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Post War and Contemporary Art

Christie's New York


7 PM, November 14, 2012

Sale 2597


Statue of Liberty by Warhol

Lot 35, "Statue of Liberty," by Andy Warhol, 1962,
silkscreen inks, spray enamel and graphite on canvas

Review and All Photographs Copyright Michele Leight, 2012

By Michele Leight

Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York on November 14 is packed with choice works of art, including a magnificent Franz Klein, Andy Warhol's "Marlon" and "Statue of Liberty," illustrated at the top of this review, beautifully lit in Christie's galleries during the exhibition preceding the sale. Warhol's depiction of Lady Liberty holding her torch - in multiples - offered hope in a week that had brought an unprecedented natural disaster to several states in America and New York City. Reflecting the chaos inflicted by Hurricane Sandy, her torch was unlit in the harbor as the storm surge knocked out electrical power, plunging entire neighborhoods and shorelines into darkness, and tragically claiming lives. This iconic painting - a gift from France to America - was a reminder that a single event can dislocate us from the things we value most: life, loved ones, light, warmth, and "home." The catalogue dedicated to this painting (these are collectibles in their own right) includes Emma Lazarus's famous poem, written in 1883, that seemed especially poignant as the daunting carnage in the wake of the storm became clear. Emma Lazarus wrote: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."  The poem and this wonderful image, rendered by an artist who was the son of immigrants that experienced the dark days of the Depression, tell us that the people of this city and country have overcome difficult times before, and they will prevail again. Lady Liberty's torch is now lit, and the wheels of recovery are in motion. Warhol knew how to exploit a single image - this one in complementary colors of red and green that give it a 3 D effect - that can inspire so much.

Christie's Evening sale was extremely successful, achieving $412,200,000, just over its high estimate, the highest total for any Post-War and Contemporary art sale, and the second highest total at Christies. For the second night in a hectic week of auctions, an art auction house surpassed its own record as the highest  total for a contemporary art auction, evidence of strong confidence in New York as the place to consign and buy important works of contemporary art.

At the press conference following the sale, Brett Gorvy, Christie'sChairman and International Head of Contemporary Art said it was a museum quality sale: "We curated the sale around a rich variety of the highest quality works and most coveted artists in order to serve our broad international base of collectors in their quest to find the next iconic work, whether it is Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, or cutting-edge contemporary." Gorvy referenced three important collections that were 100% sold - The Schuloff Collection, The Estate of David Pincus and Works From The Douglas Cramer Collection - "that reflected the taste, experience and eye of these collectors."

Warhol's "Statue of Liberty" was the top selling lot at $43,762,500, followed by Franz Klein's"Untitled," which sold for $40,402,500, (a very strong price), setting a new world auction record for the artist.
Jeff Koons "Tulips" sold for $33, 682,500, setting a new world auction record for an outdoor sculpture. 8 new auction records were set, including cutting-edge contemporary artists Mark Grotjahn and George Condo.  Alexander Calder's "Policeman," set a world record for a (delectable) wire sculpture. Richard Diebenkorn's "Ocean Park," sold for $13,522,500, another world auction record for the artist. World auction records (for well established artists) were set for three Works On Paper that achieved very strong prices: Jean Dubuffet (Lot 4, "La Congratule," $1,684,100); Cy Twombly (for Lot 34, "Untitled,"  $5,010,500), and Jean-Michel Basquiat (for Lot 37, "Untitled," $3,666,500). Richard Serra's "Schulhof's Curve," (Lot 12), sold for $2,882,500, a world auction record for an outdoor sculpture by the artist.

At the time of posting this review Christie's Contemporary Art sale has achieved $525,000,000 including the Day Sale. Andy Warhol leads their week with a total of works selling for $100,100,000 including the results for the first of The Warhol Foundation's "Andy Warhol at Christie's" sale, with two more to follow. The results of this week of Contemporary Art sales in New York is historic and good news for the art market.
         

