Art/Auctions logo
Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction
Sotheby's New York
7 PM, November 11, 2015
Sale 9420

Mao by Warhol


Lot 11, "Mao," by Andy Warhol, acrylic and silkscreen inks on canvas, 82 by 57 inches, 1972

By Carter B. Horsley

The November 11, 2015 Post-War & Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's New York is highlighted by major works by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Lucio Fontana, Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella.

The cover illlustration of the auction catalaogue is Lot 11, a large acrylic and silkscreen inks on canvas of "Mao" by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) that was owned by Francois Pinault of Paris.  It measures 82 by 57 inches and was painted in 1972.

It was once owned by Francois Pinault.  Warhol executed 199 Mao paintings between 1972 and 1973.

It has an estimate on request.  It sold for $47,514,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The auction total was $294,850,000 with 85 percent of the 56 offered lots selling.

Pollock

Lot 9, "Number 17, 1949," by Jackson Pollock, enamel and aluminum paint on paper mounted on fiberboard, 22 1/4 by 28 3/8 inches

Lot 9 is an enamel and aluminum paint on paper mounted on fiberboard of Jackson Pollock (1912-1956).  Entitled "Number 17, 1949," it measures 22 1/4 by 28 3/8 inches.  It was exhibited at The Cleveland Museum of Art in 1972 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1979-80 and 1998-9.

The lot is the cover illustration of the Spring 2003 Contemporary Art auction at Sotheby's in New York, and that auction's catalogue provided the following commentary:

"Beginning in 1946-47, Pollock's technique of placing the painting on the floor in his Long Island barn, and working from all four sides to drip, puddle, and fling pigment from sticks and brushes, inaugurated a new era in abstract art. From 1947 to 1951, Pollock's brush seldom touched his paintings, but physicality abounds in his work through the dexterity of movement from wrist to arm to body, and Pollock painted with a sure confidence in the fluidity of the paint orchestrating its quantity, density, speed and rhythm into a completely cohesive unity of composition and expression. Number 17, 1949 is an exquisite example of Pollock's scintillating color, rhythmic energy and painterly improvisation during this vital period of invention."

At that auction, the lot had an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 and it sold to Larry Gagosian, the dealer, for $5,272,000.  It has been consigned by the AG Foundation established by Agnes Gund, a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


At this auction, the lot has an estimate of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000.  It sold for $22,930,000.


Twombley

Lot 18, "Untitled (New York City)," by Cy Twombly, oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas, 68 by 90 incjhes. 1969

Lot 18 is a large "blackboard" painting by Cy Twombly (1928-2011) of oil-based house paint and wax crayon entitled "Untitled (New York City)."  It measures 68 by 90 inches and was painted in 1969.  It was once part of the Saatchi Collection in London.  It has an estimate of request.  It sold for $70,530,000, eliciting considerable applause.

Lichtenstein

Lot 21, "Vicki ! I...I Thought I Heard Your Voice," by Roy Lichtenstein, porcelain enamel on steel, 42 inches square, 1964, number 4/8

Lot 21, "Vicki!  I..I Thought I Heard Your Voice," is an porcelain enamel on steel by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997).  It is numbered 4/8 and is 42 inches square.  It was created in 1964.  It once belonged to Gunter Sachs and has been widely published and exhibited.  The catalogue entry describes it as an "irresistible master-class in the art of allure."  It has an estimate of  $6,000,000 to $9,000,000.  It sold for $7,194,000.


Stella yellow

Lot 15, "Promenade du Sceptique," by Frank Stella, acrylic on canvas, 135 inches square, 1974

Lot 15 is a very bright acrylic on canvas by Frank Stella (b. 1936) that is 135 inches square and was painted in 1974. 

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Marking the culmination of the Concentric Square paintings initiated in 1962,  the present work counts among the largest and most ambitious from this iconic series that was identified as an aesthetic touchstone for Stella by famed curator William Rubin in his catalogue essay for the Museum of Modern Art's 1987 exhibition of the artist's work from 1970 to 1984."

