of the day. Smith’s collection includes two examples of Dubufet’s 1946 Portraits, one of the series that would see the artist gain
increasing international recognition. As well as the author Marcel Jouhandeau, there is also a depiction of Michel Tapié in profle—an art critic who would come to write about Dubufet, and who would join him in promoting Art Brut. These portraits are but two of the cluster of works from the 1940s, when Dubufet came to prominence. Other milestones resulted from the artist’s 19471948 trip to Algeria, memorialized in Deux Arabes et desert rose El Golia. Meanwhile, later series such as the iconic Corps de dame of 1950 and the Barbes of the end of that decade are also represented, as well as several relating to the zany and intoxicating Paris Circus works of the early 1960s. A highlight from Smith’s collection is Ciboulot Pistolet, 1955, an early oil painting from Dubufet’s wildly experimental Personnages monolithes series. To create the unique surfaces of this painting, the artist spread sheets of folded and crumbled newspaper onto fresh paint and then removed the paper to create an unpredictable array of textures and colors. Subsequently painting the outline of a fgure in black with tremulous lines, Dubufet established a sense of liveliness and motion through the dynamic fow of paint. Fittingly, this comprehensive collection features works created using a variety of techniques, from drawings in charcoal or pen to paintings in gouache and oil, to the complex assemblages and collages of Tête griotte and Barbe des bourreaux de Paris. Looking at this formidable grouping of pictures, it is easy to conclude that it was the combination of Dubufet’s unconventional approach to picture making and his unique, playful, and unvarnished view of the world that attracted Smith to his work.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session Wednesday, May 15 at 11am Lots 101–112 101. Corps de dame, 1950 102. Personnage (no. 25), 1960 103. Personnage (no. 27), 1960 104. Personnage (P. 14), 1960 105. Personnage (mi corps), 1962 106. Jouhandeau innocent, 1946 107. Barbe des bourreaux de Paris, 1959 108. Michel Tapié, 1946 109. Deux arabes, 1948 110. Tête griotte, 1957 111. Buste (avec grafti au couteau), 1962 112. Deux Automobiles (Peugeot, Fiat), 1961
101 109 112
42. Jean Dubufet
Ciboulot Pistolet signed and dated “J. Dubufet 55” lower lef; further signed, titled and dated “Ciboulot Pistolet J. Dubufet Sept. 1955 ” on the reverse. oil on canvas. 39 1/2 x 32 1/8 in. (100.3 x 81.6 cm.). Painted on September 12, 1955. Estimate $500,000-700,000
Provenance Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York Frank Perls Gallery, Los Angeles Private Collection Donald Morris Gallery, Detroit B.C. Holland Inc., Chicago Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Vence, Galerie Les Mages, Vingt tableaux peints récemment à Vence par Jean Dubufet, October 1 - 3, 1955, no. 13 New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Exhibition of paintings and “assemblages d’empreintes” executed in 1954-1955 by Jean Dubufet, February 21 - March 17, 1956, no. 15 (incorrect work illustrated) Detroit, Donald Morris Gallery, Dubufet: paintings drawings gouaches 1946-1966, March 1974, no. 15, n.p. (illustrated) Literature Max Loreau, ed., Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubufet, fascicule XI: Charrettes, jardins, personnages monolithes, Lausanne, 1969, no. 163, pp. 133, 136 (illustrated, p. 107)
Jean Dubufet in his studio in Vence, France, 1959. Image © John Craven, courtesy of the Dubufet Foundation. Artwork © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris
Painted on September 12, 1955, Ciboulot Pistolet is one of Jean Dubufet’s “Personnages monolithes”, an important group of pictures in which the artist developed new ways of manipulating the paint surface. In Ciboulot Pistolet, the sheer darkness of the background thrusts into bold relief a shimmering fgure that appears to coalesce from an incredible combination of lighter colors. The oils that build up the surface of the “personnage” have been pressed, patted and scraped through Dubufet’s use of seemingly myriad efects that the viewers can lose themselves within. Presenting an entire world of detail, the range of colors utilized, some of them pale, others organic and speaking of the soil, while there are also fecks and bursts of intense color elsewhere, succeed in creating a surface flled with infnite variety and endless incident. It appears to vibrate with the very stuf of life. Chance and hazard have brought this fgure into existence—it has emerged from the raw material of the universe—yet they have been skillfully and playfully guided by Dubufet. That playfulness is more than apparent in the open stare that greets us in the face of Ciboulot Pistolet. This picture was painted in Vence, where Dubufet had moved at the beginning of 1954. His and his wife Lili’s new home had been recommended because of the local expertise in pulmonary conditions—Lili had just been diagnosed with tuberculosis. At frst, Dubufet found himself deprived of the space to create anything of signifcant size, beginning with “assemblages” made of segments of printed paper, rearranged in order to conjure a landscape. Some months later, he found a larger studio and was therefore able to return to painting. His works from this period ofen featured a seemingly granular representation of the soil, or landscapes focusing on the overlooked, weed-strewn segments of countryside, ofen by the roadside. In addition, he created some of his butterfy paintings. However, towards the end of 1955, he adapted a new technique that saw him focus on painting, creating his “Personnages monolithes”. By that time, Dubufet had experimented with pressing various objects, including a range of kitchen utensils, against his picture surfaces in order to harness their diferent efects. Here, that system evolved, with the dramatic results seen in Ciboulot Pistolet, through his use of newspaper. Dubufet himself explained the system he developed, which was to remain important to him for some time to come:
it appears organic, while in other areas it takes on a near-geological hue. The face itself has been rendered with minimal means, the wide eyes looking blankly out. It is telling that Dubufet himself wrote, “the indefnite blurred contours of the fgures I had formed, and the way they stood out so startlingly white against the black background, made them look like menhirs” (Jean Dubufet, quoted in Peter Selz, The Work of Jean Dubufet, New York, 1962, p. 115).
Above: Alberto Giacometti, Bust of Man with Sweater, circa 1953. Collection Fondation Alberto & Annette Giacometti/© The Estate of Alberto Giacometti/ Bridgeman Images, Artwork © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP/ FAAG, Paris Right: Jean Dubufet, Pleurnichon, 1954. Private Collection/Photo © Christie’s Images/Bridgeman Images, Artwork © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris
“The paintings were begun in the same way as the Pâtes Battues, a technique I kept going back to, that of spreading with a spatula a very light (almost white) brilliant color generously over layers (dry or partly dry) of diferent dark shades, the paint ofen thickly laid on. But now, over this fresh white paste, I spread various other shades, once more using strong colors and, without letting them dry, I applied whole newspapers, generally folded perpendicularly or sometimes intentionally crumpled. This operation removed a great deal of the color...leaving only spots and fashes arranged in a curious and interesting fashion (with marks lef by the folds of the newspaper). Finally with a large sof brush I spread a background of black paint, leaving, however, the outlines of a person... All I had to do then was to fnish of the fgures lightly with a brush, taking care not to make my interventions too precise and to spoil the character to which they owed their special efect, that of stone fgures born of circumstances almost foreign to the original intentions, rising all at once and instantaneously formed” (Jean Dubufet, quoted in Peter Selz, The Work of Jean Dubufet, New York, 1962, pp. 113-115). The results that so fascinated Dubufet are clear to see in Ciboulot Pistolet, one of the earlier works from the group. Certainly, this looming form, with the light area flled with a dazzling array of marks that combine to create an almost kaleidoscopic efect, appears to have emerged into existence from some primeval matter. Some of the paintwork has been rendered in such a way that
In Ciboulot Pistolet, the creases of the newspaper that had been pressed against the paint surface are still visible, resulting in the block-like accumulation of forms that comprise the bulk of the fgure. In their appearance, they prefgure Dubufet’s Tableaux d’assemblages, which he began shortly aferwards. This was a series in which he took the assemblage technique he had earlier explored in works on paper and now translated it to oils on canvas. This required space—he ultimately built new studios in order to be able to work on them—as well as fendishly strong glue. However, looking at Ciboulot Pistolet, the way that Dubufet has used the newspaper to manipulate the paint surface clearly serves as a bridge between the Assemblages and painting, giving the superfcial impression that the fgure has been created in part through that process. However, the fact that this is a single canvas allows a fow of paint across the entirety of the fgure, harnessed within the confnes of frenetic, tremulous lines, drawing the viewer’s attention hither and thither, creating a dynamic sense of motion, of movement-of life.
