Sotheby's
Contemporary Art
10 AM, May 13, 2009

Sale 8551

"Sale Ends Today" by Banksy

Lot 314, "Sale Ends Today," by Banksy, oil on canvas, 84 by 168 inches, 2006

By Carter B. Horsley

This auction is highlighted by several good works by such artists as Banksy, Maurizio Cattelan, Frank Stella, Martin Kippenberger, and Andy Warhol.

Lot 314 is a large and strong work by Banksy (b. 1974) entitled "Sale Ends Today." An oil on canvas, it measures 84 by 168 inches. It was executed in 2006. It has an estimate oif $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $230,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

Untitled by Kippenberger

Lot 388, Untitled, by Martin Kippenberger, watercolor, ballpoint pen and crayon on paper, 29 by 21 1/2 inches, 1989

Lot 388 is a watercolor, ballpoint pen and crayon on paper by Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997) that shows the artist wearing the same underpants as in a much larger work, an oil painting, that was the cover illustration of this season's evening Contemporary Art auction at Sotheby's (see The City Review article). This work measures 29 by 21 1/2 inches and was created in 1989. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $338,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The catalogue entry for this lot provides the following commentary:

"For Martin Kippenberger, whose presence was larger than life and whose life was inextricably interconnected with his art, self-portraiture was an indispensable cornerstone of his oeuvre and he toyed with this artistic genre as no other artist before him. In typical fashion, Kippenberger held nothing sacred, including himself, so any interpretation of this indulgent trickster's work is elusive yet rewarding – a vein of modern self-presentation that borders on performance art. Kippenberger was the foremost protagonist in his paintings and he used his image deftly to confront the art world of his day as well as his role in it.

"For the series painted in the late 1980s, in which the present work, Untitled, 1989 exemplifies his fascination with self portraiture famously rendered in reverse for the eponymous painting dated from 1988. Kippenberger firmly presents himself in the role of artist, and his figure, in its high-rising white underwear, is in self-mocking contrast to his hero Picasso. The artist was now in mid-life and his failure to achieve the "triumph'' of painting becomes his apparent subject. In 1985, Kippenberger had used the famous photograph by David Douglas Duncan of a virile Picasso in his underwear as the invitation for his exhibition at Galleria Leyendecker. In contrast to this image of Picasso as a dominant male even late in life, Kippenberger photographed himself (for use in a calendar he published in 1988) contemplating and analyzing his image in a mirror, awkwardly impersonating his hero). The muted hues and ethereal application of the watercolor suggest that Kippenberger was perhaps cognizant the decadence and self-destruction through excess that can cut short the creative life."

Untitled by Guston

Lot 119, untitled, by Philip Guston, ink on paper, 17 3/4 by 24 inches, 1954

Lot 119 is an excellent untitled ink on paper by Philip Guston (1913-1980). It measures 17 3/4 by 24 inches and is dated 1954. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $410,500.

The catalogue entry for this lot includes the following 1966 quotation from the artist:

I"t is the bareness of drawing that I like. The act of drawing is what locates, suggests, discovers. At times it seems enough to draw, without the distractions of color and mass. Yet it is an old ambition to make drawing and painting one. Usually I draw in relation to my painting, what I am working on at the time. On a lucky day a surprising balance of forms and spaces will appear and I feel the drawing making itself, the image taking hold."

"Dad, Dad and the Kids" by Yinka Shonibare Mbe

Lot 265, "Dad, Dad and the Kids," by Yinka Shonibare Mbe, life-size mannequins, dutch wax printed cotton textiles and leather shoes, 2000

Lot 4 consists of two adult and two child mannequins, all headless, attired in dutch wax printed cotton textiles and leather shoes. The 2000 work is by Yink Shonibare Mbe (b. 1962). It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.

"Peace Goddess" by Fairey

Lot 317, "Peace Goddess," by Shepard Fairey, spray painted stencil and mixed media on canvas, 118 1/4 by 140 1/8 inches, 2007

Lot 317 is a spay painted stencil and mixed media on canvas entitled "Peace Goddess" by Shepard Fairey (b. 1970). The woman depicted appears to be Claudette Colbert in her movie role of Cleopatra. The work measures 118 1/4 by 140 1/8 inches and was created in 2007. It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.

"Untitled (Shark 7)" by Longo

Lot 312, "Untitled (Shark 7)," by Robert Longo, charcoalon paper mounted on aluminum, 96 by 70 inches, 2008


Lot 312, "Untitled (Shark 7)," is a charcoal on paper mounted on aluminum by Robert London (b. 1953). It measures 96 by 70 incyhes and is dated 2008. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $206,500.

The catalogue entry for this lot includes the following quotation from the artist:

"I always imagine that I want to make art that is going to kill you. Whether it's going to do it visually or physically, I'll take either way. If it doesn't kill you visually, it's going to fall off the wall and kill you physically. A great deal of my work is a meditation on power. But the thing about power is that you can't play with it without understanding its consequences. Ultimately, it's about not closing your eyes to power but actually being able to enjoy it."