Detail of liberty

Detail of Lot 35

Andy Warhol was as obsessed with the promise symbolized by "The Statue of Liberty" as he was by Hollywood's movie stars, Campbell's soup cans, Coca Cola bottles, and other icons of American popular culture. He was also aware of the dark side of consumer culture, idolatry and hero (and heroine) worship.
 "Statue of Liberty" is described by Brett Gorvy, Christie's Chairman and International Head, Contemporary Art  as "his love letter from America, to America" in the catalogue: "Poignantly, Warhol chose to paint his Statue of Liberty as the prelude to his Death and Disaster series, his most important body of work from the 1960s, in which he coolly examined the dark underbelly of the American dream in explosive Pop colors. Screened over and over again on the same canvas, in blood red and corrosive green, Warhol's multiple images of the statue of Liberty stand as a proud and ironic counterpoint to the car-crashes, suicides, race riots, electric chairs, atom bombs and dead celebrities from this greatest period of his career. Presented in sequence like near-identical stills from a Warhol art movie, or rows of souvenirs on a dime-store shelf, the Statue of Liberty is here as much a mass-produced commodity of today's culture as a can of soup...Warhol loved to stretch the boundaries between high art and lowbrow taste. Ever since the early 1950s, 3-D effects had been popular in comic books and in drive-in horror movies, exemplified by films like Vincent Price's 1953 House of Wax or Warhol's own 3-D adult productions of Frankenstein in the early 1970s. Just as today, with the massive resurgence of interest in 3-D through films like Avatar and through new television technology, 3-D has always been at the forefront of the modern age. While no doubt relishing the camp, B-movie status of 3-D in the 1960s, Warhol recognized the revolutionary nature of this visual language in art, especially when at that time, many artists - be it Jasper Johns or the Color Field painters - were still exploiting the two-dimensional reality of the picture plane in their work...The strength of Warhol's Statue of Liberty lives beyond its technical ingenuity, which is indeed the height of cool..."  (Brett Gorvy, Christie's Chairman and International Head, Contemporary Art).

There is an atmospheric photo in the catalogue of The Statue of Liberty - the ultimate sculpture - in New York harbor taken decades ago, against a backdrop of a far a less crowded Manhattan skyline. We are accustomed to seeing images of Lady Liberty so often we forget she has seen so much of New York's and this nation's history since she was gifted to America by France. The Statue of Liberty bore witness to the arrival of thousands upon thousands of immigrants, including many artists and collectors whose work is included in this sale, that came here seeking a better life and freedom from oppression. Warhol "appropriated" this image from a  tourist postcard - which is no surprise. The store bought consumer goods that flooded America, and the psychedelic colors of the 1960s must have held enormous appeal to a generation whose parents had borne the scars and deprivations of the Depression and WWII. Warhol was one of them. His Pop Art imagery unapologetically courted the masses, celebrating America's plentiful consumer goods, rags to riches movie stars and convenience foods like the canned soups. For Warhol, art was for everyone and anything could be "art."
 
At
the press preview Brett Gorvy offered this reviewer a pair of "3-D" glasses which made the multiple "Statues of Liberty" spring to life. Warhol's is an early - simpler - version of a (film) art form that has morphed into the 3-D we know today, writ large on gigantic IMAX screens. The paper glasses were fun - and the fun continued later when this reviewer discovered that the catalogue had several "3-D" pages that "popped" thanks to the "3-D glasses" included with it.

Lot 35 "Statue of Liberty" by Andy Warhol has an estimate upon request. It sold for $43,762,500, the top selling lot of the sale. 


Koji Inoue and Kline

Koji Inoue, Head of Evening Sale, talked about Lot 17, "Untitled," by Franz Kline, oil on canvas, 1957 at the press preview  

The spectacular Abstract Expressionist painting by Franz Kline illustrated above is a highlight in a season of contemporary art that includes world class paintings from this era in art history. A delectable example of this unique artists impressive body of work, "Untitled" inspired an artist - and fellow Abstract Expressionist - to write: "Who could not be moved by his sense of push and thrust? Kline's great black bars have the tension of a taut bow, or a ready catapult. His big paintings can be as good as his small ones, a rare mystery in this period concerned with the power of magnitude." (Robert Motherwell).

Koji Inoue, Christie's Head of Evening Sale, Contemporary Art, dedicated considerable time to describing this painting at the press preview - with justification. It is a masterpiece. The wonderful catalogue for this sale includes illustrations of paintings that may have inspired Kline - as the city itself clearly did - and many photographs of the artist and his colleagues, who are now established titans of Abstract Expressionism. There is a photograph of Brooklyn Bridge by Walker Evans - circa 1929 - that echoes the "push and thrust" of Kline's most memorable imagery:


"Franz Kline's white and black pictures performed that miracle which is a constant in all major art: he changed the look of the environment and history. His style has that quality which rips the filters of Style from our eye. After 1950, we started to see city buildings, bridge spans, car tracks, asphalt spilling in cement, Velasquez, painted-out wall slogans, Rembrandt, Punch illustrators, the signature of John Hancock, Romney's drawings, Goya, Delacroix lions, a landscape by Courbet, or a landscape in Easthampton or Provincetown with fresh immediacy. It was as if a whole slice of our culture, overnight, had come to life - with Franz Kline at our shoulder to point where to look" Thomas B. Hess (Thomas B Hess, ArtNews Vol 61, New York, Summer 1962, reproduced in Franz Kline 1910-62 exh., cat. Turin, 2004, pp. 333-336)
.