The lot has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold, with applause, for $5,402,000.



Bacon

Lot 20, "Portrait," by Francis Bacon, oil on canvas, 78 by 55 3/4 inches, 1962

Lot 20 is a "Portrait" oil on canvas by Francis Bacon (1909-1992).  It measures 78 by 55 3/4 inches and was painted in 1962.  It once belonged to Michelangelo Antonioni.  The catalogue entry says that the sitter was "undoubtedly a portrait of Bacon's first great love, Peter Lacy." It has an estimate of $12,000,000 to $18,000,000.  It sold for $15,600,000.


Fontana red

Lot 8, "Concetti Spaziale, Attese," by Lucio Fontana, waterpaint on canvas, 25 3/4 by 78 3/4 inches, 1965

Lot 8 is a red waterpaint on canvas by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) entitled "Concetti Spaziale, Attese."  It measures 25 3/4 by 78 3/4 inches and was painted in 1965. It has been widely published and was exhibited in 1988 at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2012.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"One year before winning the grand prize at the Venice Biennale, Fontana took his knife to the surface of the present work at the very crest of his creative powers.  Slicing the painted canvas with twenty-four individual tears across its panoramic width, Fontana embarked on what would become the most dramatic and climactic painting of his career - the single canvas that bears the greatest number of slashes of any of the artist's deeply venerated series of Tagli.  After inflicting his archetypal violence on the painting's expanse, Fontnge inscrribed on the reverse (in Italian): 'I returned yesterday from Venice.  I saw the film of [Michelangelo] Antoninoni!!!' Seeing Antonioni's landmark film Red Desert left Fontana in a state of utter revelation, motivating him to create the most electrifying theatrical painting of his entire body of work...."

It has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000.  It sold for $16,154,000.


Fontana silver

Lot 14, "Concetto Spaziale," by Lucio Fontana, oil on canvas, 59 by 78 3/4 inches, 1961

Lot 14, "Concetto Spaziale," is another work by Fontana.  It measures 59 by 78 3/4 inches and was created in 1961.  The "lunar" nature of this work represents the race to the moon.  It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It sold for $8,986,000.


Basquiat white


Lot 30, "Untitled," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, acrylic, oilstick and pencil on canvas, 95 1/4 by 117 1/2 inches, 1987

Lot 30 is a large untitled acrylic, oilstick and pencil on canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988).  It measures 95 1/4 by 117 1/2 inches and was painted in 1987.  It has an estimate of $1,800,000 to $2.,500,000.  It sold for $8,314,000.


Basqjuiat yellow

Lot 22, "Hannibal," by Jean-Michel Basquiat, acryllic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas mounted on tied wooden supports, 60 inches square, 1982

Lot 22 is a strong work entitled "Hannibal" by Basquiat that is acrylic, oilstick, and paper college on canvas mounted on tied wooden supports.  It is 60 inches square and was created in 1982.  It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It was passed at $6,800,000.


Rauschenberg


Lot 26, "Bait," by Robert Rauschenberg, oil and silkscreen ink on canvas, 60 inches square, 1963

Lot 26 is an oil and silkscreen ink on canvas by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) that is entitled "Bait."  It is 60 inches square and was created in 1963.  It was shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1991.  It has an estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.  It sold for $6,746,000.


Dubuffet

Lot 28, "Le Tissu Social," by Jean Dubuffet, acrylic and paper collage mounted on canvas in two parts, 59 by 205 inches, 1977

Lot 28 is a large and impressive diptych by Jean Dubuffet (1902-1985) entitled "Le Tissu Social."  An acrylic and paper collage mounted on canvas in two parts, it is 205 inches long and was created in 1977. 

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"Executed in a vast chaotic slew of color, line and form, Le Tissu Social is mesmerizing in its frenetic intensity and captivating in its layered complexity.  This work hovers between abstraction and figuration in a manner idiosyncratic of the best of Jean Dubuffet's praxis - delineating figures and heads with clarity and purpose in some areas, and yet descending into the untrammeled frenzy of linear Art Brut forms elsewhere."