Property of a Private European Collector â—‹
43. El Anatsui
Alter Ego aluminum bottle caps and copper wire. 110 x 133 in. (279.4 x 337.8 cm.). Executed in 2014. Estimate $800,000-1,200,000
Provenance Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai Acquired from the above by the present owner
“My chosen media are sourced from my immediate environment; they have been put to intense human use. They are thought to have lost value. They are ignored, discarded or thrown away. . . To me, their provenance imbues or charges them with history and content, which I seek to explore in order to highlight certain conditions of mankind’s existence. . . I therefore try to bring these objects back, to present them again in ways which seem to make them confront their former lives and the lives of those who have used them.” El Anatsui
El Anatsui. Photo courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, Artwork © El Anatsui
Alter Ego, 2014 is a powerful piece by internationally acclaimed artist El Anatsui. Working with a wide range of materials that include wood, ceramics, stone, and metal, Anatsui is best known for his works composed of aluminum and copper such as this mesmerizing example. He creates these visually and conceptually compelling pieces with liquor bottle caps that have been fattened, crumpled, or otherwise manipulated, then pierced and attached together with copper wire. Measuring over 9 by 11 feet, the immense Alter Ego is both heavily weighted and fexible, strong and supple – suggesting both textiles and armor or scales. Comprised primarily of luminous aluminum bottle caps, Anatsui interrupted the integrity of its surface with jagged holes and linear rips, some of which he partially flled in with bright patterns also assembled from the caps of liquor bottles. Born in Ghana, Anatsui moved in 1975 to teach at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and has worked there ever since. In 2015, his accomplishments were recognized with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. According to the late Biennale curator Okwui Enwezor, “El Anatsui is perhaps the most signifcant living African artist working on the continent today... The Golden Lion Award acknowledges not just his recent successes internationally, but also his artistic infuence amongst two generations of artists working in West Africa” (Okwui Enwezor, “El Anatsui – Golden Lion”, 56th Venice Biennale Universes in Universe, May 9, 2015, online). The artist’s achievements are currently being celebrated in his largest exhibition to date, El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale which was curated by Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu at Haus der Kunst, Munich.
Dominated by the metallic sheen of aluminum, Alter Ego is punctuated by sections of brightly colored caps, some of which feature repetitions of their manufacturers’ logos. Assembled from bottle tops used to cap liquor made in West Africa, Anatsui’s work calls forth associations with social issues, a globalized economy, and the history of Africa in relation to the rest of world. As the artist explained: “When I frst found the bag of bottle tops, I thought of the objects as links between Africa and Europe. European traders introduced the bottle tops, and alcohol was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Europeans made rum in the West Indies, took it to Liverpool, and then sent
Right: El Anatsui’s Fresh and Fading Memories installed on the façade of Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, Italy, 2007. Photo courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, Artwork © El Anatsui
it back to Africa. For me, the bottle caps have a strong reference to the history of Africa” (El Anatsui, quoted in Erika Gee, El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa, exh. cat., Museum of African Art, New York, 2010, pp. 33-34). With their copious metaphorical associations and Anatsui’s continual expansion of their compositional possibilities, these works continue to sustain the artist’s attention. Flexible, usually hung on the wall, and assembled in a way that suggests weaving, this body of works are frequently compared to textiles, particularly to the brilliantly patterned kente cloth of his native Ghana. In Alter Ego, Anatsui extended an aspect of the work’s materiality, creating irregular holes and rips that interrupt the integrity of its surface and reveal the wall behind it. Bounded by thin strips of black metal that emphasize their contours, these holes suggest textile or another material that has been burnt, torn, or worn out. These ruptures in the work’s surface are related to those found in his monumental sculptures Fresh and Fading Memories, 2007, and Broken Bridge II, 2012, in which Anatsui incorporated breaks in the works’ surface. If the holes and rips in Alter Ego convey a metaphor of breaking down form, however, Anatsui has also built them back up, partially flling these gaps and rips with colorful patterns comprised of metal bottle caps, and suggesting a process of mending, reconstruction, or replacement with a new material.
Property from a Distinguished Private Collection
44. Anish Kapoor
Untitled signed and dated â€œAnish Kapoor 2012â€? on the reverse. stainless steel and resin. 78 3/4 x 78 3/4 x 14 in. (200 x 200 x 35.6 cm.). Executed in 2012. Estimate $700,000-900,000
Provenance Gladstone Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
Anish Kapoor’s Untitled is a luminous example of the artist’s multisensory exploration of space and the gaze within his series of refective concave mirrors. Peering into the mirror, the viewer is confronted with a magnifed vision of themselves as if transformed through pure abstraction. The fractured surface of stainless steel triangles enacts a kaleidoscope efect, absorbing and distorting everything in its path. Executed in 2012, another example of this work is held by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. The perfection of its surface is critical to the aperture’s ability to refect and magnify objects around it, since the concave form enhances the appearance of every fragment. Its fawlessness makes the viewer lose sight of the medium, becoming immersed in the parallel universe intrinsic to Kapoor’s creations.
