By Carter B. Horsley
Of the five auctions this fall
at Christie's of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art and
Twentieth Century Art, this has the most interesting and some
of the rarest, albeit not the most expensive, works.
One of the artist's whose works
seldom appear at auction is Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957) and Lot
629, "Usine," show above is a fine example. The 23 1/4-by-28
1/8-inch oil on canvas was painted circa 1929-30 and is a great
Precisionist work that is conservatively estimated at $60,000
to $80,000. It sold for $134,500.
Similarly, Lot 630, "Relief:
Rhythms," a 39 1/2-by-32 1/4-inch oil and plaster relief
on canvas laid down on masonite, shown above, is a fine example
of the work of Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)(see The City Review article on the artist). It has a high estimate of $350,000.
It sold for only $244,500 just short of its low estimate.
The catalogue notes that Delaunay was a major proponent along
with Kupka and Francis Picabia of Orphism, which was "championed
by poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire, who extolled the
movement for taking Cubism in a more lyrical, pure direction."
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964)
is one of the great sculptors of the 20th Century and his works
rarely appear at auction. Lot 715, "Torso in Space,"
a 22 3/8-inch-long, polished terracotta conceived in 1936 is not
as angular as most of his works but is an exquisite form of great
beauty. It is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for
Another nice Archipenko is
Lot 633, "Still Life with Book and Base on Table," a
18 1/4-inch-tall polychromed bronze that was conceived in 1918
and executed at a later date. Its high estimate is $50,000. It
sold for $36,800, a bit short of its low estimate.
A very impressive, 84 1/2-inch-tall
sculpture by Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967), Lot 634, is estimated
at $120,000 to $160,000 and is numbered one of six. It sold
One of the nicest works by
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) to appear in recent years is a
painted plaster model, Lot 639, for a unrealized monument to a
Gabriel Peri, a French journalist killed as a hostage by the Germans
in 1941 and commissioned by Paul Nelson, an American architect.
The 18 1/4 inch high work is estimated at $250,000 to $350,000.
It sold for $288,500.
Lot 657 is a delightful, 30-inch
high painted bronze mobile by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) whose
strong colors and simple patterns indicate that he might have
been a better sculptor than painter. It has a high estimate of
$160,000. It did not sell.
Henry Moore is represented
with several pieces, the nicest of which is Lot 670, a 17 1/4-inch-long
polished bronze with gold patina that has a high estimate of $300,000
and sold for $200,500 at its low estimate, the same
as Lot 671, a 9 1/4-inch-tall bronze of "Mother and Child
Against Open Wall," a work first executed in plaster in 1956
as a study for a monumental sculpture he created for UNESCO, and
sold for $277,500 within its estimates.
Lot 739, "Emma Dance,"
is an intriguing, open sculpture of painted and welded steel by
Anthony Caro (b. 1924) that is 95 1/2 inches high and was executed
in 1977-8. It has a high estimate of $80,000 and failed to
The Phoenix Art Museum has
consigned a 40 1/4-inch-high wall relief in wood painted white
by Louise Nevelson (1899-1983) to benefit its acquisitions fund.
The 1975 work, shown above, is a good example of her work and
is conservatively estimated at $18,000 to $25,000 and sold
One of the better paintings
in the auction is Lot 631, "1956, January (Zennor Head),"
a 20 5/8-by-44 7/8-inch oil and pencil on board by Ben Nicholson
(1903-1975). It is estimated at $200,000 to $300,000. It sold
Other highlights include Lot
641, a small oil and pencil on board by Joan Miró (1893-1983)
that is very whimsical and failed to sell with a low estimate
of $150,000; Lot 658, a large very dynamic oil by James Rosenquist
(b. 1933) that has a high estimate of $180,000 and sold for
$112,500, a bit below its low estimate; Lot 708, a large ink
and water-based paint on paper by Victor Brauner (1903-1966) that
is very attractive and has a high estimate of $80,000 and failed
to sell; Lot 719, a large and impressive oil by Adolph Gottlieb
(1903-1974) that is a bit startling for it has its sunburst and
calligraphic element against a bright green rather than white
background and is conservatively estimated at $120,000 to $160,000
and sold for $107,000; Lot 731, a large and dense. but
strong, Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) that has a high estimate of only
$250,000 and sold for $189,500; and Lot 723, a good large
oil by Lee Krassner (1911-1984) that has a high estimate of only
$150,000 and sold for $96,000.
More than three-quarters of
the lots offered sold.