Today we take for granted that we can access just about any image or information about a specific event or famous person with the click of a mouse via Google and other search engines.  This was not possible till quite recently. The catalogue for this sale offers historical context that resonates today:

"Seeming to encapsulate all the energy, drama, freedom and dynamism embodied by this seminal decade in the history of American 20th Century Art and to condense it into one extraordinary flat planar space, Kline's black-and white paintings are the quintessential 'Abstract Expressionist' pictures. Stark, raw, blunt and direct, these works, often heroically scaled, are pure, elemental abstractions that dynamically express the artist's complete physical and emotional involvement in his work using only the most fundamental of painterly means. More than any other pictures from this extraordinarily vital and creative period in history, it is these works that best express the New York School painters' distinctly urban and romantic sense of themselves as lone individuals caught in an existential struggle with modern life; of their being the heroic pioneers in a modern cultural wasteland operating on behalf of an endangered humanity with the hope of forging a new art from the cultural void left by World War II, the Holocaust and the Atom Bomb. As the painter Paul Brach declared of Kline's paintings at this time, they are "statements of an acute crisis. There is no moderation, no middle ground, no compromise" (P. Brach, quoted in Franz Kline; Art and the Structure of Identity, exh. cat., Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1994, p. 37).

 
Lot 17, "Untitled," by Franz Kline, has an estimate
of $ 20,000,000 to $30,000,000. It sold for $40,402,500, a world auction record for the artist.




Marlon Brando by Warhol

Lot 14, "Marlon," by Andy Warhol, 1966

What a painting! Lot 14, "Marlon," is powerful, sexy, and oozes the actor's legendary reputation for doing things his way or not at all.  Brando still dazzles on screen and with his motorbike in this work of art. He was the king of popular culture in his day and it is easy to understand his impact on Warhol's generation in role in "The Wild One," immortalized here by the artist. In galleries filled with amazing paintings and sculpture, Andy Warhol's "Marlon" clobbered the competition with its star power. Ralph Lauren seemed to like it. Mr. Lauren has a collection of some of the most beautiful motorbikes every created. Like the worlds greatest cars (he collects them too), beautifully crafted motorbikes qualify as sculpture. This would be a very different image without the bike.

Even as he aged, Brando's charismatic "persona" dominated any film he was in, most memorably Coppola's "The Godfather," which is consistently ranked #1 as the most popular DVD sold globally. 

Brett Gorvey and Ralph Lauren

In Christie's galleries, Brett Gorvy, Christie's Deputy Chairman and International Head, Contemporary Art, talks with Ralph and Ricky Lauren...while "Marlon" looks on...


"By 1966, when Warhol painted 'Marlon', Brando had been one of Hollywood's most acclaimed actors for over a decade. Brando first became a box office star in the 1950s, during which time he racked up five Oscar nominations as Best Actor, along with three consecutive wins of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He came to public prominence for reprising his role as Stanley Kowalski in 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' 1951, a Tennessee Williams play that had established him as a star on Broadway during its original 1947-49 stage run. He was also recognized for his Oscar-winning performance as Terry Malloy in 'On the Waterfront,' 1954, as well as for his role in 'The Wild One ,' a role which turned him into one of the most famous figures in popular culture. These roles earned him financial as well as critical success, placing him in the Top Ten Money Making Stars lists of 1954, 1955 and 1958.Brando's rise to fame had a profound effect on both the motion picture industry as well as the wider cultural landscape. Elia Kazan, the director who introduced Brando to a cinema-going audience in A Streetcar Named Desire acknowledged that Brando was 'just the best actor in the world' (E. Kazan, quoted by T. Capote, ibid. p .54). The American Film Institute has defined the art of acting as having two great periods--before Brando and after--and acknowledged that while Konstantin Stanislavski may have developed the theory of 'method acting,' it was Brando who showed the world its power."