Anish Kapoor, Tall Tree and The Eye, 2009. Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, Image © Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, Jean Bernard/Bridgeman Images, Artwork © Anish Kapoor
Kapoor began creating concave mirrors in the mid-1990s, fascinated by the objects’ propensities to oscillate between sensual beauty and uncanny dematerialization. In a 2015 interview about his mirror installation at Versailles, famously the home of a thousand mirrors, Kapoor declared, “Sensuality is terror... Sensuality somehow convinces us we are not alone.” Yet the glittering shadow is ofset by the inverted form which resembles a hollow chasm, activated by the presence of the spectator. “A void object is not an empty object; its potential for generative possibility is ever present. It is pregnant. The void returns the gaze. Its blank face forces us to fll in content and meaning. Emptiness becomes fullness. Things are turned upside down... The art I love, the art I make, I hope, celebrates the sensual while always knowing that decay is close” (Anish Kapoor, quoted in “Blood and Light. In Conversation with Julia Kristeva”, 2015, Anish Kapoor, online). Untitled can be imagined as the culmination of this investigation, one of a series of metonymic works which are implicitly concerned with multiplying spatial illusions, iterating Kapoor’s long-held engagement with geometry as a language of form that explores the nature of the object and our relation to it. With works such as Tall Tree and the Eye, 2009 and the fractured and pixelated surface of Untitled Kapoor introduces an entropic disruption to the space between subject and object, where wholeness is shattered in the multiplicity of distortion the object presents. The uncanny sense of limitlessness produced by the refection recalls Kapoor’s interest in the analogy between the idea of the sublime in the artistic tradition and the cosmic concept of a parallel universe. “The spatial questions [the mirrored object] seemed to ask were not about deep space but about present space, which I began to think about as a new sublime. If the traditional sublime is in deep space, then this is proposing that the contemporary sublime is in front of the picture plane, not beyond it”, Kapoor explained (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Anish Kapoor: Past Present Future, exh. cat., The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2008, p. 52). When the viewer peers into its dizzying surface, Untitled subsumes the material body
Caspar David Friedrich, Le Voyageur contemplant une mer de nuages, 1818. Hamburger Kunsthalle, © Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany/ Bridgeman Images
into an illusion of immateriality – an answer to an unspoken question, the embodiment of spiritual selfperception realized. The Romantic pursuit of the sublime fgures strongly in Kapoor’s infuences, particularly Caspar David Friedrich’s hypnotic paintings of Rückenfgur: people seen from behind, contemplating vast landscapes swathed in pale fog. By rendering his characters anonymous, his landscapes vague, Friedrich allowed his spectators to identify themselves at the precipice of the unknown. By contrast, Untitled performs the same visual alchemy in front of the picture plane rather than on its surface, enabling the potential for transcendence through the warped dimension of the convex shell. Catalyzing the surrounding environment in a brilliant refective vortex, Untitled symbolizes the essence of sight and perception as plane, space and image. As art historian Victoria Turvey Sauron wrote on Kapoor’s mirrored works, “This all-surface is both fascinatingly beautiful and profoundly threatening, profoundly implicating the subject’s gaze while threatening its very coherence, by suggesting that both subject and gaze are being sucked inside an interior which cannot be known or imagined, the sense of surface is so overwhelming” (Victoria Turvey Sauron, The Sacred and the Feminine, New York, 2009, p. 196).
45. Chris Ofli
The Naked Spirit of Captain Shit and the Legend of the Black Stars signed, titled and dated ““The naked spirit of captain shit and the legend of the black stars” 2000/2001 Chris Ofli” on the stretcher and on the overlap. acrylic, oil, phosphorescent paint, paper collage, glitter, polyester resin, map pins on linen, and elephant dung. 100 3/4 x 72 x 6 1/8 in. (255.9 x 182.9 x 15.6 cm.). Executed in 2000-2001. Estimate $400,000-600,000
Provenance Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York Private Collection, Miami David Zwirner Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum, Fabulism, January 31 April 25, 2004, pp. 20-21, 95 (illustrated, p. 52; illustrated in phosphorescent state, p. 53) New York, New Museum; Aspen Art Museum, Chris Ofli: Night and Day, October 29, 2014 - October 18, 2015, p. 210 (illustrated, p. 156) Literature Peter Doig et. al., Chris Ofli, New York, 2009, p. 264 (illustrated in phosphorescent state, p. 98; illustrated, p. 99) David Ebony, “A Fresh Look at Chris Ofli, a Painter Propelled by Controversy, at the New Museum”, Observer, November 19, 2014, online Alexander Shulan, “CHRIS OFILI Night and Day”, The Brooklyn Rail, December 18, 2014, online
Executed in 2000-2001, The Naked Spirit of Captain Shit and the Legend of the Black Stars, is one of ten paintings belonging to the seminal Captain Shit series begun in 1996, from which others are held by Tate, London and the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. Saturated in 1970s nostalgia, the present work features Ofli’s invented superhero Captain Shit rendered in a dazzling layer of glitter and resin atop a phosphorescent canvas smattered with gray stars, supported underneath by the artist’s signature elephant dung feet bearing the text “NAKED SPIRIT”. Created two years afer Ofli became the frst painter to win the Turner Prize since Howard Hodgkin in 1985, this visionary work is one of the last from the series, auguring Ofli’s appointment as the British representative at the Venice Biennale in 2003. The work was a highlight of the 2014 exhibition Night and Day at the New Museum, New York, Ofli’s frst major exhibition in the U.S. since his inclusion in the controversial Sensation exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1997. Ofli created the character of Captain Shit as a means of deconstructing ideas of black iconography in popular culture. He was infuenced by a mélange of comic-book characters such as Afrodisiac, Luke Cage and the Black Panther, as well as the 1970s Blaxploitation flm genre.
The result redresses the absence of black heroes from television, while simultaneously contributing to the caricatured representation of black culture. Captain Shit’s primary homage, as evident by his name, is Captain Sky, the alter ego of 1970s funk singer Daryl L. Cameron, who shares Captain Shit’s dazzling yellow and silver costume and enormous belt buckle emblazoned with “CS”. The overall imagery of the series is informed by Captain Sky’s vintage album cover artworks. The art curator Okwui Enwezor suggests that the Captain Shit series “explores the black male as a kind of comic superhero, but one whose armors of masculinity and powers of persuasion lie in the ambivalent iconographies of the seventies funk music scene” (Okwui Enwezor, Chris Ofli, New York, 2009, p. 152). In addition to Captain Shit acting as commentary on black masculinity, the real piece de resistance of the painting comes in the form of mask-shaped magazine cut-outs of faces in the surrounding “black stars”, a reference to actual achievements of black luminaries. When seen in the darkness, the entire canvas becomes emerald green, illuminating the stars which surge to the forefront of the painting as the fgure of Captain Shit disintegrates. Poignantly, the true stories of black history displace the parody, which fades into shadow. The clichés embodied
Present lot in phosphorescent state. Right: Daryl L. Cameron as Captain Sky, 1985. David Toop, The Rap Attack African Jive to New York Hip Hop, New South Wales, 1999.
in the hyper-macho Captain Shit – with his exaggerated scarlet mouth, long green nails and oversized phallus – are part of Ofli’s wide-reaching exploration of the representation of black culture in Western media, including his profound awareness of societal misrepresentations of the black artist. In a 1995 interview, Ofli explained that the black artist is constantly stereotyped as “the Voodoo king... the witch doctor, the drug dealer, the Magicien de la terre, the exotic” (Chris Ofli, quoted in Marcelo Spinelli, Brilliant! New Art from London, exh. cat., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1995, p. 67). Ofli’s encyclopedic translation of such pressures into composite characters recalls the wry uber-referentialism of Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist who greatly infuenced Ofli’s early work. Like Basquiat, Ofli weaves in cultural critique using disparate references to racial inequalities, art historical touchstones, jazz and celebrity heroes. Furthermore, his parody is in direct lineage with Andy Warhol’s silkscreens of mid-century celebrities – particularly Warhol’s hip-swinging double Elvis, a motif also referenced in an earlier work from Ofli’s series, Double Captain Shit and the Legend of the Black Stars, 1997. Texturally, Ofli’s subversive style emerges through a multilayered amalgam of media relating to both real and
imagined “Africanness”. The haptic interplay of resin dots was inspired by Ofli’s visit to Zimbabwe in 1992, where he saw ancient cave paintings, as was the elephant dung. Yet Ofli’s signature incorporation of the substance also fgures as a nuanced joke on the media’s perception of “African” art, since it actually comes from the London Zoo. “There’s something incredibly simple...about it”, Ofli has said. “It attracts multiple meanings and interpretations” (Chris Ofli, quoted in Carol Vogel, “Chris Ofli: British Artist Holds Fast to His Inspiration”, The New York Times, September 28, 1999, online). Although the medium is sufused with references to primitive earth, Ofli decontextualizes these associations by integrating excrement as a sculptural device to lif the painting of the ground, a provocative transgression of the sanctity of the painted canvas. Eliding facile categorization, The Naked Spirit of Captain Shit and the Legend of the Black Stars is as acutely topical and thought-provoking today as it was on the day of its creation. As critic Alexander Schulan marveled on the occasion of the New Museum retrospective, “Even now, 20 years later, the work bristles with the energy that made Ofli a young artworld star, and the issues it raises are no less pertinent” (Alexander Shulan, “CHRIS OFILI Night and Day”, The Brooklyn Rail, December 18, 2014, online).
