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World Record Prices Established for Works by California Artists
Gregory Kondos (American, born 1923), "Beach Girl", 1975, signed and dated 'G. Kondos 1975' (lower right) and signed, titled and dated (on the reverse). Oil on canvas, 48 x 50 inches. Est. $10,000-15,000, sold for $51,850. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams & Butterfields.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams & Butterfields’ Made in California auction on November 17, 2009 did especially well, signaling that the market for California art remains strong. Regardless of the auction’s regional theme, telephone bidders from around the globe vied for works by the golden state’s leading modern and contemporary artists. The sale, which was simulcast from Los Angeles to San Francisco, established world record prices for works Gregory Kondos, Raimonds Staprans and several other California artists.

Robert Graham’s "Neith" (Duke Ellington Figure) and Gregory Kondos’s "Beach Girl", exceeded pre-sale estimates and sold for robust prices. Neith, the top lot of the sale, brought $103,700 (est. $50,000 - 70,000), while "Beach Girl" sold for $51,850 (est. $10,000 - 15,000) and established a new world record for the artist at auction.

“The cover lot, "Beach Girl", by Sacramento artist Gregory Kondos created quite a stir. Bidders from the east and west coasts competed for the California beach scene. Excited bidders occupied the telephone lines in the San Francisco and Los Angeles salerooms. "Beach Girl" sold for $51,850, more than triple the pre-sale estimate, and established a world auction record for the artist,” said Holly Sherratt, Director of the Made in California Department at Bonhams & Butterfields.

Wayne Thiebaud’s "Third Street Avenue Store" also highlighted the sale. The oil painting from 1956 sold for $85,400. “'Third Avenue Store' was one of Thiebaud’s earliest paintings dedicated to consumer culture. The work was created in 1956 when the Pop Art movement was beginning to emerge,” said Sherratt.

Works by Ruth Asawa and Robert Therrien led the sculptural offerings. Ruth Asawa’s tied wire sculpture came from the collection of the family and sold for $42,700. Robert Therrien’s wall-mounted sculpture was exhibited at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 1984 and also sold for $42,700.

Bidders also competed for several works by Raimonds Staprans, Robert Arneson, James Weeks, John Altoon and Sam Francis. Arneson’s portrait of the artist William T. Wiley sold for $35,380 and Staprans’s White Top Boats from 1972 brought $39,650 – a new world record for the artist at auction.

The sale also included several works from the Heller Ehrman Collection. James Weeks Gallery Song Recital sold for $24,400 (estimate $15,000-20,000); Omar Chacón’s Asiatica sold for $4,880 (estimate $1,500-2,500); Francesca Pastine’s Spoondrift sold for $3,050 (est. $1,500-2,500).

“We were especially pleased that the property from the Heller Ehrman Collection sold at or above Bonhams & Butterfields’ presale estimates. Many of these artists were new to auction and we were pleased to see competitive bidding for their work,” said Sherratt.

Made in California auctions will continue in May 2010.

Bonhams & Butterfields | Made in California | California Artists |

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