At Sotheby's in New York it was auctioned May 20, 2006 with a modest estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000 and sold for $2,480,000.
 
At this auction, it had an estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000.  It sold for $7,194,000.


Tansey

Lot 39, "Shades," by Mark Tansey, oil on canvas, 84 by 108 inches, 2001

Lot 39, "Shades," is a large oil on canvas by Mark Tansey (b. 1949) that was painted in 2001.  It measures 84 by 108 inches.  It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $5,626,000.


Wei

Lot 37, "Zodiac Head - Dragon," by Ai Weiwei, gilded bronze, 36 inches high, edition of 8 plus 4 artist's proofs, 2010

Lot 37 is a gilded bronze "Zodiac Head - Dragon" by Ai Weiwei.  It is 36 inches high and is from an edition of 8 plus 4 artist's proofs.  It was created in 2010.  According to the catalogue entry, the series recreates the 12 traditional Chinese zodiac sculptures that adorned the Yuanming Yuan Imperial Fountain-clock in Beijing and were subsequently looted during the Opium Wars.  It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It sold for $490,000.


Chair

Lot 46, "Untitled (Suspended Chair)," by Bruce Nauman, welded steel and steel cables, 1987

Lot 46 is an untitled work by Bruce Nauman (b. 1941) of a upside-down chair suspended by steel cables.  It was created in 1987.  It has been widely published and exhibited.  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $1,390,000.


Buttons

Lot 2, "Memory Ware Flat #29," by Mike Kelley, mixed media on board, 70 1/4 by 46 1/2, 2001

Lot 2 is a large mixed media on board by Mike Kelley (1954-2012) entited "Memory Ware Flat #29."  It measures 70 1/4 by 46 1/2 inches and was created in 2001.

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"Intiated in 2000, Kelley's series of Memory Ware Flats reference the genre of Canadian folk art technique of the same name, where decorative items such as beads, buttons, shells, and pieces of costume jewelry are embedded within common household objects coated with claylike plaster.  Seeking to revitalize and personalize cast-off objects and discarded materials by assembling sentimental keepsakes, the tradition of memory ware invokes a dstinctly kitsch nostalgia....Memory Ware Flats #29 produces an intensely psychedelic, swirling effect in the exhilarating topography of its dense relief.  The present work's notable concentrations of antique political campaign buttons and wristwatches emphasizes the work's preoccupation with time - histories past and lives lived."

The lot has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.  It sold for $3,070,000.


Smith

Lot 23, "Sacrifice," by David Smith, painted steel, 31 1/2 inches high, 1950

Lot 23 is a painted steel sculpture by David Smith (1906-1965) that is entitled "Sacrifice."  It is 31 1/2 inches high and was created in 1950.  It has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.  It has been widely exhibited and published.  It sold for $2,170,000.



See The City Review article on the Spring 2015 Contemporary Art evening auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2015 Looking Forward to The Past auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2015 Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Looking Forward to the Past auction May 11, 2015 at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2014 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2014 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Spring 2014 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2013 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2013 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2013 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's November 2, 2005
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern evening sale at Sotheby's in the Spring, 2005
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction in the Fall, November, 2005
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's November 5, 2004
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's May 4, 2004
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's May 5, 2004
See The City Review article on the May 5, 2004 evening auction at Sotheby's of Property of the Greentree Foundation from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's May 6, 2004
See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art Part 2 day auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg
See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist Art Part Two day auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Nov. 5, 2001 auction of the Smooke Collection at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg
See The City Review article on the Nov. 5, 2001 auction of the Hoener Collection at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg
See The City Review article on Phillips May 7, 2001 Impressionist & Modern Art auction
See The City Review article on the November 9, 2001 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on Phillips Fall 2000 Impressionist & Modern Art auction
See The City Review article on the Christie's evening sale of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art May 8, 2000
See The City Review article on the Christie's evening sale of Twentieth Century Art May 9, 2000


Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects

Home Page of The City Review