Sale Information Sale begins at 5pm
Auction & Viewing Location 450 Park Avenue New York 10022
20th Century & Contemporary Art Department
Auction License 2013224
Auction Thursday, 16 May 2019, 5pm Admission to this sale is by ticket only. Please call +1 212 940 1236 or email email@example.com
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Auctioneers Hugues Joffre - 2028495 Sarah Krueger - 1460468 Henry Highley - 2008889 Adam Clay - 2039323 Jonathan Crockett - 2056239 Samuel Mansour - 2059023 Rebecca Tooby-Desmond - 2058901 Susan Abeles - 2074459 Aurel Bacs – 2047217 Blake Koh – 2066237 Susannah Brockman – 2058779 Rebekah Bowling - 2078967
Viewing 3 – 15 May Monday – Saturday 10am–6pm Sunday 12pm–6pm Sale Designation When sending in written bids or making enquiries please refer to this sale as NY010319 or 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Absentee and Telephone Bids tel +1 212 940 1228 fax +1 212 924 1749 email@example.com
Cataloguer Annie Dolan +1 212 940 1288 firstname.lastname@example.org Administrator Brittany Jones +1 212 940 1255 email@example.com Copyright Administrator Chanah Haddad +1 212 940 1319 firstname.lastname@example.org Researcher/Writer Martin Fox +1 212 940 1312 email@example.com Property Manager Ryan Falkowitz +1 212 940 1376 firstname.lastname@example.org Photography Jean Bourbon Kent Pell Mark Babushkin
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Front cover Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self Portrait, 1983, lot 29 (detail) © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Inside front cover KAWS, THE WALK HOME, 2012, lot 17 (detail) © KAWS Frank Stella, Scramble: Descending Blue Values/Ascending Spectrum, 1977, lot 26 (detail) © 2019 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1970, lot 38 (detail) © Cy Twombly Foundation Keith Haring and LA II (Angel Ortiz), Untitled (Two-Panel Mural), 1982, lot 30 (detail) © The Keith Haring Foundation Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robot Man, 1982, lot 21 (detail) © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Eva Hesse, No title, 1967, lot 23 (detail) © The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth Dana Schutz, Signing, 2009, lot 34 (detail) © 2019 Dana Schutz. Courtesy Petzel, New York
Pat Steir, Monk Tuyu Meditating Waterfall, 1991, lot 33 (detail) © Pat Steir, courtesy Lévy Gorvy and Pat Steir To Repel Ghosts spread © 2019 The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Jean Dubufet spread © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris Robert Colescott, Knowledge of the Past is the Key to the Future: The Original, 1984, lot 35 (detail) © 2019 Estate of Robert Colescott /Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Tomoo Gokita, Be Just Like Family, 2015, lot 20 (detail) © Tomoo Gokita Inside back cover El Anatsui, Alter Ego, 2014, lot 43 (detail) © El Anatasui Back cover Willem de Kooning, Untitled XVI, 1976, lot 26 © 2019 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
35. Robert Colescott
20. Tomoo Gokita
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Guide for Prospective Buyers
1 Prior to Auction
Condition of Lots Our catalogues include references to condition only in the descriptions of multiple works (e.g., prints). Such references, though, do not amount to a full description of condition. The absence of reference to the condition of a lot in the catalogue entry does not imply that the lot is free from faults or imperfections. Solely as a convenience to clients, Phillips may provide condition reports. In preparing such reports, our specialists assess the condition in a manner appropriate to the estimated value of the property and the nature of the auction in which it is included. While condition reports are prepared honestly and carefully, our staf are not professional restorers or trained conservators. We therefore encourage all prospective buyers to inspect the property at the pre-sale exhibitions and recommend, particularly in the case of any lot of signifcant value, that you retain your own restorer or professional advisor to report to you on the property’s condition prior to bidding. Any prospective buyer of photographs or prints should always request a condition report because all such property is sold unframed, unless otherwise indicated in the condition report. If a lot is sold framed, Phillips accepts no liability for the condition of the frame. If we sell any lot unframed, we will be pleased to refer the purchaser to a professional framer.
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2 Bidding in the Sale
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Fernando Botero NiĂąa bronze with dark brown patina 106.7 x 61 x 40.6 cm. (42 x 24 x 15 7/8 in.) Executed in 1981 Estimate HKD 2,500,000-3,500,000
20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening & Day Sales Hong Kong, 26 May 2019 JW Marriott Hong Kong Enquiries Isaure de Viel Castel IsaureDeVielCastel@phillips.com
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Online Bidding If you cannot attend the auction in person, you may bid online on our online live bidding platform available on our website at www.phillips.com. The digital saleroom is optimized to run on Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer browsers. Clients who wish to run the platform on Safari will need to install Adobe FlashPlayer. Follow the links to ‘Auctions’ and ‘Digital Saleroom’ and then pre-register by clicking on ‘Register to Bid Live.’ The frst time you register you will be required to create an account; thereafer you will only need to register for each sale. You must pre-register at least 24 hours before the start of the auction in order to be approved by our bid department. Please note that corporate frewalls may cause difculties for online bidders.
3 The Auction
Absentee Bids If you are unable to attend the auction and cannot participate by telephone, Phillips will be happy to execute written bids on your behalf. A bidding form can be found at the back of this catalogue. This service is free and confdential. Bids must be placed in the currency of the sale. Our staf will attempt to execute an absentee bid at the lowest possible price taking into account the reserve and other bidders. Always indicate a maximum bid, excluding the buyer’s premium and any applicable taxes. Unlimited bids will not be accepted. Any absentee bid must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the sale. In the event of identical bids, the earliest bid received will take precedence.
Consecutive and Responsive Bidding; No Reserve Lots The auctioneer may open the bidding on any lot by placing a bid on behalf of the seller. The auctioneer may further bid on behalf of the seller up to the amount of the reserve by placing consecutive bids or bids in response to other bidders. If a lot is ofered without reserve, unless there are already competing absentee bids, the auctioneer will generally open the bidding at 50% of the lot’s low pre-sale estimate. In the absence of a bid at that level, the auctioneer will proceed backwards at his or her discretion until a bid is recognized and will then advance the bidding from that amount. Absentee bids on no reserve lots will, in the absence of a higher bid, be executed at approximately 50% of the low pre-sale estimate or at the amount of the bid if it is less than 50% of the low pre-sale estimate. If there is no bid whatsoever on a no reserve lot, the auctioneer may deem such lot unsold.
Employee Bidding Employees of Phillips and our afliated companies, including the auctioneer, may bid at the auction by placing absentee bids so long as they do not know the reserve when submitting their absentee bids and otherwise comply with our employee bidding procedures. Bidding Increments Bidding generally opens below the low estimate and advances in increments of up to 10%, subject to the auctioneer’s discretion. Absentee bids that do not conform to the increments set below may be lowered to the next bidding increment. $50 to $1,000 $1,000 to $2,000 $2,000 to $3,000 $3,000 to $5,000 (i.e., $4,200, 4,500, 4,800)
by $50s by $100s by $200s by $200s, 500, 800
$50,000 to $100,000 $100,000 to $200,000 above $200,000
by $500s by $1,000s by $2,000s by $2,000s, 5,000, 8,000 by $5,000s by $10,000s auctioneer’s discretion
The auctioneer may vary the increments during the course of the auction at his or her own discretion.
