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Fresh-to-market property from private collections anchors Freeman's Modern & Contemporary Art auction
One of the prominent highlights is a painting by Sam Francis entitled “Red and Blue” (Lot 61).

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- On Wednesday, May 8, Freeman’s will hold its Modern and Contemporary Art auction, consisting of 145 lots and featuring exciting and fresh-to-market property from numerous private collections. The sale will include paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and ceramics, amongst other media by famed artists such as Pablo Picasso, Zao Wou-Ki, Sybil Andrews, George Rickey, Alexander Calder, Sam Francis, Bo Bartlett, and Andy Warhol.

One of the prominent highlights is a painting by Sam Francis entitled “Red and Blue” (Lot 61). The piece hails from a private collection of which it has been a part for the past 35 years. Previously, it had been a part of famed collection of Leigh Block, former chairman of the board at the Art Institute of Chicago. “Red and Blue” was executed between 1958 and 1959 and is an important example from a seminal period of the artist’s career. It was included in major exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Sidney Janis Gallery and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Another notable highlight from the sale is “Ciel de Paris” by Zao Wou-Ki (Lot 12), which is an excellent example of the work that Zao created during his early years in the French capital. Rendered in ink and watercolor on paper, this intimate drawing displays the delicate brushwork and sensitive hand so admired in the artist's very best drawings. Freeman's is delighted to bring to auction this fine drawing, which has been in the same family collection for nearly fifty years.

A group of significant works by noteworthy Modern British artists such as John Wells, John Piper, and Keith Vaughan will also be presented in the auction (Lots 36 through 41) The works have descended from the Collection of George Dix, who acquired them directly from the artists. The Vaughan is a particularly fine work, emblematic of the artist’s best known style and subject. The human figure – and especially the male nude – is the iconic and enduring thread woven throughout the fabric of his career. “Departure”, painted in 1965 – an important year in his output of gouaches - is an excellent example of Vaughan’s exploration of this subject.

An additional, important group of works to be auctioned descends from the Collection of David and Ruth Eisenberg. Over a period of 50 years, David and Ruth Eisenberg collected prints primarily by North American artists, including fine examples by Martin Lewis (Lots 15 & 16), Louis Lozowick (Lot 17) and Gustave Bauman (Lot 26). Most notable from their collection is “Speedway” by Grosvenor School artist Sybil Andrews (Lot 22). “Speedway” was originally conceived as a poster commission for the London Passenger Transport Board in the 1930s, and is often pointed to as the most iconic image of the Grosvenor School era, even being selected as the cover for Stephen Coppel’s Linocuts of the Machine Age.

As the nation’s oldest auction house, Freeman’s celebrates its strong connections to Philadelphia. This sale will feature several works with significant ties to its home city, including a gouache by Alexander Calder (Lot 75) that was originally a preparatory work for the banners that Philadelphia developer, Jack Wolgin, commissioned in 1975 for the Centre Square Building. Moreover, the auction will showcase Andy Warhol’s “Grace Kelly” (Lot 108). The print was published for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia in 1984, and was acquired directly from the ICA by the present owner. Relevant to Philadelphia both by its publisher and by subject matter, the print is a beautiful rendering of the princess whose childhood home is also in Freeman’s beloved city.

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