NEW YORK, NY.-
Last Friday, Sothebys
2018 auctions of Contemporary Art commenced in New York with Contemporary Curated, which achieved $26.4 million exceeding its high estimate of $26.1 million, and marking the highest total for the series since Sothebys Curated sales began in 2014. The auction was led by Jasper Johnss Untitled work on paper from 1983, which established a new record for a monotype by the artist when it bested its high estimate to sell for $2.5 million (estimate $1.5/2 million). Emerging from his Drawings Paintings series, George Condos Rainy Day Butler from 2012 sold to applause when it achieved an outstanding $2.4 million double its high estimate and the second highest auction price for the artist. A new artist record for Sam Gilliam, and strong prices for works by Wayne Thiebaud, Adriana Varejao and Andy Warhol also anchored the exceptional results.
Charlotte Van Dercook, Head of Sothebys Contemporary Curated auctions in New York, commented: "We are thrilled with the outstanding results from last Fridays sale in New York. There were a number of highlights throughout the two sessions: from establishing a new artist record for Sam Gilliam and the record for a Jasper Johns monotype, to setting the second highest price for a painting by George Condo and enthusiastic participation from online bidders. We look forward to building upon this success as we continue to grow our Curated sales, and are excited to use this momentum as we look to London for our Contemporary auctions this week.
A radiant example of Jasper Johnss iconic crosshatching method, Untitled from 1983 emanates from the artists rare series of eighteen unique monotypes created in West Islip, New York. It was not until this particular series that he employed the monotype on a monumental level and exercised an unprecedented sense of technical innovation within his printing technique. In the present work, the contrast between moments of pure and impure pattern evidenced in both the all-over composition and in the individual hatchmarks punctuates Johnss ongoing negotiation between control and chance. As such, the work highlights his effort to merge the mechanical with the handmade.
The work was offered during a particularly popular time for Johnss, following the publication of his catalogue raisonné in April 2017 and the comprehensive survey exhibition Jasper Johns: Something Resembling Truth which is now on view at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, following the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition last Fall.
George Condos Rainy Day Butler from 2012 discloses his ability to effortlessly employ line, form, and color to conjure a climate that is simultaneously turbulent and calm. A searing expression of frenzied charcoal lines, lusciously textured neons and delicate washes of gray, the work departs from Condos more carefully planned portrait paintings, and synergizes the traditionally disparate processes of drawing and painting into one fluid gestural expression.
Works by Condo brought strong prices throughout todays auction, with Rescue Scene (estimate $40/60,000) from 1998 achieving $375,000, and Group of Women from 2007 fetching $56,250 (estimate $20/30,000).
Sothebys holds three of the top five prices for works by the artist a new auction record was established for Condo in November 2017 when Compression IV sold for $4,066,600 (estimate $800,000/1.2 million) during the Contemporary Art Day Auction.
Shattering the artists previous auction record, Sam Gilliams Untitled from 1968 achieved $885,000 nearly triple its $300,000 high estimate. The work is a stunning and early example of the artists experimental floor paintings where he employs a beveled-edge stretcher and soak stain technique. The optical dimensionality of the surface of the work mirrors that of its physical shape, which with its beveled edges, projects forward from the wall, transcending the border between painting and sculpture.
Sothebys previously established a new auction record for the artist when it sold Rays for $684,500 (estimate $100/150,000) during the Contemporary Curated auction in September 2017.
CONTEMPORARY ART ONLINE
Sothebys auctions of Contemporary Art continue this week with Contemporary Art Online, open now through 6 March at 12pm EST. The online-only auction presents an intriguing array of paintings, drawings and sculptures from both established names such as Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, John Chamberlain and Tom Wesselmann as well as by previously overlooked talents such as street artist Richard Hambleton and Op-artist Julian Stanczak. The sale offers a range of price points made more attractive by the recent elimination of the Buyer's Premium for Sothebys online-only auctions.