Conditions of Sale As noted above, the auction is governed by the Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty. All prospective bidders should read them carefully. They may be amended by saleroom addendum or auctioneer’s announcement. Interested Parties Announcement In situations where a person allowed to bid on a lot has a direct or indirect interest in such lot, such as the benefciary or executor of an estate selling the lot, a joint owner of the lot or a party providing or participating in a guarantee on the lot, Phillips will make an announcement in the saleroom that interested parties may bid on the lot.
4 Afer the Auction
Collection It is our policy to request proof of identity on collection of a lot. A lot will be released to the buyer or the buyer’s authorized representative when Phillips has received full and cleared payment and we are not owed any other amount by the buyer. Promptly afer the auction, we will transfer all lots to our warehouse located at 29-09 37th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, New York. All purchased lots should be collected at this location during our regular weekday business hours. As a courtesy to clients, we will upon request transfer purchased lots suitable for hand carry back to our premises at 450 Park Avenue, New York, New York for collection within 30 days following the date of the auction. We will levy removal, interest, storage and handling charges on uncollected lots. Loss or Damage Buyers are reminded that Phillips accepts liability for loss or damage to lots for a maximum of seven days following the auction. Transport and Shipping As a free service for buyers, Phillips will wrap purchased lots for hand carry only. Alternatively, we will either provide packing, handling and shipping services or coordinate with shipping agents in order to facilitate such services for property purchased at Phillips. In the event that the property is collected in New York by the buyer or the buyer’s designee (including any private carrier) for subsequent transport out of state, Phillips may be required by law to collect New York sales tax, regardless of the lot’s ultimate destination. Please refer to Paragraph 17 of the Conditions of Sale for more information. Export and Import Licenses Before bidding for any property, prospective bidders are advised to make independent inquiries as to whether a license is required to export the property from the United States or to import it into another country. It is the buyer’s sole responsibility to comply with all import and export laws and to obtain any necessary licenses or permits. The denial of any required license or permit or any delay in obtaining such documentation will not justify the cancellation of the sale or any delay in making full payment for the lot. Regulated Species Items made of or incorporating plant or animal material,
Payment Buyers are required to pay for purchases immediately following the auction unless other arrangements are agreed with Phillips in writing in advance of the sale. Payment must be made in US dollars either by cash, check drawn on a US bank or wire transfer, as noted in Paragraph 6 of the Conditions of Sale. It is our corporate policy not to make or accept single or multiple payments in cash or cash equivalents in excess of US$2,000 in any calendar year.
such as coral, crocodile, ivory, whalebone, Brazilian rosewood, rhinoceros horn or tortoiseshell, irrespective of age, percentage or value, may require a license or certifcate prior to exportation and additional licenses or certifcates upon importation to any foreign country. Please note that the ability to obtain an export license or certifcate does not ensure the ability to obtain an import license or certifcate in another country, and vice versa. We suggest that prospective bidders check with their
Credit Cards As a courtesy to clients, Phillips will accept American Express, Visa and Mastercard to pay for invoices of $50,000 or less.
own government regarding wildlife import requirements prior to placing a bid. It is the buyer’s sole responsibility to obtain any necessary export or import licenses or certifcates as well as any other required documentation.
Conditions of Sale The Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty set forth below govern the relationship between bidders and buyers, on the one hand, and Phillips and sellers, on the other hand. All prospective buyers should read these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty carefully before bidding. 1 Introduction Each lot in this catalogue is ofered for sale and sold subject to: (a) the Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty; (b) additional notices and terms printed in other places in this catalogue, including the Guide for Prospective Buyers, and (c) supplements to this catalogue or other written material posted by Phillips in the saleroom, in each case as amended by any addendum or announcement by the auctioneer prior to the auction. By bidding at the auction, whether in person, through an agent, by written bid, by telephone bid or other means, bidders and buyers agree to be bound by these Conditions of Sale, as so changed or supplemented, and Authorship Warranty. These Conditions of Sale, as so changed or supplemented, and Authorship Warranty contain all the terms on which Phillips and the seller contract with the buyer. 2 Phillips as Agent Phillips acts as an agent for the seller, unless otherwise indicated in this catalogue or at the time of auction. On occasion, Phillips may own a lot directly, in which case we will act in a principal capacity as a consignor, or a company afliated with Phillips may own a lot, in which case we will act as agent for that company, or Phillips or an afliated company may have a legal, benefcial or fnancial interest in a lot as a secured creditor or otherwise. 3 Catalogue Descriptions and Condition of Property Lots are sold subject to the Authorship Warranty, as described in the catalogue (unless such description is changed or supplemented, as provided in Paragraph 1 above) and in the condition that they are in at the time of the sale on the following basis. (a) The knowledge of Phillips in relation to each lot is partially dependent on information provided to us by the seller, and Phillips is not able to and does not carry out exhaustive due diligence on each lot. Prospective buyers acknowledge this fact and accept responsibility for carrying out inspections and investigations to satisfy themselves as to the lots in which they may be interested. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we shall exercise such reasonable care when making express statements in catalogue descriptions or condition reports as is consistent with our role as auctioneer of lots in this sale and in light of (i) the information provided to us by the seller, (ii) scholarship and technical knowledge and (iii) the generally accepted opinions of relevant experts, in each case at the time any such express statement is made. (b) Each lot ofered for sale at Phillips is available for inspection by prospective buyers prior to the auction. Phillips accepts bids on lots on the basis that bidders
(and independent experts on their behalf, to the extent appropriate given the nature and value of the lot and the bidder’s own expertise) have fully inspected the lot prior to bidding and have satisfed themselves as to both the condition of the lot and the accuracy of its description. (c) Prospective buyers acknowledge that many lots are of an age and type which means that they are not in perfect condition. As a courtesy to clients, Phillips may prepare and provide condition reports to assist prospective buyers when they are inspecting lots. Catalogue descriptions and condition reports may make reference to particular imperfections of a lot, but bidders should note that lots may have other faults not expressly referred to in the catalogue or condition report. All dimensions are approximate. Illustrations are for identifcation purposes only and cannot be used as precise indications of size or to convey full information as to the actual condition of lots. (d) Information provided to prospective buyers in respect of any lot, including any pre-sale estimate, whether written or oral, and information in any catalogue, condition or other report, commentary or valuation, is not a representation of fact but rather a statement of opinion held by Phillips. Any pre-sale estimate may not be relied on as a prediction of the selling price or value of the lot and may be revised from time to time by Phillips in our absolute discretion. Neither Phillips nor any of our afliated companies shall be liable for any diference between the pre-sale estimates for any lot and the actual price achieved at auction or upon resale. 4 Bidding at Auction (a) Phillips has absolute discretion to refuse admission to the auction or participation in the sale. All bidders must register for a paddle prior to bidding, supplying such information and references as required by Phillips. (b) As a convenience to bidders who cannot attend the auction in person, Phillips may, if so instructed by the bidder, execute written absentee bids on a bidder’s behalf. Absentee bidders are required to submit bids on the Absentee Bid Form, a copy of which is printed in this catalogue or otherwise available from Phillips. Bids must be placed in the currency of the sale. The bidder must clearly indicate the maximum amount he or she intends to bid, excluding the buyer’s premium and any applicable sales or use taxes. The auctioneer will not accept an instruction to execute an absentee bid which does not indicate such maximum bid. Our staf will attempt to execute an absentee bid at the lowest possible price taking into account the reserve and other bidders. Any absentee bid must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the sale. In the event of identical bids, the earliest bid received will take precedence. (c) Telephone bidders are required to submit bids on the Telephone Bid Form, a copy of which is printed in this catalogue or otherwise available from Phillips. Telephone bidding is available for lots whose low pre-sale estimate is at least $1,000. Phillips reserves the right to require written confrmation of a successful bid from a telephone bidder by fax or otherwise immediately afer such bid
