Thursday, November 17, 2016

Contemporary Art: Fall Auctions 2016 - A Visit @ Sotheby`s, New York

(Drivebycuriosity) - It´s auction season in New York City again. This week my wife and I went to Sotheby´s on New York`s Upper East Side, one of the huge global auction houses (sothebys). We enjoyed there the exhibitions of the art works which are part of this week`s day & evening auctions for post war & contemporary art. This is a huge show - spread over 10 floors - and can easily compete with the collections of big museums like New York´s MoMa - and the entry is free! I am  grateful that they allow humble spectators like us to visit and enjoy all the precious displays. And they didn`t mind that I took a lot pictures there to expand my personal image collection.

The pre-auction exhibitions have more than 400 lots. I spotted there many of my favorites, but also discovered some new & fascinating artists. I display here my favorites from the shows - as usual a very subjective selection.

                                         The New Gold Finch?

Above this paragraph you can see my discovery of the day: The Berlin based artist Thomas Scheibitz (born 1968) with his painting "Cola" (2001, oil and marker on canvas). The work doesn`t belong to the top lots and it looks like a bargain with an estimated price range of just 6,000 — 8,000 USD. But I really enjoy the simple yet elegant style. Maybe someday someone will write a novel about this bird like the novel "The Gold Finch"?

Another discovery is the Chinese painter Zhang Xiaogang with "Green Wall-Slumber Number 2" (2008, oil on canvas) Estimate 250,000 — 350,000 USD. The painting has a mystical charm.

                                                      Does Lenin live forever?

There were more discoveries of course, like Andy Warhol`s "Lenin".  I have never before seen this portrait. The large painting (acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 72 1/4 by 48 in. 183.5 by 122 cm) comes with the Estimate 4,000,000 — 6,000,000 USD. You need to be a capitalist to be able to buy the icon of the socialist world.

Warhol´s huge "Self-Portrait (Fight Wig) (1986, 80 by 76 in. 203.2 by 193 cm) comes with the Estimate 20,000,000 — 30,000,000 USD - capitalism still rules.

I could spot a lot of my favorite artists of course. On top of this paragraph 2 works by the marvelous Ed Ruscha: "Mirror-Image Level" (2003, acrylic on canvas) Estimate 3,000,000 — 4,000,000 USD followed by "Yes Tree" (1983-1986, oil and enamel on canvas)  Estimate 800,000 — 1,200,000 USD. Below them Untitled" by Sam Francis (1985, acrylic on canvas, Estimate 100,000 — 150,000 USD.

Above more favorites of mine: Alex Katz with  "Ann Cr." (1988, oil on canvas) Estimate 200,000 — 300,000 USD followed by Wayne Thiebaud`s "Woman in Tub" (1965, oil on canvas) Estimate 1,200,000 — 1,800,000 USD.

                                                      Have Fun With Cindy

Cindy Sherman is the queen of the selfies. Above two of her masterpieces: "Untitled #1502 (1985, chromogenic color print) Estimate 800,000 — 1,200,000 USD followed by "Untitled #216 (1989, chromogenic print in artist's frame) Estimate 1,000,000 — 1,500,000 USD.

                                                         Precision & Craftsmanship 

Damien Hirst likes to provoke but he also impresses with his talents. His famous dot paintings, here  "Pyrvinium Pamoate", look simple on the first glance but the economist & art expert Don Thompson describes in his excellent book  "The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art" (driveby) the precision & craftsmanship needed to produce Hirst`s dot-paintings. (2008-2011, household gloss on canvas) Estimate 250,000 — 350,000 USD.

Here another favorite of mine: Neo Rauch (here my post about the Neo Rauch show @ David Zwirner driveby). The artist, born in 1960, grew up in the communist Eastern Germany, influenced by the so-called socialist realism, a style of realistic art that was developed in the Soviet Union, and studied figurative painting (artinamerica). Rauch mixes realism with fantasy and also plays surrealist games on canvas: "Form" (1999, oil on canvas) Estimate 400,000 — 600,000 USD

I was glad to see some works by the German painter Anselm Kiefer, whom I adore. Above you can see "Dein Hausritt Die Finstere Welle/Your Home Ride The Dark Wave"" (2005, oil, emulsion, acrylic, coal, lead boat and books on canvas) Estimate 600,000 — 800,000 USD followed by "Elisabeth von Oesterreich"  (1977/91, gelatin silver print and treated lead mounted to wood, in artist's frame) Estimate 300,000 — 400,000 USD.

Not really contemporary any more,  but still fascinating: "EG 1-2" by Victor Vasarely (1965, acrylic on panel) Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD.

                                    Let´s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year

If Santa Claus will bring you Mark Bradford`s " Let´s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year" you must have been very nice this year. The painting (2007, mixed media and collage on canvas) comes with the Estimate 3,000,000 — 4,000,000 USD. But maybe you will have to do with Adolph Gottlieb´s "Black Disc" (1969, acrylic and gouache on paperEstimate 30,000 — 50,000 USD ) &
 "Untitled (The Misfits)"  by Barnaby Furnas (2008, water-dispersed pigment and graphite on linen) Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD.

David Hockney like boys and he likes swimming pools. Above his "Study for Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two Figures)" (1972, graphite, gouache, tape and paper collage on paper). You will need money if you like this painting: Estimate 700,000 — 1,000,000 USD.

Richard Prince likes to make jokes and to be in the headlines, but this one is atypically tame: "Untitled (Cowboy)" (2012, inkjet and acrylic on canvas) Estimate 700,000 — 1,000,000 USD.
For those who don´t have the capital for a Hockney or a Prince, here another bargain:  Gillian Carnegie with "Girl on a Swing" (2002, oil on canvas) Estimate10,000 — 15,000 USD.

                                                                   Refined Finesse

No art show without nudes. From above: "Alice Neel in 1931" by Elizabeth Peyton (2007-2008 oil on linen mounted to board) Estimate 200,000 — 300,000 USD followed by 2 typical paintings by  Tom Wesselmann: "Study for Reclining Stockinged Nude" (1981, liquitex and graphite on ragboard mounted to ragboard) Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 USD & "Study for Stockinged Nude with Fish Bowl (Purble Blanket, Black Pillow" (1982, graphite and colored pencil on tracing paper) Estimate 30,000 — 40,000 USD.

They also had  something by John Currin of course. The artist - famous for his satirical and funny portraits - is one of the rising stars of the art scene: Here his "Chateau Meyney" (2013, oil on canvas) Estimate 2,500,000 — 3,500,000 USD. The auction house comments: "Through his unparalleled technical mastery of oil paint, Currin’s hyperrealist clarity recalls the refined finesse of the Northern European Tradition, laying an aesthetic foundation that builds to recall a nuanced myriad of tropes regarding the female form as a subject of the male gaze. The illuminated bravura and compositional order of French Neo-classicism,  the warped idealism of high-Renaissance Mannerism , and the decadent frivolity of Rococo are all curiously filtered through the sensuality the 1950s Pin-up girl." If you want to see more by this artist you might go visit "The Broad" in Los Angeles (driveby )

The second floor displayed the amazing collection of Ann and Steven Ames with paintings by Richter, Kiefer & more. I will report about that in an extra post.

Stay tuned!

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