Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sothebys Fall Auction

Screenprints by Andy Warhol to spearhead Sotheby's sale of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints 

Andy Warhol, Eva Mudocci (After Munch). Unique Screenprint, 1984. Est. £100,000 - 150,000. Photo: Sotheby's. LONDON.- Three exceptional colour prints by Andy Warhol, which appropriate motifs from some of Edvard Munch’s most iconic works, are among the top lots which will appear at Sotheby’s Sale of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints in London on 19 September 2012. Striking, unique and ground-breaking works, The Scream (After Munch), Eva Mudocci (After Munch), and Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch) are a rare and enterprising offering from Warhol – a meeting between two of the finest artists of the twentieth century. The prints come to auction from an Important European Collection with a combined estimate of £500,000 – 750,000. Warhol appropriated Munch’s emotionally charged works to create his own equally evocative and emblematic images. It is perhaps not unexpected that Warhol chose to makes these prints. The pop-artist was fascinated by the history of art and sought to adapt and explore famous motifs from the past through his oeuvre. The universally recognisable work of Munch, a modern master, was the perfect vehicle for Warhol’s vision. The sale will also include a woodcut by Edvard Munch which depicts The Girls on the Bridge, one of the artist’s most celebrated and popular compositions. Printed in 1918, The Girls on the Bridge is estimated at £180,000 – 200,000.
The Scream (After Munch) Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984, sheet: 1016 by 813mm Est. £200,000 - 300,000
Munch’s The Scream is one of most instantly recognisable motifs in both art history and popular culture. An existential cry for the struggle of mankind, the composition is one of the artist’s darkest and most challenging works. In this impression, Warhol makes some radical changes to the original motif, emphasising the basic features of the figure to create a cartoon-like face and exchanging the sombre tones of Munch’s work for his own choice of unique, bright clashing colour combinations. Warhol has succeeded in replicating the feelings of the intense angst of the original – rendering man’s inner turmoil and utmost despair in print.
Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch)
Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984, sheet: 813 by 1016mm
Est. £200,000 - 300,000
Andy Warhol’s unnerving screenprint Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch) is composed of motifs from two of Munch’s celebrated works. On the left, we see Warhol’s interpretation of Munch’s Madonna. Capturing the moment of the conception, this was one of Munch’s most controversial works. Surrounded by long flowing hair, Warhol’s transforms her into an emblem of powerful femininity, on par with the artist’s prints of Hollywood stars Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe. On the right, Warhol pays tribute to Munch’s haunting self-portrait, Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm. The use of the self-portrait reflects Warhol’s anxiety over mortality and his pre-occupation with death. Eva Mudocci (After Munch) Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984, sheet: 1016 by 813mm Est. £100,000 - 150,000
As well as being one of the finest English violinists of her generation, Eva Mudocci was also Edvard Munch’s lover. Munch tried several times to paint the perfect picture of Eva in vain; each time abandoning his attempts and destroying his canvases. He had more success with lithographs, and one such work entitled Madonna (The Brooch), forms the basis for Warhol’s print. In Warhol’s adaptation, the pop artist retains the romantic essence of Munch’s original image, though creates his own 20th century interpretation of the female ideal much like he does in Madonna. The uniqueness of this trial proof is shown through the echo of the brooch upon Eva’s face. This is the only impression where Warhol used this detail, paying tribute to Munch’s original title.

