By Carter B. Horsley
The day sales of Contemporary
Art at Christie's November 11, 2009 are full of many excellent
works including fine examples by Sean Scully, Wayne Thiebaud,
Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Rivers, Alexander Calder, Francsesco Clemente,
Julian Schnabel, Sonja Sekula and Jasper Johns.
Lot 319 is a classic abstraction
by Sean Scully (b. 1945)(see The
City Review article)
that is entitled "Wall of Light, Temozon." An oil on
canvas, it measures 72 by 84 inches and was painted in 2002. The
catalogue entry notes that it "embodies the rugged urbanity
of the cities in which Scully works and lives, especially the
frenetic atmosphere of Manhattan." "Executed over a
period of time and in a number of layers, the continous over-painting
of a series of different compositions of stripes in thickened
oil point creates an extraordinary surface, thick with thefossilized
markings of the paintbrush. ...The stripes in Temozon echo
the artist's desire to re-order the world, while simultaneously
creating dissonance through the tactile texture and vigorous application
of paint....The genesis of Scully's Wall of Light series
occurred in 1983, when he was in Mexico observing the ancient
architectural ruins of the remote Yucatan area and he became interested
in the effects of lights hitting the areas crumbling stone surfaces."
The lot has an estimte of $600,000
to $800,000. It sold for $962,500.
Lot 128 is a very nice grisaille
watercolor and gouache and charcoal of a "Shelf of Pies,"
by Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920). A work on paper, it measures 19 by
24 3/4 inches and is dated 1960. It has an estimate of $150,000
to $200,000. It sold for $386,500.
Lot 156 is a strong enamel
on steel entitled "Setting Sun and Sea" by Roy Lichtenstein
(1923-1997). It measures 36 by 72 by 1 3/4 inches and is number
1 of an edition of 5, dated 1964. It has an estimate of $800,000
to $1,200,000. It sold for $842,000.
Lot 205 is a very good small
abstraction by Jackson Pollock (1912-1956). It measures 13 by
5 3/4 inches and was painted circa 1947. It has an estimate $180,000
to $250,000. It did not sell.
One of the most painterly works
in the auction is Lot 130, "Flag Day," by Alfred Leslie
(b. 1927.). An oil on canvas, it measures 79 1/4 by 72 inches
and is dated 19567. It has an esimate of $100,000 to $150,000.
It sold for $134,500.
Lot 168 is an excellent work
by Larry Rivers (1923-2002) entitled "Lions on the Dreyfus
Fund IV." It is an oil, graphite, board and paper collage
on masonite that is 57 inches square. It was executed in 1964.
It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $146,500.
Lot 153 is a very strong abstraction
by Pierre Soulanges (b. 1919). An oil on canvas, it measures 57
1/2 by 38 inches and is dated 1957. It has an estimate of $600,000
to $800,000. It sold for $1,142,500.
Lot 212 is a nice small standing
mobile by Alexander Calder (1898-1976). It measures 5 3/4 by 13
inches and was created in 1963. It has an estimate of $250,000
to $350,000. It sold for $458,000.
One of the lushest works in
the auction is Lot 383, an untitled watercolor by Francesco Clemente
(b. 1952). It measures 44 1/4 by 47 1/2 inches and was executed
in 1992. It has an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. It sold
Lot 224 is a very large acrylic
on canvas by Helen Frankenthaler (b. 1928) entitled "Springscape."
It measures 37 by 98 inches and was painted in 1975l. It has an
estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $578,500.
Lot 171 is a set of ten lithographs
by Jasper Johns (b. 1930) entitled "0-9 (ULAE 19)."
Each image measures 15 1/2 by 11 7/8 and the set is from an edition
of 30 in 1963 of which 10 were in this color. It is property of
the collection of John Cage and Merce Cunningham and is being
sold to benefit the Merce Cunningham Trust. It has an estimate
of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $866.500.
Lot 184 is one of two stunning
works on paper by Sonja Sekula (1918-1963) that are property from
the Collection of John Cage and Merce Cunningham and are being
sold to benefit the Merce Cunningham Trust. This is entitled "Zero,
Irresistible" and is an ink, watercolor and gouache on paper.
It measures 11 3/4 by 17 3/4 and was executed circa 1950. It has
a very modest estimate of $3,000 to $4,000. It sold for $27,500.
The other Sekula, Lot 186,
is untitled and is an ink, watercolor and wax crayon on paper
that measures 13 3/4 by 16 3/4 inches. It was executed in 1942.
It has an estimate of $3,500 to $4,500. It sold for $36,250.
Lot 380 is a 44-page book of
woodcuts by Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945). It was created in 1983. It
has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $230,500.
Lot 401 is an extremely strong
work by Gilbert & George (b. 1943 and 1942) that is four hand-dyed
gelatin-silver prints in artist's frames. It measures 67 by 56
inches and was created in 1992. It has an estimate of $80,000
to $120,000. It sold for $134,500.
A large and luminous acrylic
on canvas by Jules Olitiski (1922-2007), Lot 108, has an modest
estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $60,000. It
was once owned by Clement Greenberg and had been included in the
Olitski show at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1973.
Lot 376 is one of the famous
plate paintings by Julian Schnabel (b. 1951). Entitled "American
Nares," it measures 72 by 60 by 8 inches and was created
in 1997. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold
Lot 124 is a small but very
nice Frank Stella (b. 1936), entitled "For Picabia."
An oil on canvas laid down on masonite, it measures 11 1/4 by
22 1/2 inches. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.
It sold for $506,500.
The day and afternoon sessions
of this auction totalled $43,811,950.