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Phillips auction house announces highlights from London June Contemporary Auctions
Glenn Brown, Oscillate Wildly (after ‘Autumnal Cannibalism’ 1936 by Salvador Dalí), 1999. By kind permission of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Spain oil on linen. Estimate £2,500,000 - 3,500,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

LONDON.- Phillips announced highlights from the upcoming June Contemporary Art auctions, featuring 176 lots with a combined pre-sale low estimate of £15,364,000 / $23,930,000 and a pre-sale high estimate of £23,007,000 / $35,840,000.

“We are pleased to present our June Contemporary Art Evening Sale, headlining an important work by Glenn Brown entitled Occilate Wildly, 1999 with an estimate of £2.5-3.5 million. Other highlights from this diverse sale include works by Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Grotjahn, Ugo Rondinone and Rudolf Stingel. We look forward to closing the weeks Contemporary Art sales with these exceptional pieces.” Peter Sumner, Head of Contemporary Art Evening Sale, London.

“We are thrilled to offer a strong and varied selection of works in our June Contemporary Art Day Sale. We are delighted to introduce for the first time, works by Hugh Scott Douglas and Matthew Darbyshire and a rare video piece by Klara Liden alongside exceptional works by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Urs Fischer, Barbara Kruger and Sterling Ruby amongst others.” George O’ Dell, Head of Contemporary Art Day Sale, London.

The Contemporary Art Evening Sale will feature 27 lots with a low estimate of £11,980,000/ $18,660,000 and a high estimate of £18,190,000 / $28,340,000. Highlights of the Contemporary Evening auction include:

Glenn Brown, Oscillate Wildly (after ‘Autumnal Cannibalism’ 1936 by Salvador Dalí), 1999 EST £2,500,000 - 3,500,000
Turner Prize nominee Glenn Brown is recognized as one of the foremost painters of his generation. Perhaps best known for his appropriation of iconic works of art as well as his exploration of sub-genres, Brown’s practice can be described as painterly abstraction within the tradition of appropriation, surrealism and photorealism. In this particular painting, exhibited at the Tate Liverpool during Glenn Brown’s eponymous retrospective in 2009, we find a triumphant homage to Salvador Dali’s Autumnal Cannibalism, 1936. Brown subdues the composition through the use of grey-scale, mirrors the image and doubles the painting in size only to stretch the horizontal plane to a monumental 12 feet, revealing a panoramic vista.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Three Pontificators, 1984 EST £2,500,000 - 4,500,000
The year 1984 marks a pinnacle point in the enigmatic oeuvre of Jean-Michel Basquiat where life and art were necessarily intertwined. Three Pontificators is a quintessential work, revealing a thematically rich use of symbolism, motifs, colour and text. Recalling Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X of 1953, Three Pontificators displays similar themes of isolation and anxiety, as well as evoking the religious subject matter of the former. The sole text in the work is the word “EYE”, written in white oilstick within an almond shape in the space that displaces where figurative eyes should be. Basquiat’s continual fixation with isolating parts of the human body is derived from the medical textbook Gray’s Anatomy, which became a crucial and consistent visual sourcebook throughout Basquiat’s career. This specific “EYE” motif is, for the most part, unique to 1984, as Basquiat used it repeatedly and almost to obsession within this year.

Andy Warhol, Pontiac, 1962 EST £1,500,000 - 2,500,000
America as a theme, underlines the vast majority of Andy Warhol’s work. From Warhol’s iconic depictions of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, products like Coca-Cola and common symbols like the one dollar bill, Warhol radiated American-ness throughout his practice. By 1960 Warhol had officially parted with the commercial work that defined the previous decade. In a moment of irony, Pontiac was in fact one of several works commissioned by Warhol’s former client, Harper’s Bazaar for an article titled, ‘Deus Ex Machina’ for their November 1962 issue. Covering a four-page spread the magazine had commissioned Warhol, ‘to make a visual comment on the phenomenon of the American motorcar.’ Of the works completed for this commission, only two (the present lot and Lincoln Continental) were painted entirely by hand. Using an opaque projector, Warhol traced the desired parts of the image onto the canvas. While remnants of pencil tracings can be found on the headlights and the bumper, Warhol has purposefully honed in on the most distinctive part of the Pontiac: its predominant and commanding grille.

Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 1996 EST £1,000,000 - 1,500,000
Anish Kapoor’s sculptural output of the past three decades has become contemporary art’s defining mode of bridging the gap between physical and psychological space. Demonstrated through his perfectly finished sculptures Kapoor has succeeded in giving emptiness the same philosophical and aesthetic weight as that which is tangible. In, Untitled, 1996, Kapoor explores the reflections of our surroundings as much as he allows us to profoundly explore concepts of internal and external depth. With its immaculate and sumptuous midnight pigment, Kapoor’s large moon-like sculpture evokes the precipice of a great abyss, a gateway to a calm immersive void.

Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes, 1980-1981 EST £900,000 - 1,200,000
From the commercial work of the 1950s, Warhol, almost a quarter of a century later, had achieved the fame and notoriety he sought. Merging art and business, iconography and consumerism, good art and good business were part in parcel for Warhol. Pre-dating the soup cans, flowers and Jackie O’s, the subject of shoes were Warhol’s first foray into commercial art in 1955. Working on Madison Avenue, Warhol was lauded in the advertising world with awards and worked under an enviable client list including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker. Standing out as the triumph of this era in Warhol’s oeuvre are the whimsical watercolour and ink illustrations of shoes. Warhol returns to the subject of the shoe in 1980 with the Diamond Dust Shoes series. Warhol first used “diamond dust” in 1979 within his silkscreen process resulting in the Shadows series. First experimenting with real diamond dust, it proved to have a disappointingly chalky appearance on the silkscreened canvas; Warhol was forced to experiment with pulverized glass. The visual effect of the shimmering plane glamourizes commodity while remaining true to Warhol’s favorite themes of celebrity, fame and money.

Rudolf Stingel, Untitled (Bolego), 2007 EST £600,000 - 800,000
Consistently pushing the boundaries of painting, Rudolf Stingel is one of the most provocative and innovative living artists today. His work seamlessly weaves traditional means of painting with the bravura of Modernism and the critical investigation of artistic production. Recognized for his highly conceptual yet formal-looking monochromatic works, the artist has managed to expand the relationship of painting and architecture. Stemming from his series of photorealist self-portraits, Untitled (Bolego), 2007, is an autobiographical work in so far as it references the self-portrait genre while examining the role of the artist and the romantic notion of aura. This intimately scaled work depicts Stingel as a brooding and worldly gentleman, perpetuated by his rugged features, suit and lit cigar, his gaze is fixed on a subject outside of the picture plane, just outside of the viewer’s reach. As with any self-portrait, he, the artist, is the subject of the painting, yet Stingel also makes himself the object of this painting, his physical presence is undeniable, consuming the majority of the picture plane.

Andy Warhol, Skull, 1976 EST £600,000 - 800,000
Andy Warhol was shot and critically injured on the 3rd of June 1968 by Valerie Solanas, a marginal figure in the factory scene and author of separatist feminist manifestos. After this terrifying incident, Andy Warhol became even more obsessed with the subject of death than in his previous work. Just as Warhol was confronted with own existence as he stared into the face of his assailant, the viewer too is forced to enter a period of self-reflection, as we contemplate our inevitable fate. Skull is a work of powerful and tragic utterance. Replacing Warhol’s sixties paintings of Marilyns and Campbell soup cans, it evokes a sense of tragedy which is deeply commanding. Warhol’s insecurity after facing death is extremely palpable in this painting, presenting a darker, more vulnerable dimension to his work.

Ugo Rondinone, If There were Anywhere but Desert. Friday, 2002 EST £300,000 - 500,000
If There were Anywhere but Desert. Friday by Ugo Rondinone best exemplifies the artist’s attempt to allude to themes of isolation and disenchantment, whilst simultaneously marking his continuing distinction in the international art scene. As with his earlier works, noted for their diversity of forms, Rondinone’s representation of clowns unites a consistent ambiguity with intense psychology, which at once unsettles and intrigues the viewer .This work, executed by Rondinone in 2002, is an extract from the larger, seven-part series by the Swiss-born artist in which he represents the days of the week with unique, motionless figures. Here, the clown has been divested of its power as an entertainer, and is instead confined to lie on the floor as a flabby, mute and quasi-static figure, leaving the viewer feeling disconnected from their usual terms of reference.

Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Three-Tiered Perspective), 1997 EST £140,000 - 180,000
Driven from both modernist abstraction and pop culture, Mark Grotjahn’s works are personal allurements, between the naturally hard-edged representation of geometric abstraction and emotive communication. In his Three-Tiered Perspective series, Grotjahn uses various vanishing points to create an optical effect, portraying a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. As a forerunner to his renowned Butterfly paintings, this series is a vibrant exploration of multiple perspectives and a creation of deep space and movement. Whilst his Butterfly series focuses the eye on a single view point, the use of various vanishing points on one single work draw the viewer inward creating an illusion of deep space and motion on a flat surface. While there is an almost classical lucidity to Grotjahn's established organization of dividing the composition into three separate rectangular rows of converging polychromatic stripes all of which are separated by horizontal bands, his use of colour is to a certain extent completely random. The result for Untitled (Three-Tiered Perspective) is the optical illusion of three-dimensional landscape receding towards a horizon through a variety of colour, space and direction.

The Contemporary Art Day Sale will feature 149 lots with a low estimate of £3,384,000/ $5,270,000 and a high estimate of £4,817,000 / $7,500,000. Highlights of the Contemporary Day auction include: David Altmejd, Untitled, 2005 estimated at £40,000 - 50,000; Martin Creed, Work No. 287 (Feelings), 2003 estimated at £30,000 - 40,000; Allan McCollum, Collection of Thirty Drawings, 1988-1991 estimated at £20,000 - 30,000; Barbara Kruger, Face It! (Red), 2007, estimated at £20,000 - 30,000; Piotr Uklanski, Untitled (Crayons), 2001 estimated at £20,000 - 30,000.

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