"Kimiko Powers" by Warhol

Lot 184, "Kimiko Powers," by Andy Warhol, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen inks on canvas, 40 inches square, dated 1972

Lot 184 is a very fine portrait of Kimiko Powers by Andy Warhol (1928-1987). A synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen inks on canvas, the work measures 40 inches square and is dated 1984. It has an estimate of $350,000 to $450,000. It sold for $506,500.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Spurred by the dynamism of the 1970's, Andy Warhol turned to a more fluid and painterly style. During this time, he left behind the faded newsprint portraits of the 1960's, and his palette exploded across the canvas, as evinced in the extraordinary yellow and green hue of the present Portrait of Kimiko Powers. Warhol's new work proved to be an exploration into the theatricality of life, and each subject more magnetic and imaginative than the next. He was exhibited at the acclaimed and highly critiqued 1979 Whitney exposition, Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70's, a show which exhibited not only a new aesthetic but a glittering social circle the king of pop appearing to be trying on. Warhol had discovered the allure of high society, of back rooms and the rooms behind those and glory in seeing for himself the faces most mortals only see in two-dimension.

"As Robert Rosenblum notes in his essay Andy Warhol: Court Painter to the 70's, Warhol had moved beyond the old masters, the quasi- religious icons of Brando and Marilyn to resurrect the grand tradition 19th century society portraiture. Like Giovanni Boldini and John Singer Sargent, Warhol painted "the beautiful people" of his time; those statesmen, actors or wealthy patrons he felt were important enough to leave their traces on the history of painting. Indeed, celebrities among celebrities, both Andy Warhol and John Singer Sargent walked in the same stardust as their elite clientele. As such, Kimiko Powers is a heroine not unlike Sargent's Madame X. Both women purse their lips, tilt their heads and throw one shoulder back seductively. Cast beneath a veil of chilled aristocracy, both sitters seem to hold a secret. It could be the flair of Madame's nostrils, the strain in her neck or mysterious look in Kimiko's eyes but somehow we are lead to believe these women know things we don't, have keys to doors that we don't even know exist. Like Madame X and the famed Whitney Show, Kimiko Powers speaks for her decade, for a distinct moment in both our artistic and national consciousness.

"Importantly, at the time this portrait was rendered, Kimiko and her husband John, had already amassed one of the most impressive collections of pop art. Living in New York City, they frequented the galleries and began collecting in the early 1960's and became close friends of many of the artists they collected. A dear friend of Warhol, this portrait is not merely an attempt to infuse one's image with an aura of celebrity, as many of Warhol's society portraits were, rather she is conveyed as a woman with grace, elegance and flair but there is a mystery in her eyes that the viewer can not penetrate. Though we are given the illusion of intimacy, it is merely a lesson in the art of performance, seduction and high society."

"Sacramento Proposal #3" by Stella

Lot 175, "Sacramento Proposal #3," by Frank Stella, acrylic on canvas, 103 1/4 inches square, 1978, right

Lot 175 is a stunning abstraction by Frank Stella (b. 1936) entitled "Sacramento Proposal # 3." An acrylic on canvas, it is 103 1/4 inches square and is dated 1978. It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"Frank Stella's Sacramento Proposal #3, 1978 vividly engages the established standard of the artist's iconic concentric squares. More than a mere systemic approach, Stella's works share a deliberate concern of color and their independent value with regard to space as well as the relationship that the colors have to one another. Stella conceptualized colors from the hues of the color wheel, while employing the gray tonal scale in order to correspond to these colors in numerical order. He did not simply increase the width of the bands to fill the larger canvases; rather, he increased the number of bands in order to emphasize the scale of the work itself. As seen in Sacramento Proposal #3, Stella's unprimed square canvas visually hints at a planar illusion with the outer band of color leading inwards through distinctive different shades of blue decreasing from light to dark. Each band is divided inwards through thinner stripes of bold hues of red, orange, yellow, green and blue. The application of the paint is undeniably even, although Stella, unlike many of his contemporaries, was not concerned with faultless application of the paint, and yet he was arguably among the most successful. Through his calculated technique, Stella works within the bounds of the utilitarian stripes in order to endow them with new and rich aesthetic end result."

"La Nona Ora" by Cattelan

Lot 319, "La Nona Ora," by Maurizio Cattelan, cast plaster and silver staff, 6 3/4 by 24 3/4 by 8 5/8 inches, 2003

Lot 319, "La Nona Ora," is a cast plaster sculpture of a pope lying on the floor with his silver staff by Maurizio Cattalan (b. 1960). The work measures 6 3/4 by 24 3/4 by 8 5/8 inches and was executed in 2003 in an edition of 10 plus 2 artist's proofs. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.

The catalogue entry for this lot provides the following commentary:

"For the artist who professed, 'I want religion and blasphemy to collide, as they do in our daily life. Just think of any day of your week: you wake up, you might pray and think about some metaphysical truth. And then two minutes later you are stuck in traffic cursing and swearing and getting mad and anxious. Our life is based on contradiction,' Maurizio Cattelan is an artist who clearly seeks to provoke and challenge his audiences. In La Nona Ora, one of the artist's most seminal works, Catellan brazenly commits aesthetic epistemological heresy by dropping a meteor on the holiest man in the Roman Catholic tradition, at the ninth hour, the moment that Jesus Christ was crucified.

"La Nona Ora is a dialogue, an invitation to imbue an empty shell with meaning. Cattelan invites us to question whether the work is a serious assault on the Catholic Church or simply an investigation into that which is sacred. Pope John Paul II is rendered in effigy and appears clutching his staff, his body still tense from the meteor's impact. The work may simply be an exercise in satire for the work itself never asserts any veracity. The looney-toon-esque anvil-like meteor and the lack of blood following its impact add a measure of absurdity to the scene leading us to question the artist's intentions.

"While the original work La Nona Ora, 1999, depicts the fallen icon amidst a mosaic of shattered glass, his frail white frame contrasting dramatically with the deep red carpet he lies upon, the present eponymous work is from an edition of 10 rendered in plaster and executed in 2003. In the vein of Andy Warhol and the banality that results from serial multiplicity, Cattelan dares to replicate this controversial image in a manner even more removed than the original. Gone are the bombastic colors and shards of glass and we are left with a plaster simulacra of Pope John Paul II with a staff in his hand and a meteor on his behind leaving us to wonder if anything is sacred anymore?"


"Portrait of Laurence (Recognition)" by Saito

Lot 364, "Portrait of Laurence (Recollection)," by Makoto Saito, acrylic and oil ink on canvas mounted on wood, 72 3/4 by 62 14 inches, 2005

Lot 364 is a very strong work by Makota Saito (b. 1952). Entitled "Portrait of Laurence (Recognition)," it is an acrylic and oil ink on canvas mounted on wood. It is dated 2005 and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $338,500.

"Standing Red Slate Circle" by Long

Lot 170, "Standing Red Slate Circle," by Richard Long, 78 inches in diameter, 42 stone parts, center

Lot 170 is a red slate sculpture by Richard Long (b. 1940) that is 78 inches in diameter and consists of 42 stone parts. It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.

"Untitled (Diptych)" by Mitchell

Lot 136, "Untitled (Diptych)," by Joan Mitchell, oil on canvas in two parts, each part 45 5/8 by 35 1/4 inches, circa 1977

Lot 136 is a large, untitled diptych oil on canvas by Joan Mitchell (*1925-1992). Each part measures 45 5/8 by 35 1/4 inches.It was executed circa 1977. The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $500,000. It sold for $584,500.


"Burnout" by Banks Violette

Lot 357, "Burnout," by Banks Violette, polystyrene, plaster and aluminum, center,72 by 48 by 48 inches, 2000

Lot 257 is a polystyrene, plaster and aluminum sculpture by Banks Violette (b. 1973). Entitled "Burnout," it measures 72 by 48 by 48 inches and was created in 2000. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $50,000.

The catalogue entry includes the following quotation from the artist:

"That form [stalagmites/stalactites] seems a great way to reference a whole series of things simultaneously - as a geographical formation, it instantly implies the idea of a site, or a 'real' space. In addition, that dripping cave kind of things is such a hack, repeating motif from album cover art, especially post-psychedlia Heavy Metal albums. Also, there was always a kind of implied violence for me in using that form: wherever they have been used in my sculptures, they are effacing or defacing something."



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

See The City Review article on the May 12 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

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

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's May 15, 2002

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

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction in the fall of 2001 at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's that follows this auction November 14, 2001

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

See The City Review article on Contemporary Art evening auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourgh November 12, 2001

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction in the Spring of 2001

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's May 15, 2001

See The City Review article on the Christie's Post-War Art evening auction May 16, 2001

See The City Review article on the Post-War art day auction at Christie's May 17, 2001

See The City Review article on Post War Art evening auction at Christie's, Nov. 15, 2000

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's, Nov. 14, 2000

See The City Review article on the Contemporary Art evening auction at Phillips, Nov. 13, 2000

See The City Review article on Contemporary Art Part II auction at Phillips, Nov. 14, 2000

See The City Review Article on the May 18-9 Contemporary Art auctions at Phillips

See The City Review article on the May 16, 2000 evening auction of Contemporary Art at Christie's

See The City Review article on the May 17, 2000 Contemporary Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall, 1999 auction of Contemporary Art at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Sotheby's Nov. 17, 1999 auction of Contemporary Art

See The City Review article on the auctions of Contemporary Art from a European Private Collection and Contemporary Art, Part 2, at Sotheby's Nov. 18, 1999

See The City Review article on the May 18, 1999 Contemporary Art Auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on Contemporary Art Part 2 auction at Sotheby's May 19, 1999

See The City Review article on the Christie's, May 19, 1999 Contemporary Art auction

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

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