Brando on the block

Lot 14, "Marlon," by Andy Warhol, on the rostrum in Christie's auction rooms in New York

Lot 14, "Marlon," by Andy Warhol, has an estimate of $15,000,000 to 20,000,000. It sold for $23,714,500.

The auction room was electrifying during the sale of "Marlon," with many bidders competing for it, and cameras clicking enthusiastically. There were other paintings in the room, but "Marlon" dominated, gazing out upon 800 people focused on his image - bored, sardonic, brooding. Warhol would have loved the spectacle. 
Of the five works by Warhol that did well in this sale, two were in the top 10 - "Statue of Liberty" and "Marlon."

Tulips by Koons

Lot 38, ""Tulips,"by Jeff Koons, 1995-2004. This work is one of five unique versions

Lot 38, "Tulips" by Jeff Koons, lit up Rockefeller Plaza outside Christie's with its own special magic and sense of fun. Anyone would want to own them, and water them with a gigantic watering can - created by Mr. Koons. The high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating attracts light, exaggerating its exquisite coloring. Jeff Koons is a superb colorist, in the grand Old Master tradition. This monumental installation brought back memories of Koon's "Puppy," a gigantic, flowering shrub topiary of a puppy that was exhibited right by the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Center. These beautiful "Tulips" do not need trimming - by trimmers on tall ladders - or watering, as "Puppy" did. It was fun to see it illustrated in Christie's catalogue for this sale.

 Jeff Koons said: "I believe the way to enter the eternal is through the biological." (J. Koons, quoted in Coles & Violette (ed.), op. cit, 1992, p. 35, in Christie's catalogue, which notes: "Flowers have run as a thematic thread throughout Koon's career, appearing already in his Inflatables of 1979, and came to the fore in his Made In Heaven Series in 1991 where he emphasized their sexual nature. Tulips marked the culmination of the theme, and of Koon's now legendary Celebration series. Tulips was created in an edition of five versions, each of which features a unique arrangement of the colors of the flowers. In recent years, these have become icons of Koon's work, featuring in a range of his exhibitions and in articles about the artist. The other examples are held by high-profile collections: one was shown at the unveiling of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles Museum of Art in 2008, while others are at the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Prada Foundation and the Viktor Pinchuk Foundation. An exhibition copy was also created to be shown in China and is on a ten-year loan to the US Embassy in Beijing."  (Christie's catalogue for this sale)

Lot 38 has an estimate upon request.  Lot 38 sold for
$33, 682,500, setting a world auction record for the artist.

Rothko

Lot 28, "Black Stripe," by Mark Rothko, 1957

The paintings illustrated here represent only some gems that will be offered in this sale, too numerous to describe in detail as this reviewer would like to do.

 "I want pure response in terms of human need," said Mark Rothko (M. Rothko, "Interview," 22 January 1952, in William Seitz Papers, Archives of American Art, Series 4, Research and Writing Files, 1940s to 1970s, Box 16; Christie's catalogue for this sale).


Lot 28, "Black Stripe," by Mark Rothko, has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000
. It sold for $21,362,500.

Accord Bleu by Klein


Lot 60,
"Accord Bleu (Sponge Relief)," by Yves Klein, dry pigment in synthetic resin, natural sponges and pebbles on board, executed in 1958

Lot 60, "Accord Bleu (Sponge Relief)," by Franz Klein, is a marvellous blue lunar lanscape culled from unlikely material, natural sea sponges, one of several commissioned to decorate an opera house:

"This is one of the few examples of the Reliefs éponges to have been given a specific title: Accord bleu, which Klein would use again two years later as a title for a sponge relief now in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, speaks of agreement within the realm of the hallowed blue that was Klein's greatest weapon in his arsenal of the metaphysical and the Immaterial. On the reverse of Accord Bleu, as well as the artist's name, title and date, is a clue to the importance of the picture. For the word 'Gelsenkirchen' is also written there. Klein's career came to be intimately entwined with the German city, and it was in relation to his epic mural project there that the Reliefs éponges such as Accord Bleu were originally conceived. It was in part the favorable reception that Klein received again and again in Germany that cemented his reputation as one of the greatest artistic pioneers of the post-war period; Accord Bleu is an important witness to this historic juncture." (Christie's catalogue for this sale)

Lot 60 has and estimate of $7,000,000 to 10,000,000. It sold for $7,586,500, and will benefit The Brooklyn Museum.