Sothebys NY
NEW YORK, NY.- A seminal, large-scale masterpiece by Mark Rothko will lead Sotheby's Evening Sale of Contemporary Art on 13 November 2012 in New York. No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) was painted in 1954, a time considered by many to be the zenith of the artist's creative powers. The majestic canvas was one of eight works hand-selected by Rothko for his landmark solo show of the same year at the Art Institute of Chicago. Measuring 113¾ x 67½ in (288.9 x 171.5 cm), No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) has remained in the same collection for 30 years and is estimated to sell for $35/50 million*. The canvas will be on view in New York beginning 1 November. “To have a ravishingly beautiful and monumental work from the legendary 1954 show appear at auction is a major market event,” commented Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art.
“Beginning with the breakout price achieved for White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) from the collection of David Rockefeller at Sotheby’s in 2007, demand for key works by the artist has been insatiable. No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) joins major abstract expressionist paintings by Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still and Willem de Kooning at Sotheby’s this autumn, creating a particularly exciting opportunity for collectors to appreciate this crucial period in 20th century art.”
No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue) stands as the one of the great achievements of Rothko’s abstract painting. The stunning aura of its brilliant red and orange surface is superbly countered by the intensely vivid blue stack towards its base, giving the viewer a sense that the canvas is illuminated from within. The painting is central to Rothko’s mature mode of artistic expression in which he pioneered unprecedented territory in a spectacular outpouring of innovation.
In April 1954, Rothko was approached by Katherine Kuh, a visionary curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, who proposed the artist's first one-man show at a major American museum. Rothko was closely involved in the organization of the exhibition, personally selecting the works to be exhibited and even prescribing the color of the walls. Of the eight works included in Recent Paintings by Mark Rothko, four are now in the collections of major museums: The Tehran Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. and The Whitney Museum of American Art; one each belongs to the artist's son and daughter; and in addition to No.1 (Royal Red and Blue), only one other work remains in private hands. In preparation for the exhibition, Kuh and Rothko engaged in significant correspondence, originally intended to provide material for a pamphlet to accompany the show. Having visited the artist's studio in New York,
her initial request for paintings specifically singled out the present work, as she wrote: "I particularly want that marvelous large red one" (letter of June 3, 1954). When Rothko asked her to describe her reactions to his paintings she wrote of the ones she had seen (including the present work): "for me they have a kind of ecstasy of color which induces different but always intense moods. I am not a spectator - I am a participant" (letter of July 18, 1954).
NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 5 November 2012 in New York will be led by an exuberant example of Pablo Picasso’s acclaimed and sought-after portraits of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter. Femme à la fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) bears all the hallmarks of the artist’s sumptuous depictions of the young woman, while its sharp color palette and boldness of form distinguish it within the famed series. This singular style may reflect what was an intense period in Picasso’s personal life: painted in the spring of 1936, the work followed the birth of his daughter Maya the previous fall with Marie-Thérèse, as well as his separation from his wife Olga and the beginnings of a passionate affair with another important muse, Dora Maar. The work carries a pre-sale estimate of $15/20 million*, and will be on view in Hong Kong from 4 – 7 October and in London from 10 – 16 October before returning to New York for exhibition beginning 1 November.
“Marie-Therese inspired some of Picasso’s greatest work,” commented Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York. “His legendary meditations on love, dreams and desire represent one of the seminal achievements of Modernism. It is no coincidence that three of the top ten auction prices for Picasso are for works from this series. Femme à la fenêtre remained with the artist until his death; for over 30 years it has belonged to the distinguished private collector who has consigned today to Sotheby’s”. Picasso famously encountered Marie-Thérèse outside Galeries Lafayette in Paris in 1927. At that time only 17, the athletic and statuesque blonde came to embody sensuality for Picasso. His many inventive depictions of her asleep, reading or at play – in which her form is transformed magically in a style inspired by Surrealism – underscore how her every move fascinated him. In contrast to his depictions of a more passive Marie-Thérèse, Femme à la fenêtre is one of his most poignant renderings of the young woman, perhaps due to the fact that the composition dates from one of the most vulnerable times in her relationship with the artist. Picasso painted this canvas at a villa in Juan-les-Pins, where he had taken Marie-Thérèse and their infant daughter Maya during the spring of 1936, and he had neglected her for months following the birth in order to deal with his separation from his estranged wife Olga. But another distraction had entered Picasso’s life during these months, and her influence on Picasso was becoming increasingly apparent in his art: Dora Maar, the young Surrealist photographer whom Picasso met through Paul Eluard while Marie-Thérèse was pregnant, had already commenced her love-affair with the artist by late 1935. By the end of the decade, Dora would eclipse Marie-Thérèse as Picasso’s primary muse,
becoming the inspiration for his harrowing “weeping women” series of the war years. As is the case for many of the works that are now considered to be among Picasso’s greatest pictures, Femme à la fenêtre remained in the artist’s possession until his death in 1973. It was then inherited by his
granddaughter Marina, whose father was the son that Picasso had with his wife Olga. The portrait is further distinguished by having been a highlight of the celebrated Picasso and Portraiture show organized by William Rubin at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1996.

Sotheby's Makes History With First-Ever Chinese Mainland Auction
Courtesy Sotheby's Wang Huaiqing’s sculpture “Self and Self Shadow,” 2012, became the first work of art to be auctioned in mainland China by an international auction house since 1949.
by Madeleine O'Dea, ARTINFO China
Published: September 28, 2012
BEIJING — Sotheby’s has become the first international fine art auction house to conduct a sale in mainland China since the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. In a largely symbolic affair Thursday just a single lot was put on the block at the Millennium Hall of the World Art Museum in west Beijing, a sculpture entitled “Self and Self Shadow” by Wang Huaiqing (born 1944), an artist hitherto best known for his bold abstract paintings. The sale went off without a hitch, with “Self and Self Shadow” being hammered down at RMB 1.4 million ($222,222), comfortably within the pre-sale estimated range of RMB 1-1.5 million. The auction was staged in celebration of Sotheby’s joint venture, signed only last week with the Chinese state-owned Beijing Gehua Art Company, to create Sotheby’s (Beijing) Auction Co., Ltd. It was entering that joint venture that allowed the historic sale to take place, as Chinese regulations still prevent international houses from conducting auctions on their own on the mainland.

The joint venture with Gehua has given Sotheby’s a foothold in the Chinese art market — but more crucially has secured it a partnership with Gehua’s parent company, the GeHua Cultural and Development Group, which is building the Chinese mainland’s first Freeport, which is slated to open within the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone near Beijing airport by late 2013. Courtesy of its deal with Gehua, Sotheby’s will be the only international house allowed to conduct auctions or selling exhibitions within the Freeport, which will enjoy tax advantages similar to those applying in Hong Kong. Although the importance of this Freeport to the Chinese art market has been somewhat overstated — as it is only while goods remain within the port that they will be exempt from China’s customs duties — it should still generate significant business, as it will provide both a convenient sales venue and storage facility for mainland Chinese clients. Even under the new joint venture, however, Sotheby’s will still be prevented by Chinese law from participating in significant sectors of the Chinese mainland art market. Chinese antiques, such as porcelain, calligraphy, and other works of art will be off limits, but as Sotheby’s CEO William Ruprecht told AFP that the law still allows the company to trade in such significant sectors as Chinese contemporary and modern art, not to mention Western art, jewellery, and watches. Meanwhile, just as Sotheby’s enters the mainland market, China’s oldest fine art auction company, China Guardian, prepares for its first auction in Hong Kong next month. The sale on October 7 will mark the first time that a Chinese mainland auction house has gone head to head with its international competitors.

No comments: