10, "Pink Panther,"
by Jeff Koons, 1968, porcelain, 47 by 20 1/2 by 19 inches, artist's
proof from and edition of three plus one artist's proof
By Michele Leight
Sotheby's Contemporary Art
Evening Sale on
May 10th, 2011 follows the two-catalogue evening sale of Property
from the Collection of Allan Stone on May 9th that was extremely
successful, and includes leading 20th and 21st century artists
Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tom Wesselmann, Roy Lichtenstein,
Lucio Fontana and Willem de Kooning, and artists working today,
such as Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami,
Yoshitomo Nara, Anish Kapoor, Jim Hodges, Mike Kelly and Mark
Tansey. Cumulatively these artworks span 60 years, offering an
alternately rollicking, serious, irreverent, and comedic ride
through of the art of our time.
Worldwide Head, Contemporary Art, with Lot 21, "Sixteen Jackies,"
by Andy Warhol, 1964, acrylic on canvas and silkscreen ink on
canvas in 16 panels, each 20 by 16 inches
The contrast between the two
stunning top lots
that lead the sale, Andy Warhol's "16 Jackies" and and
Lot 10, Jeff Koon's "Pink Panther" could not be more
stark, and each has a pre-sale estimates of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000.
A superb and important Pop Art
21, "16 Jackies" from the Collection of Dodie Rosencrantz
fuses two of Warhol's obsessions - series or "multiples,"
and public icons.
Sotheby' catalogue for this sale
Warhol, celebrity was a fascinating contradiction between the
hidden identity of the private individual and the superficial
nature of public fame." It also includes details of the present
lot: "In the early 1960s, Warhol's rows of soupcans and movie
stars were screened within a single canvas. With the "Jackie"
paintings Warhol for the first time created numbers of small panels
which he could later assemble into larger compositions. Against
backgrounds of blues, white or the extremely rare gold, Warhol
screened eight source images that follow Jackie from her arrival
at Dallas's Love Field, through the motorcade, to the administration
fo the oath for the new President Johnson and finally to the funeral
in Washington D.C."
by Andy Warhol, 1986, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 80
by 400 inches
Warhol was prolific and
chronicled the full
spectrum of mundane, inevitable and important things that impact
our lives. His body of work depicted tragedy, icons, grief, patriotism,
fun, celebrities, tomato soup and stardust in no particular order
of importance, subtly forcing the viewer to take or leave what
he presented. Perhaps this explains his
universal global appeal,
which continues to grow.
Lot 16, "Statue
of Liberty," by Andy Warhol, 1986; Right: Lot 7, "Untitled,"
by Anish Kapoor
Two other Lot 36, "Camouflage"
(estimate $1,500,000 to $1,800,000), and a stunning Lot 16, "Statue
of Liberty," camouflaged in striking colors, (estimate of
$3,000,000 to $4,000,000) seem particularly poignant at this time
in New York City's and this nation's history. Lot 36 sold for $2,546,500.Lot
16 sold for $3,442,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results
mentioned in this article. Lot 7, an untitled red disk by Anish
Kapoor, had an estimate of $550,000 to $750,000 and sold for $962,500.
Head of Contemporary Art, New York, and "Pink Panther"
Representing artworks from the 1980s to
present, Jeff Koons "Pink Panther" appears on the front and back covers
of the catalogue and features a model that ultimately became
his wife, (Ilona Staller/La Cicciolina), who he first saw in a
porn magazine while looking for flesh tones for "Pink Panther."
As might be expected, this exhuberant, lusty and adorable depiction
of desire commands attention. The mirrors in Sotheby's gallery
displayed it to maximum effect, giving it the importance of a
magnificent statue from the Renaissance whose most famous sculptures
are equally compelling when viewed from all sides. However this
sculpture is devoid of the "gravitas" of those classical
icons, while suggesting that "perhaps 'Pink Panther' is a
contemporary take on the classical ''artist and his muse."
At press preview for "Pink Panther" Alex Rotter, left, and Tobias Meyer, discuss the work
Tobias Meyer, Sothebys Worldwide
Art, described it as one one of the most important works by Jeff
Koons ever to have appeared at auction. Created in 1988, "Pink
Panther" draws on many of the themes that have come to define
Jeff Koons. The porcelain sculpture is the artist’s proof
from an edition of three with the other examples in the Museum
of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
and a prominent private American collection. "Pink Panther"
belongs to the artist’s iconic Banality series that includes
Michael Jackson and Bubbles, Bear and Policeman and Ushering in
While describing the work, Alex
Head of Contemporary Art, New York, included a comment by Jeff
Koons who said: "Everything is about sex."
Sotheby's catalogue for this sale
the 'Banality' series, Koons was seen as ushering in a new aesthetic
era: outrageously confrontational, the audacity of 'Banality'
embraces a high-culture version of low-culture cults that represented
Americana, trading on the ubiquity of knick-knacks and stuffed
animals, the useless ornaments that both clog and define the life
of the bourgeoisie. Through this body of work Koons desired to
provoke a fundamental shift in the relationship between art and
life: 'Banality was about communicating to the bourgeois class.
I wanted to remove their guilt and shame about the Banality that
motivates them and which they respond to'" (the artist in
Angelika Muthesius, Ed., "Jeff Koons," Cologne 1992,
The "Pink Panther" was Lot 10 in the auction and had an estimate of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000. It sold for $16,882,500.
May 1, 2011 article in The New York Times said that "Since 1988, when
Jeff Koons made this outrageous porcelain of a bare-breasted blonde
hugging tghe Pink Panther it has become one of his most popular works,"
adding that "the owner is the publisher Benedikt Taschen, who has
collected and sold Koons sculptures before. In 2007, he sold Mr.
Koons 'Blue Diamond," a giant blue diamond fashioned from shiny steel,
at Christie's for $11.8 million....In 1999 Christie's sold one of the
Pink Panther sculptures to Peter Brandt, the newspint magnate, for $1.8
million, then a record price for a Koons work. Now Sotheby's is
auctioning the artist's proof. Besides Mr. Brandt's "Pink
Panther," the Museum of Modern Art in New York owns one, as does the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Sotheby's sold 49 of the 58 offered lots for $128,104,500. The pre-sales estimate was $120,800,000 to $171,400.
14, "Interior with Bathroom Painting," by Roy Lichtenstein, 1992, oil and magna
on canvas, 59 3/4 by 80 inches
Lot 19, "Two Paintings: Folded Sheets" by Roy Lichtenstein, oil and magna, 50 by 70 inches, 1983
Lichtenstein (1923-1997) has two big paintings in the auction: Lot 14,
"Interior with Bathroom Painting" from 1992; and Lot 19, "Two
Paintings: Folded Sheets" from 1983. The former has an estimate
of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000. It sold for $2,994,500. The latter has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $2,098,500.
Lot 52, "Turning the World Upside Down," by Anish Kapoor
Two beautiful sculptures by Anish
one a wall sculpture, the other free-standing - are included in
this sale. Lot 7, "Untitled," 2009, is illustrated above
with Warhol's "Statue of Liberty" and has an estimate
of $550,000 to $700,000. It sold for $962,500. Monumental Lot 52, "Turning the World
Upside Down," has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It is
in Sotheby's entrance, reflecting everything in its mirror-polished,
stainless steel surface. It sold for $2,434,500.
2, "A Faraway
Corner," by Jim Hodges, 1997, white brass chain in 13 parts,
In a 20-minute walk around an airy,
gallery we are confronted with the tragedy of a powerful former
American president's wife transformed into a grieving widow, the
humorous and erotically charged spectacle of a voluptous platinum
blond clasping a bubblegum "Pink Panther" to her breasts,
and the intricate tracery of spiders webs in Jim Hodges "A
Faraway Corner" (Lot 2, estimate $600,000 to $800,000), a work
so delicate in its execution it could easily get lost in a gallery
jammed with monumental works of art - its fragility is fabulous. It sold for $1,082,500.