Richter

Lot 15,  "Abstraktes Bild (779-2)," by Gerhard Richter, 1992

Beautiful paintings are complemented by beautiful children in Christie's galleries, illustrated above with Gerhard Richter's "Abstraktes Bild (779-2)," glowing on a wall with its cross-hatch of squeejeed patterns. Lot 15 has an estimate of $12,000,000 to 18,000,000.  It sold for $15,314,500.

Lot 56, "Grobe Teyde-Landschaft," by Gerhard Richter, an oil on canvas painted in197, has an estimate of $10,000,000 to 15,000,000. It failed to sell as did another work by Richter in this sale. However, Gerhard Richter achieved the highest price for a work by a living artist (sold at auction) when a painting by him that belonged to Eric Clapton sold for $34,200,000 at Sotheby's in London in October.


Paregoric by Johns

Lot 48, "Paregoric as Directed Dr. Wilder," by Jasper Johns, painted in 1962. Works From The Douglas Cramer Collection
Douglas Kramer said: "I've always felt that a drawing is the soul of the artist." A drawing by Ed Ruscha, and two paintings - by Ellsworth Kelly and Jasper Johns - are Works from the Douglas S. Cramer Collection that will be offered at this sale, and illustrated here. A legend and visionary in the world of television, and especially television movies and mini-series, Douglas Cramer's work has been seen by millions of people. Today, made-for-TV movies and  mini-series have grown in popularity, some achieving a cult following, and garnering many Emmys, silencing detractors that prophesized TV's demise:

"Douglas S. Cramer is one of the most successful production executives in television history. Cramer has been responsible for producing and developing many of the defining programs on U.S. television from the 1960s through the 1980s, many with Aaron Spelling. At the height of their influence Spelling and Cramer's programs accounted for over eight hours of U.S. television airtime each week. In addition to the long-running smash hit Dynasty and its spin-off The Colbys, the hits Cramer was crucial to developing include such memorable television series as The Love Boat, The Brady Bunch, Batman, The Odd Couple, Mission Impossible and Peyton Place. In all, Cramer was responsible for the creation of over eighty television movies and mini-series during this period, including personally producing television's first-ever mini-series, the memorable dramatization of Leon Uris' powerful novel QB VII - a program which was nominated for thirteen Emmys in 1974 and won six...Cramer's interest in visual culture and the performing arts also extends to the fine arts for which he has developed an equal passion. Since the early 1960s onwards, Cramer has played an equally influential role in the promotion, support and patronage of contemporary American art."

Lot 45, "Sin," by Edward Ruscha, gunpowder and ink on paper, executed in 1967, has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $962,500.

Lot 47, "Orange Blue 1," by Ellsworth Kelly, painted in 1964-65, has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $2,500,000.  It sold for $3,218,500.
Lot 48, "Paregoric as Directed Dr. Wilder," by Jasper Johns, painted in 1962, has an estimate of $3,500,000 to $5,500,000.  It sold for $4,002,500.

Sin by Ruscha
Lot 45, "Sin," by Edward Ruscha, gunpowder and ink on paper


Ellsworth Kelly, left, and Basquiat, right

Far left:
Lot 47, "Orange Blue 1," by Ellsworth Kelly, painted in 1964-65; Center: Lot 42, "Untitled," by Jean Michele Basquiat, circa 1981; Right: Lot 36, "Keds," by Roy Lichtenstein

Lot 42,"Untitled," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a gorgeous work illustrated above, is an oilstick, acrylic and spray enamel on canvas, painted in1955. It has an estimate on request. Lot 42 sold for $16,633,575, setting a world auction record for the artist.

On the right is Lot 36, "Keds," a work on paper by Roy Lichtenstein that is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh's wonderful mangled boots. However this Pop Art incarnation of footwear is infinitely cooler: "'Keds' is an important work which takes its place at the very heart of Roy Lichtenstein's Pop revolution. One of only a select number of drawings from this important period of the artist's development, it provides an excellent opportunity to witness fiirst-hand the technical and compositional skill of an artist who was able to turn a staightforward and utilitarian line drawing into an object of simple beauty and high art."

Lot 36 has an estimate of $2,200,000 to $2,800,000. It sold for $2,602,500.


Five Deaths by Warhol, Policeman by Calder



Left: Lot 40, "Five Deaths," by Andy Warhol; Lot 2, "Policeman," by Alexander Calder, wire with wood base, circa 1928; Right: Lot 24, "Untitled," by Barnett Newman

The three works of art illustrated above give some idea of the diversity and quality offered at this sale. Lot 40, "Five Deaths," (1963), is a gruesome depiction of a car crash in florid orange by Andy Warhol, from his Death and Disaster series. It has and estimate of $6,000,000 to $9,000,000. It sold for $8,146,500.

Lot 2, "Policeman," by Alexander Calder, is a superb early wire sculpture that was exhibited at Weyhe Gallery in New York in 1928 ("Wire Sculpture by Alexander Calder," and "Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933," at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Musee national d'art modern, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, October 2008-July 2009 (reviewed in Art/Museums on this site).

 Lot 2 has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for $4,226,500, a world auction record for a wire sculpture by the artist.

Lot 24, "Untitled," by Barnet Newman is a dramatic ink on paper painted in 1945. It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $578,500.



Kiefer


Detail of Lot 33, "Eisen-Steig," by Anselm Kiefer, oil, acrylic, olive branches, lead, iron, gold leaf and emulsion on canvas, executed in 1986.

Lot 33, "Eisen-Steig," by Anselm Kiefer, is an important work by the artist, and is Property From The Estate of David Pincus, the legendary collector and humanitarian. So many associations come pouring forth from this gritty, tragic, yet simultaneously hopeful work by Kiefer. Railroad tracks/tram tracks, and iron and steel were integral to the infrastruture that supported the Nazi war machine, and all its ensuing horrors. This painting references a photograph of railroad tracks in Bordeaux that were comandeered by the Reich to transport Jews to the death camps of Auschwitz. However, there is other material referenced in this powerfu work of art that transcends the darkness:
 
"Kiefer's use of iron is legion: the artist's attraction to it derives from its cosmic origin, having first fallen from the sky in meteoric form, and subsequently forged during the Iron Age" (A. Kiefer, "Interview with Mark Rosenthal," in M. Rosenthal, Anselm Kiefer, Chicago and Philadelphia, 1986, p. 143). The olive branch, laden with the Christian symbolism of peace and renewal, gains in meaning from its association with the traces of human life, as if the dove carries this branch metaphorically not only to Noah but to the victims of Nazi oppression, and by inference to all mankind suffering in violent conflict. Kiefer associates lead with alchemy, the base metal that might be turned into iron, silver, and then into gold, and underlies the artist's compression of materials as both an ironic comment on the futility of the alchemist's quest for spiritual redemption and a suggestion of an underlying hope in its efficacy...

Joseph Beuys played a formative role in Kiefer's understanding of the illusiveness of memory and the lessons of history and myth in their representational strategies. In his use of materials and formal elements, Beuys had provided a compelling precedent. For his performance/installation, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, 1965, Beuys, in an effort to harness the alchemical and transformative power of gold, had rubbed it over his face (M. Rosenthal, Joseph Beuys, Actions, Vitrines, and Environments, Houston, 2005, p.121). In Tramstop, Beuys had configured vertical parallel lines out of elements of his installation Tramstop Archaeology assembled in a Nazi-era building at the 1976 Venice Biennale (now installed at the Hamburger Bahnhof and Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin), a work that was undoubtedly an inspiration for Kiefer. Two parallel lengths of iron, one a single-track rail line, the other an upended shaft lie on the floor, the latter, the barrel of a field cannon to which is soldered a cannon ball and a head of a man, open-mouthed, and positioned on four seventeenth-century mortar bombs. 'For Kiefer, as for Beuys, being stunned by these unforgettable German events became the premise for his works' (D. Anrasse, "Arts of Memory," in Anselm Kiefer, New York, 2001, p. 14). Subject matter, visual language, and thematic reference to Nazi-era Germany was taken up by Kiefer in a series of extraordinary parallel representations beginning the year after Beuys' installation, which culminated a decade later in the aesthetically compelling Eisen-Steig of 1986."
Lot 33 has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $1,874,500.



Agnes Martin

Center: Lot 11, "Untitled #7," by Agnes Martin, painted in 1974


Illustrated here are three works of art from The Schuloff Collection. Christie's catalogue for this sale notes that "the Schulof name is one that has resonated in the international art community for over sixty years and has come to signify the passion and exceptional connoisseurship of two of the greatest collectors of their time, Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof:"

"My paintings have neither objects, nor space, nor time, not anything -- no forms. They [are] not really about nature [they depict] not what is seen, but what is known forever in the mind" - Agnes Martin.

"Art is like a religion for me. It is what I believe in. It is what gives my life a dimension beyond the material world we live in" - Hannelore Schulhof

"The deeply spiritual nature of Agnes Martin's work captivated Mrs. Hannelore Schulhof's imagination from the first moment she encountered the work at New York's Elkon Gallery. The two women shared a passionate belief that art had an almost divine ability to transpose the rigid boundaries of its physicality and connect with something deep within the human soul" (Christie's catalogue for this sale)


Lot 7, "Untitled #7," has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It sold for $2,434,500.

Dubuffet

Lot 4, La Congratule," by Jean Dubuffet, gouache on paper, painted in 1962. From The Schulhof Collection

This charming work on paper by Jean Dubuffet would liven any collection, especially one with a Basquiat, who acknowledged Dubuffet's influence on him.
Lot 4 has an estimate of  $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $1,684,100, a world auction record for a work on paper by the artist.

Dramatically displayed in Christie's galleries in the exhibition prior to the sale - and illlustrated below - is Ellsworth Kelly's stainless steel "Untitled," circa 1987-88.  Lot 10 has an estimate of $1,500,000 to$ 2,000,000. It sold for $3,778,500, also well over its high estimate.

Large sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly

Lot 10, "Untitled," by Ellsworth Kelly, stainless steel. From The Schulhof Collection
Lot 58, "Untitled,1989 (Bernstein 89-24), by Donald Judd, a monumental stack in copper and red plexiglass, has an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 and is illustrated below. It sold for $10,162,500, a strong price for a work of quality.

Judd

Lot 58, "Untitled,1989 (Bernstein 89-24), by Donald Judd, 1989


Lot 19, "Ocean Park #48," by Richard Diebenkorn, surpassed its previous record of $7,698,500 (at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale, New York, May 11, 2011). With a pre-sale of estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000 it sold for $13,522,500, an extremely strong price, and a world auction record for the artist.

This beautiful painting is Property From the Collection of John and Zola Rex and illustrated below: "At the edge of the Pacific, in a studio hemmed in between warehouses and a constant stream of street traffic, yet permeated with sublime light, Richard Diebenkorn conceived one of the great achievements of post-war abstraction. His Ocean Park series, named after the semi-industrial neighborhood in Santa Monica where he worked, is a profound and intensive investigation of the language of abstract form and became his focus over the course of two decades, starting in 1967. The contrast between the pastoral sounding name of Ocean Park, and the more gritty character of the actual neighborhood, parallels the ways in which opposing tensions structure the series on a formal level." (Christie's catalogue for this sale)

Diebenkorn

Lot 19, "Ocean Park #48," by Richard Diebenkorn, 1971

Illustrated below is Andy Warhol's "Knives," (Lot 74), that shares wall space with Louise Bourgeois' powerful, creepy "Spider" from the Day Sale.
 Lot 74 has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It sold for $2,434,500.
 
Spider

Left: Lot 74, "Knives," by Andy Warhol, 1982; Right: Louise Bourgeois' spectacular "Spider" is in the Day Sale

Lot 39, "Nude with Red Skirt," by Roy Lichtenstein, is a sexy, meticulously executed oil and Magna on canvas, painted in 1995, that will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne being prepared by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation:

"Sizzling with veiled sexuality, Nude with Red Shirtmarks Roy Lichtenstein's triumphal return to the comic-book sources from the 1960s which defined him as one of the major painters of the twentieth century. His iconic Girlsheralded the end of Abstract Expressionism and his return to the curvaceous contours of the female form in the 1990s that possessed the same visual and emotional intensity of his earlier iconic paintings, yet in these works the artist introduced a new, more contemporary generation of female protagonists. While still taking his cue from the comic books of his youth, in Nude with Red Shirt the artist's earlier renditions of love-struck teenagers have been replaced by confident figures that are no longer waiting for a man to bring them happiness--they know what they want and are out to get it." (Christie's catalogue for this sale)


Nude with red skirt

Lot 39, "Nude with Red Skirt," by Roy Lichtenstein, painted in 1995

The catalogue for this sale includes a photograph of Lichtensteins hand "touching up" his signature dots, one hand supporting the other through what must have seemed like an endless process:

"In Nude with Red Skirt," Lichtenstein adopts a subject that had long been the fovorite of painters throughout history. From Edgar Degas' Baigneuse to Henri Matisse's Odalisques and particularly Pablo Picasso's paintings of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter, the voyeuristic view of a woman in her intimate moments had long veen a staple of painting. But in Nude with Red Shirt, Lichtenstein subverts the male gaze by introducing a famale voyeur. Suddenly the established narrative becomes disrupted - the woman is still the object of the gaze, but whose gaze? Who is watching who? This type of female gaze becomes less threatening, but as a result it becomes more sexual"(Christie's catalogue for this sale) 

 
Lot 39 has an estimate of $12,000,000 to $18,000,000. It sold for $28,082,500, well over its high estimate.

