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Phillips de Pury & Co. announces highlights from its May Contemporary art auctions
Willem de Kooning, Untitled VI, 1975. Oil on canvas, 80 x 70 in. Estimate: $10,000,000-15,000,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips de Pury & Company presents highlights from its New York Contemporary Art auctions with a combined pre-sale low estimate of $85,971,000 and a pre-sale high estimate of $125,089,000.

“Phillips de Pury is honored to have the opportunity to offer for sale an extraordinary selection of masterworks by the most influential artists of the last 50 years. Our international team of specialists has worked tirelessly to bring to the market outstanding works by Basquiat, de Kooning and Warhol amongst others that will be sure to generate enthusiastic bidding.” Zach Miner, Head of Contemporary Art Evening Auction New York.

The Evening sale is comprised of 44 lots with a pre-sale estimate of $75,900,000 - $110,720,000.

WILLEM de KOONING, Untitled VI, 1975, $10,000,000- 15,000,000 offers a stunning glimpse of the artist’s late return to powerful expressionist gestures. Executed with muscular bravura, Untitled VI, 1975, demonstrates de Kooning’s mastery of form and color. The lyrical canvas has been included in several major traveling exhibitions during the artist’s lifetime and represents one of the artist’s greatest achievements of this period.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, Untitled, 1981, $8,000,000-12,000,000. Jean Michel Basquiat’s Untitled, 1981, is one of the artist’s seminal works. Painted in what is recognized as the artist’s most productive year, it has remained in a single collection since its inception. This extraordinary example contains the emblems that have become synonymous with the artists work: the crowned figure, the exposed anatomy, and the expression of ecstasy and agony through an electric palette, Basquiat introduces us to his stunningly early artistic maturation embodied in a gorgeous and possible self-portrait. Here, his legendary artistic fury is unbridled.

ANDY WARHOL, Mao, 1973, Gun, 1981, Statue of Liberty, 1986. Phillips is pleased to present an outstanding collection of works by the artist synonymous with Pop Art – Andy Warhol. Spanning the last two decades of the artist’s life, these three works—Mao, Gun, Statue of Liberty—represent central themes that have been of great interest to the artist throughout his career: celebrity, death, and freedom. Mao, 1973, marks the artist’s return to painterly and expressive execution, in its lush surface and unrestrained brushwork. Gun, 1981, captures Warhol’s lifelong obsession with the aftermath and potentiality of violence from his Death and Disaster series to the present. And finally, Statue of Liberty, 1986, exemplifies Warhol’s use of both icon, history, and motif to a vibrant and visionary end.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN, Brushstroke Nude, 1993, $5,000,000-7,000,000. Standing over 12 feet tall, this momentous and eloquent sculpture is the pivotal and contemporary embodiment of a timeless subject; the female nude. Employing his signature Benday-Dots and primary palette, the artist has frozen an illusion of figure in a spiraling tower of color and form. Executed as if painted in three dimensions, this larger-than-life representation of feminine beauty embodies Lichtenstein’s unique and singular vision.

CHRISTOPHER WOOL, Untitled (69), 1992, $2,500,000-3,500,000. Representative of the artist’s earliest forays into word-painting, Untitled (69), 1992, is a lush yet austere investigation of our deepest libidinal desires. Gazing at Wool’s composition, the stylistic and symbolic quality of the two stacked stenciled words and dripping black pigments exude both aesthetic serenity and psychological tension.

RICHARD PRINCE, Untitled (Cowboy), 1980-1984, estimated at $800,000 – $1,200,000. Untitled (Cowboy), exists among Richard Prince’s most iconic works from his Cowboys series, the body of photographic work with which Prince came to prominence. Prince’s presentation of the rugged protagonist charging through the sublime landscape lifted from cigarette advertising, functions as a portal to one of the most powerful myths of Americana.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN, Daddy Daddy, 2008, $2,500,000 – 3,500,000. In the wake of the widely lauded retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, Maurizio Ctatelan is now established as the most unique and challenging voice of his generation. He provokes and cajoles with his deadpan delivery. Daddy Daddy,2008, is a tour-de-force of technical execution and serious levity. Floating face down in a pool of water, the beloved Pinocchio is suspended in a liminal world; between the real and the animated, and the living and the dead.

The Contemporary Art Day Sale is comprised 173 lots with a pre-sale estimate of $10,071,000 - $14,369,000.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN, Water Lilies with Japanese Bridge, 1992, $280,000-350,000. Roy Lichtenstein’s Water Lilies Series of 1992, expanded upon his concept of taking recognizable imagery and manipulating it into his unique style of Pop Art, and with this progression in his career, Lichtenstein suggested that the artwork of French Impressionist painter Claude Monet is as recognizable as any comic book character. In the present lot, Lichtenstein employs his trademark use of color and form to rework a famed Monet painting, appropriating the legendary artist’s work with a Pop interpretation. Monet was one of several artists who Lichtenstein referenced in his vast oeuvre. The present lot depicts Monet’s sense of reflection in the water through diagonal lines juxtaposed alongside the artist’s signature Ben-day dots and patterns of the stainless steel medium. This technique gives the water a rippling affect and a sense of movement, as Monet so cleverly did in his original painting, while maintaining Lichtenstein’s artistic contemporary style.

MAURIZIO CATTELAN, A Perfect Day, 1999, $250,000-350,000.. Maurizio Cattelan’s ubiquitous reputation in the art world as a troublemaker stems from his supposed lack of respect for authoritative figures. Cattelan’s seemingly rebellious identity as an artist often lead to an exhibition of a reversal of the traditional and standard relationships between an artist and their representing gallery. The present lot, A Perfect Day, 1999, was a day-long installation in which Cattelan adhered his gallerist, Massimo de Carlo, to his gallery wall in Milan with a spider web-like bonding of thick tape. Suspended and unable to move free, de Carlo found himself at the complete mercy of the artist. This installation cleverly portrays Cattelan’s own personal viewpoint of feeling entrapped by the pressures of the gallery system, in which the gallerists holds much of the power in steering the artist’s career. The present lot captures this moment, which existed solely for one evening at Galleria Massimo de Carlo, and depicts the gallerists almost entirely covered by adhesive tape, resembling a metaphorical art world crucifixion.

DAVID SMITH, Untitled, 1959, $250,000-350,000. Praised as one the greatest American sculptors of the twentieth-century, David Smith brilliantly wove together a range of influences to form his own unique oeuvre. In many respects Smith translated the painterly concerns of the Abstract Expressionists into sculpture, and in the late 1950s, during a time spent at his home in Bolton Landing, he transcribed the ideas that went into his sculpture back into painting. The present lot, Untitled, 1959, displays the artist’s intrigue in the totem. The tall narrow canvas stacks abstract figures, raising their own totem out of spray paint. The metallic palette is reminiscent of his stainless steel sculptures, giving the sense of piling or erecting of materials. The present lot is a brilliant example of Smith’s many talents as both a sculptor and a painter.

Other highlights include: YAYOI KUSAMA, Infinity Nets, 2002, $150,000-200,000; RICHARD PHILLIPS, Portrait of God (after Richard Bernstein), 1998, $120,000-180,000. CHRISTIAN MARCLAY, Voices of Venus, 1992, $100,000-150,000.

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