Lot 5, "Unitled
Film Still #5A," by Cindy Sherman, 1977, gelatin silver print;
Front: Lot 3, "Untitled (Aparacion)," by Felix Gonzalez-Torres,
print on paper, endless copies, 8 (at ideal height) by 29 1/2
by 43 inches
Illustrated above are Lot 5,
Film Still #5A" by Cindy Sherman, that has an estimate of
$600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $662,500. In front of it is Lot 3, "Untitled (Aparacion,"
by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, (1991), with an estimate of $600,000 to
It sold for $1,650,500. This wonderful work is unique and accompanied by a certificate
of authenticity signed by the artist and a digital file for reproducing
the stack. It has been so widely exhibited at the most prestigious
museums in the world it is impossible to list them all here.
by Mark Tansey, 2001, oil on canvas, 84 by 108 inches
Lot 8, "Shades," by Mark Tansey
painted in 2001 and depicts an allegory from Plato's "Republic,"
in which Socrates compares view of existence to prisoners who
believe that shadows cast by objects and events outside are, in
fact, reality. In this painting we see figures in a cave studying
a photogenic drawing that is transfering the shape of the cave's
opening onto the ground. Only one of the five looks towards the
true reality coming from the cave entrance, instead of this projection.
This eerie scene is completed by the shadow of a palm frond which
creates an eye looking out across the cave. It has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $3,442,500.
60, "Red and Blue" by Jackson Pollock
Mid-20th century artists are well
including Lot 31 "Constellation with Bottles," a painted
wood wall sculpture by Alexander Calder created in 1943; Lot 60,
"Red and Blue," by Jackson Pollock, that has an estimate of
$800,000 to $1,200,000; Lot 34, "Untitled VII," by Willem
de Kooning, with an estimate of $4-6 million, and an important
work by Lucio Fontana, (1899-1968), Lot 39, "Concetto
Spaziale," with an estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000. There
also a beautiful drawing by Arshile Gorky, Lot 45, "Untitled,
circa 1944, with an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. Lot
60, the Pollock, sold for $1,762,500. Lot 34, the de Kooning,
sold for $4,282,500. Lot 39, the Fontana sold for $6,242,500.
Lot 45 was withdrawn from the auction.
Lot 39, "Concetto Spaziale," by Lucio Fontana, being auctioned by Tobias Meyer
The paintings illustrated below
are by Andy
Warhol, Anselm Kiefer and Jean Dubuffet and are from the Dodie
Rosencrantz Collection, as is one of the top lots of this sale,
"Sixteen Jackies," illustrated at the top of this story.
Lot 30 and Lot 18, 1964 versions by Andy Warhol of "Round Jackie"
are two brownish round pictures of Jackie Kennedy in the auction, both
made by Andy Warhol in 1964 and both with estimates of $3,000,000 to
$4,000,000.. Lot 18 sold for $3,722,500. Lot 30 was passed at $1,800,000.
Goldenes Haar, Margarethe!!" by Anselm Kiefer, 1981, oil
and mixed media on burlap, 67 by 74 3/4 inches.
47, "Das Goldenes Haar, Margarethe! is a strong and bold oil and mixed
media on burlap by Anselm Kiefer. It was created in 1981 and
measures 67 by 74 3/4 iunches. It has an estimate of $700,000 to
$$900,000 It sold for $1,594,500.
20, "Shadow (Red)," by Warhol, left, and Lot 12, "Bokan -
camouflage pink," by Takashi Murakami, left, acrylic on canvas mounted
on aluminum frame, 118 inches square, 2009, right
20 is a very striking and abstract painting by Warhol entitled "Shadow
(Red)" that measures 76 by 52 inches and was painting in 1978. It
has a modest estimate of $700,000 to $900,000. It hung above the auctioner at the auction where it sold for $4,842,500 and was a stunning and very beautiful work.
It hung in the auction galleries next to Lot 12, "Bokan - camouflage
pink" by Takashi Murakami, an 118-inch square acrylic painting from
2009 with an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It sold for $1,538,500.
by Jean Dubuffet:
Left: Lot 27, "Portrait de Edith Boissonnas; Center:Lot 28,
"Le Boiseux;"Right: Lot 26: "Mirobolus Blanc"
Illustrated above are three
superb and important
but small works by Jean Dubuffet. On the left, is marvellous Lot 26, "Mirobolus
Blanc," (1947), with pebble teeth and gesturing hands, with
as estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $1,142,500. In the center is Lot 28, "Le
with an estimate of $400,000 $600,000. It sold for $722,500. On the left is Lot 27, "Portrait
de Edith Boissonnas," also created in 1947, with an estimate
of $600,000 to $700,000. It sold for $1,142,500. All three works of art have an impressive
provenance and a rich exhibition history.