Sheep

Center: Lot 43, "'Moutons de Laine', Un Troupeau de 24 Moutons," by Francois-Xavier Lalanne; Right: "Lot 20, "Swamp Series IV-Sunburst," by Hans Hoffman

Little Bo Beep is nowhere to be found: Lalanne's winning flock of sheep looked for her in vain in Christie's galleries in the wonderful exhibition preceding the sale. The sheep were a delight, and Property From The Collection of Adelaide De Menil and Edmund S. Carpenter, sold To Benefit The Rock Foundation.
Lot 43, "'Moutons de Laine', Un Troupeau de 24 Moutons," by Francois-Xavier Lalanne has an estimate of $4,000,000 to 6,000,000. It sold for $5,682,500.

Robert Manley

Robert Manley, Christie's Head of Department, Contemporary Art, New York,  with works of art from the Day Sale

Robert Manley - Christie's Head of Department, Contemporary Art, New York - chose this fantastic backdrop featuring works of art from the Day Sale.

Amy Cappellazo, Christie's Chairman, Development, Contemporary Art, reviewed highlights of "Andy Warhol At Christie's" at the press preview. The gorgeous installation in Christie's 20th floor galleries includes many great and reasonably priced - for Andy Warhol - pieces that will be sold to benefit The Andy Warhol Foundation. A dedicated review of this sale will follow.


Amy Capellazo

Amy Cappellazo, Christie's Chairman, Development, Contemporary Art, with works of art from "Andy Warhol at Christie's," consigned by The Andy Warhol Foundation

As he negotiated 74 lots - often with prolonged bidding wars - auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen maintained the same level of composure, energy and sense of humor till the very end. Not to mention his elegantly choreographed hand movements - especially at the conclusion of the top selling lots. At the press conference following the sale he said:

"It was an exceptional sale. After 26 years, you stand at the rostrum and you know it it going to be a success."

It certainly was a great sale, and a great week for the art market.
The extremely strong results show that discerning collectors will pay what it takes to own choice works of art by important contemporary artists.

Koji Inoue, "Head of Evening Sale" said: "I still can't believe it" when he talked about the result at the press conference.

It is easy to understand why. At a time when the economy is the subject of concern to many, it is reassuring to know that contemporary art's star continues to rise.
 

Press conference

Left to right:: Laura Paulsen, Brett Gorvy, Koji Inoue and Jussi Pylkkanen at the press conference following Christie's Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York...with "Marlon"



See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art Fall 2012 evening auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art Spring 2012 evening auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art Spring 2012 evening auction at Christie's New York

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See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art Fall 2011 evening auction at Christie's New York


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See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art morning auction at Sotheby's May 11, 2011

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Phillips de Pury May 12, 2011

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See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction Part I at Phillips de Pury Pury following the Ségalot auction

See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Contemporary Art day auction at Christie's


See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Contemporary Art day auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2010 Contemporary Art day auction at Phillips de Pury


See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's


See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Contemporary Art day auction at Christie's


See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's


See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Contemporary Art day auction at Sotheby's


See The City Review Fall 2009 Contemporary Art evening auction at Phillips de Pury


See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 evening Contemporary Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 evening Contemporary Art auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2006 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2006 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Post-War and Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2005 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2005 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2004 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2004 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the May 12, 2004 morning session Contemporary Art auction at Christie's

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See The City Review article on the May 13 Contemporary Art morning auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's Fall 2003

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's Spring 2003

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's Spring 2003

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's Fall 2002

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's Fall 2002

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art day auction at Christie's in Spring 2002

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See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art day auction at Sotheby's May 16, 2002

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See The City Review article on the Post-War Art evening auction at Christie's November 13, 2001

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See The City Review article on the Christie's, May 20, 1999 Contemporary Art Part 2 auction
 

 



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