is accepted by the auctioneer. Telephone bids may be recorded and, by bidding on the telephone, a bidder consents to the recording of the conversation. (d) Bidders may participate in an auction by bidding online through Phillips’s online live bidding platform available on our website at www.phillips.com. To bid online, bidders must register online at least 24 hours before the start of the auction. Online bidding is subject to approval by Phillips’s bid department in our sole discretion. As noted in Paragraph 3 above, Phillips encourages online bidders to inspect prior to the auction any lot(s) on which they may bid, and condition reports are available upon request. Bidding in a live auction can progress quickly. To ensure that online bidders are not placed at a disadvantage when bidding against bidders in the room or on the telephone, the procedure for placing bids through Phillips’s online bidding platform is a one-step process. By clicking the bid button on the computer screen, a bidder submits a bid. Online bidders acknowledge and agree that bids so submitted are fnal and may not under any circumstances be amended or retracted. During a live auction, when bids other than online bids are placed, they will be displayed on the online bidder’s computer screen as ‘foor’ bids. ‘Floor’ bids include bids made by the auctioneer to protect the reserve. In the event that an online bid and a ‘foor’ or ‘phone’ bid are identical, the ‘foor’ bid may take precedence at the auctioneer’s discretion. The next bidding increment is shown for the convenience of online bidders in the bid button. The bidding increment available to online bidders may vary from the next bid actually taken by the auctioneer, as the auctioneer may deviate from Phillips’s standard increments at any time at his or her discretion, but an online bidder may only place a bid in a whole bidding increment. Phillips’s bidding increments are published in the Guide for Prospective Buyers. (e) When making a bid, whether in person, by absentee bid, on the telephone or online, a bidder accepts personal liability to pay the purchase price, as described more fully in Paragraph 6 (a) below, plus all other applicable charges unless it has been explicitly agreed in writing with Phillips before the commencement of the auction that the bidder is acting as agent on behalf of an identifed third party acceptable to Phillips and that we will only look to the principal for such payment. (f) By participating in the auction, whether in person, by absentee bid, on the telephone or online, each prospective buyer represents and warrants that any bids placed by such person, or on such person’s behalf, are not the product of any collusive or other anti-competitive agreement and are otherwise consistent with federal and state antitrust law. (g) Arranging absentee, telephone and online bids is a free service provided by Phillips to prospective buyers. While we undertake to exercise reasonable care in undertaking such activity, we cannot accept liability for failure to execute such bids except where such failure is caused by our willful misconduct.
20th Century & Contemporary Art London, 27 & 28 June 2019 Evening Auction 27 June 2019 Day Auction 28 June 2019 Enquiries +44 20 7318 4050 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roy Lichtenstein The Conductor oil and Magna on canvas 188 x 137.2 cm (74 x 54 in.) Painted in 1975. Â© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2019.
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(h) Employees of Phillips and our afliated companies, including the auctioneer, may bid at the auction by placing absentee bids so long as they do not know the reserve when submitting their absentee bids and otherwise comply with our employee bidding procedures. 5 Conduct of the Auction (a) Unless otherwise indicated by the symbol •, each lot is ofered subject to a reserve, which is the confdential minimum selling price agreed by Phillips with the seller. The reserve will not exceed the low pre-sale estimate at the time of the auction. (b) The auctioneer has discretion at any time to refuse any bid, withdraw any lot, re-ofer a lot for sale (including afer the fall of the hammer) if he or she believes there may be error or dispute and take such other action as he or she deems reasonably appropriate. Phillips shall have no liability whatsoever for any such action taken by the auctioneer. If any dispute arises afer the sale, our sale record is conclusive. The auctioneer may accept bids made by a company afliated with Phillips provided that the bidder does not know the reserve placed on the lot. (c) The auctioneer will commence and advance the bidding at levels and in increments he or she considers appropriate. In order to protect the reserve on any lot, the auctioneer may place one or more bids on behalf of the seller up to the reserve without indicating he or she is doing so, either by placing consecutive bids or bids in response to other bidders. If a lot is ofered without reserve, unless there are already competing absentee bids, the auctioneer will generally open the bidding at 50% of the lot’s low pre-sale estimate. In the absence of a bid at that level, the auctioneer will proceed backwards at his or her discretion until a bid is recognized and will then advance the bidding from that amount. Absentee bids on no reserve lots will, in the absence of a higher bid, be executed at approximately 50% of the low pre-sale estimate or at the amount of the bid if it is less than 50% of the low pre-sale estimate. If there is no bid whatsoever on a no reserve lot, the auctioneer may deem such lot unsold. (d) The sale will be conducted in US dollars and payment is due in US dollars. For the beneft of international clients, pre-sale estimates in the auction catalogue may be shown in pounds sterling and/or euros and, if so, will refect approximate exchange rates. Accordingly, estimates in pounds sterling or euros should be treated only as a guide. If a currency converter is operated during the sale, it is done so as a courtesy to bidders, but Phillips accepts no responsibility for any errors in currency conversion calculation. (e) Subject to the auctioneer’s reasonable discretion, the highest bidder accepted by the auctioneer will be the buyer and the striking of the hammer marks the acceptance of the highest bid and the conclusion of a contract for sale between the seller and the buyer. Risk and responsibility for the lot passes to the buyer as set forth in Paragraph 7 below.
(f) If a lot is not sold, the auctioneer will announce that it has been “passed,” “withdrawn,” “returned to owner” or “bought-in.”
(d) As a courtesy to clients, Phillips will accept American Express, Visa and Mastercard to pay for invoices of $50,000 or less.
(g) Any post-auction sale of lots ofered at auction shall incorporate these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty as if sold in the auction.
(e) Title in a purchased lot will not pass until Phillips has received the Purchase Price for that lot in cleared funds. Phillips is not obliged to release a lot to the buyer until title in the lot has passed and appropriate identifcation has been provided, and any earlier release does not afect the passing of title or the buyer’s unconditional obligation to pay the Purchase Price.
6 Purchase Price and Payment (a) The buyer agrees to pay us, in addition to the hammer price of the lot, the buyer’s premium and any applicable sales tax (the “Purchase Price”). The buyer’s premium is 25% of the hammer price up to and including $400,000, 20% of the portion of the hammer price above $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000 and 13.5% of the portion of the hammer price above $4,000,000. Phillips reserves the right to pay from our compensation an introductory commission to one or more third parties for assisting in the sale of property ofered and sold at auction.
(b) Sales tax, use tax and excise and other taxes are payable in accordance with applicable law. All prices, fees, charges and expenses set out in these Conditions of Sale are quoted exclusive of applicable taxes. Phillips will only accept valid resale certifcates from US dealers as proof of exemption from sales tax. All foreign buyers should contact the Client Accounting Department about tax matters. (c) Unless otherwise agreed, a buyer is required to pay for a purchased lot immediately following the auction regardless of any intention to obtain an export or import license or other permit for such lot. Payments must be made by the invoiced party in US dollars either by cash, check drawn on a US bank or wire transfer, as follows: (i) Phillips will accept payment in cash provided that the total amount paid in cash or cash equivalents does not exceed US$2,000. Buyers paying in cash should do so in person at our Client Accounting Desk at 450 Park Avenue during regular weekday business hours. (ii) Personal checks and banker’s draf s are accepted if drawn on a US bank and the buyer provides to us acceptable government issued identifcation. Checks and banker’s draf s should be made payable to “Phillips.” If payment is sent by mail, please send the check or banker’s draf to the attention of the Client Accounting Department at 450 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022 and make sure that the sale and lot number is written on the check. Checks or banker’s draf s drawn by third parties will not be accepted. (iii) Payment by wire transfer may be sent directly to Phillips. Bank transfer details: Signature Bank 485 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022 SWIFT code: SIGNUS33 ABA routing no.: 026013576 For account of: Phillips Auctioneers LLC Account no.: 1502977462 Please reference the relevant sale and lot number.
7 Collection of Property (a) Phillips will not release a lot to the buyer until we have received payment of its Purchase Price in full in cleared funds, the buyer has paid all outstanding amounts due to Phillips or any of our afliated companies, including any charges payable pursuant to Paragraph 8 (a) below, and the buyer has satisfed such other terms as we in our sole discretion shall require, including completing any antimoney laundering or anti-terrorism fnancing checks. As soon as a buyer has satisfed all of the foregoing conditions, he or she should contact our Shipping Department at +1 212 940 1372 or +1 212 940 1373 to arrange for collection of purchased property. (b) The buyer must arrange for collection of a purchased lot within seven days of the date of the auction. Promptly afer the auction, we will transfer all lots to our warehouse located at 29-09 37th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, New York. All purchased lots should be collected at this location during our regular weekday business hours. As a courtesy to clients, Phillips will upon request transfer on a bi-weekly basis purchased lots suitable for hand-carry back to our premises at 450 Park Avenue, New York, New York for collection within 30 days following the date of the auction. Purchased lots are at the buyer’s risk, including the responsibility for insurance, from the earlier to occur of (i) the date of collection or (ii) seven days afer the auction. Until risk passes, Phillips will compensate the buyer for any loss or damage to a purchased lot up to a maximum of the Purchase Price paid, subject to our usual exclusions for loss or damage to property. (c) As a courtesy to clients, Phillips will, without charge, wrap purchased lots for hand-carry only. We will, at the buyer’s expense, either provide packing, handling, insurance and shipping services or coordinate with shipping agents instructed by the buyer in order to facilitate such services for property bought at Phillips. Any such instruction, whether or not made at our recommendation, is entirely at the buyer’s risk and responsibility, and we will not be liable for acts or omissions of third party packers or shippers. Third party shippers should contact us by telephone at +1 212 940 1376 or by fax at +1 212 924 6477 at least 24 hours in advance of collection in order to schedule pickup. (d) Phillips will require presentation of government issued identifcation prior to release of a lot to the buyer or the buyer’s authorized representative. 8 Failure to Collect Purchases (a) If the buyer pays the Purchase Price but fails to collect
a purchased lot within 30 days of the auction, the buyer will incur a late collection fee of $10 per day for each uncollected lot. Additional charges may apply to oversized lots. We will not release purchased lots to the buyer until all such charges have been paid in full. (b) If a purchased lot is paid for but not collected within six months of the auction, the buyer authorizes Phillips, upon notice, to arrange a resale of the item by auction or private sale, with estimates and a reserve set at Phillips’s reasonable discretion. The proceeds of such sale will be applied to pay for storage charges and any other outstanding costs and expenses owed by the buyer to Phillips or our afliated companies and the remainder will be forfeited unless collected by the buyer within two years of the original auction. 9 Remedies for Non-Payment (a) Without prejudice to any rights the seller may have, if the buyer without prior agreement fails to make payment of the Purchase Price for a lot in cleared funds within seven days of the auction, Phillips may in our sole discretion exercise one or more of the following remedies: (i) store the lot at Phillips’s premises or elsewhere at the buyer’s sole risk and expense at the same rates as set forth in Paragraph 8 (a) above; (ii) cancel the sale of the lot, retaining any partial payment of the Purchase Price as liquidated damages; (iii) reject future bids from the buyer or render such bids subject to payment of a deposit; (iv) charge interest at 12% per annum from the date payment became due until the date the Purchase Price is received in cleared funds; (v) subject to notifcation of the buyer, exercise a lien over any of the buyer’s property which is in the possession of Phillips and instruct our afliated companies to exercise a lien over any of the buyer’s property which is in their possession and, in each case, no earlier than 30 days from the date of such notice, arrange the sale of such property and apply the proceeds to the amount owed to Phillips or any of our afliated companies afer the deduction from sale proceeds of our standard vendor’s commission and all sale-related expenses; (vi) resell the lot by auction or private sale, with estimates and a reserve set at Phillips reasonable discretion, it being understood that in the event such resale is for less than the original hammer price and buyer’s premium for that lot, the buyer will remain liable for the shortfall together with all costs incurred in such resale; (vii) commence legal proceedings to recover the hammer price and buyer’s premium for that lot, together with interest and the costs of such proceedings; (viii) set of the outstanding amount remaining unpaid by the buyer against any amounts which we or any of our afliated companies may owe the buyer in any other transactions; (ix) release the name and address of the buyer to the seller to enable the seller to commence legal proceedings to recover the amounts due and legal costs or (x) take such other action as we deem necessary or appropriate. (b) As security to us for full payment by the buyer of all outstanding amounts due to Phillips and our afliated companies, Phillips retains, and the buyer grants to us, a security interest in each lot purchased at auction by the buyer and in any other property or money of the buyer in,
Phillips is pleased to support
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” On view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 10 June - 22 September 2019
Virgil Abloh. Photo: Fabien Montique.
20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening & Day Sales Hong Kong, 26 May 2019 JW Marriott Hong Kong Enquiries Isaure de Viel Castel IsaureDeVielCastel@phillips.com
Zao Wou-ki Ailleurs (detail) oil on canvas 130 x 97 cm. (51 1/8 x 38 1/4 in.) Painted in 1955 Estimate on request ÂŠ Zao Wou-Ki - ProLitteris, Zurich
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payment of interest on the Purchase Price to the fullest extent permitted by law. (e) No provision in these Conditions of Sale shall be deemed to exclude or limit the liability of Phillips or any of our afliated companies to the buyer in respect of any fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation made by any of us or in respect of death or personal injury caused by our negligent acts or omissions. 14 Copyright The copyright in all images, illustrations and written materials produced by or for Phillips relating to a lot, including the contents of this catalogue, is and shall remain at all times the property of Phillips and such images and materials may not be used by the buyer or any other party without our prior written consent. Phillips and the seller make no representations or warranties that the buyer of a lot will acquire any copyright or other reproduction rights in it. 15 General (a) These Conditions of Sale, as changed or supplemented as provided in Paragraph 1 above, and Authorship Warranty set out the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the transactions contemplated herein and supersede all prior and contemporaneous written, oral or implied understandings, representations and agreements. (b) Notices to Phillips shall be in writing and addressed to the department in charge of the sale, quoting the reference number specifed at the beginning of the sale catalogue. Notices to clients shall be addressed to the last address notifed by them in writing to Phillips. (c) These Conditions of Sale are not assignable by any buyer without our prior written consent but are binding on the buyer’s successors, assigns and representatives. (d) Should any provision of these Conditions of Sale be held void, invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and efect. No failure by any party to exercise, nor any delay in exercising, any right or remedy under these Conditions of Sale shall act as a waiver or release thereof in whole or in part. 16 Law and Jurisdiction (a) The rights and obligations of the parties with respect to these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty, the conduct of the auction and any matters related to any of the foregoing shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with laws of the State of New York, excluding its conficts of law rules. (b) Phillips, all bidders and all sellers agree to the exclusive jurisdiction of the (i) state courts of the State of New York located in New York City and (ii) the federal courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York to settle all disputes arising in connection with all aspects of all matters or transactions to which these Conditions of Sale and Authorship Warranty relate or apply.
(c) All bidders and sellers irrevocably consent to service of process or any other documents in connection with proceedings in any court by facsimile transmission, personal service, delivery by mail or in any other manner permitted by New York law or the law of the place of service, at the last address of the bidder or seller known to Phillips. 17 Sales Tax (a) Unless the buyer has delivered a valid certifcate evidencing exemption from tax, the buyer shall pay applicable sales tax on any lot picked up or delivered anywhere in the United States. (b) If the point of delivery or transfer of possession for any purchased lot to the buyer or the buyer’s designee (including any private carrier) occurs in New York, then the sale is subject to New York sales tax at the existing rate of 8.875%. (c) If the buyer arranges shipping for any purchased lot in New York by a common carrier (such as the United States Postal Service, United Parcel Service, or FedEx) that does not operate under a private agreement or contract with negotiated terms to be delivered to an out of state destination, then the sale is not subject to New York sales tax.
Authorship Warranty Phillips warrants the authorship of property in this auction catalogue described in headings in bold or CAPITALIZED type for a period of fve years from date of sale by Phillips, subject to the exclusions and limitations set forth below. (a) Phillips gives this Authorship Warranty only to the original buyer of record (i.e., the registered successful bidder) of any lot. This Authorship Warranty does not extend to (i) subsequent owners of the property, including purchasers or recipients by way of gif from the original buyer, heirs, successors, benefciaries and assigns; (ii) property where the description in the catalogue states that there is a confict of opinion on the authorship of the property; (iii) property where our attribution of authorship was on the date of sale consistent with the generally accepted opinions of specialists, scholars or other experts; (iv) property whose description or dating is proved inaccurate by means of scientifc methods or tests not generally accepted for use at the time of the publication of the catalogue or which were at such time deemed unreasonably expensive or impractical to use or likely in our reasonable opinion to have caused damage or loss in value to the lot or (v) property where there has been no material loss in value from the value of the lot had it been as described in the heading of the catalogue entry. (b) In any claim for breach of the Authorship Warranty, Phillips reserves the right, as a condition to rescinding any sale under this warranty, to require the buyer to provide to us at the buyer’s expense the written opinions of two recognized experts approved in advance by Phillips. We
shall not be bound by any expert report produced by the buyer and reserve the right to consult our own experts at our expense. If Phillips agrees to rescind a sale under the Authorship Warranty, we shall refund to the buyer the reasonable costs charged by the experts commissioned by the buyer and approved in advance by us. (c) Subject to the exclusions set forth in subparagraph (a) above, the buyer may bring a claim for breach of the Authorship Warranty provided that (i) he or she has notifed Phillips in writing within three months of receiving any information which causes the buyer to question the authorship of the lot, specifying the auction in which the property was included, the lot number in the auction catalogue and the reasons why the authorship of the lot is being questioned and (ii) the buyer returns the lot to Phillips to the saleroom in which it was purchased in the same condition as at the time of its auction and is able to transfer good and marketable title in the lot free from any third party claim arising afer the date of the auction. Phillips has discretion to waive any of the foregoing requirements set forth in this subparagraph (c) or subparagraph (b) above. (d) The buyer understands and agrees that the exclusive remedy for any breach of the Authorship Warranty shall be rescission of the sale and refund of the original Purchase Price paid. This remedy shall constitute the sole remedy and recourse of the buyer against Phillips, any of our afliated companies and the seller and is in lieu of any other remedy available as a matter of law or equity. This means that none of Phillips, any of our afliated companies or the seller shall be liable for loss or damage beyond the remedy expressly provided in this Authorship Warranty, whether such loss or damage is characterized as direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential, or for the payment of interest on the original Purchase Price.
450 Park Avenue New York 10022 phillips.com +1 212 940 1200 email@example.com Please return this form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours before the sale. Please read carefully the information in the right column and note that it is important that you indicate whether you are applying as an individual or on behalf of a company. Please select the type of bid you wish to make with this form (please select one): Paddle Number
In-person Absentee Bidding Telephone Bidding
• Company purchases: If you are buying under a business entity we require a copy of government-issued identification (such as a resale certificate, corporate bank information or the certificate of incorporation) to verify the status of the company. • Conditions of Sale: All bids are placed and executed, and all lots are sold and purchased, subject to the Conditions of Sale printed in the catalogue. Please read them carefully before placing a bid. Your attention is drawn to Paragraph 4 of the Conditions of Sale.
Please indicate in what capacity you will be bidding (please select one):
As a private individual On behalf of a company
• If you cannot attend the sale, we can execute bids confidentially on your behalf.
Sale Title Title
• Private purchases: Proof of identity in the form of government-issued identification will be required.
Sale Number First Name
Surname Account Number
Company (if applicable) Address
• Phillips charges the successful bidder a commission, or buyer’s premium, on the hammer price of each lot sold. The buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer as part of the total purchase price at the following rates: 25% of the hammer price up to and including $400,000, 20% of the portion of the hammer price above $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000 and 13.5% of the portion of the hammer price above $4,000,000 on each lot sold.
• “Buy” or unlimited bids will not be accepted. Alternative bids can be placed by using the word “OR” between lot numbers.
• For absentee bids, indicate your maximum limit for each lot, excluding the buyer’s premium and any applicable sales or use tax. Your bid will be executed at the lowest price taking into account the reserve and other bidders. On no reserve lots, in the absence of other bids, your bid will be executed at approximately 50% of the low pre-sale estimate or at the amount specified, if less than 50% of the low estimate.
Zip Code Phone
• Your bid must be submitted in the currency of the sale and will be rounded down to the nearest amount consistent with the auctioneer’s bidding increments.
Phone (for Phone Bidding only)
• If we receive identical bids, the first bid received will take precedence.
Phone number to call at the time of sale (for Phone Bidding only) 1.
Please complete the following section for telephone and absentee bids only Lot Number
In Consecutive Order
US $ Limit* Absentee Bids Only
* Excluding Buyer’s Premium and sales or use taxes
By checking this box, you confrm your registration/bid(s) as above and accept the Conditions of Sale of Phillips as stated in our catalogues and on our website.
43. El Anatsui
Index Anatsui, E. 43 Basquiat, J.-M. 21, 29, 37 Bradford, M. 24 Casteel, J. 18 Colescott, R. 35 de Kooning, W. 27 Diebenkorn, R. 25 Dubufet, J. 42 Gokita, T. 20 Haring, K. 30 Hesse, E. 23 Hockney, D. 28 Judd, D. 31 Kapoor, A. 44 KAWS 17, 19 Kusama, Y. 22 Lichtenstein, R. 36 Motherwell, R. 32 Noland, K. 39 Ofli, C. 45 Party, N. 16 Schutz, D. 34 Steir, P. 33 Stella, F. 26 Tansey, M. 40 Twombly, C. 38 Wool, C. 41
Phillips presents the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 16 May 2019 in New York.