Igor Spivak In the Store 1991, 2003, Ilya Kabakov's acclaimed painting exhibited in the United States and Russia leads an important group of Russian works in Heritage Auctions
' May 23 Modern & Contemporary Art auction. Harking back to 1991, the year the USSR dissolved, and two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Igor Spivak's fragmentary imagery in a faded pink hue suggests a faded red, representing the fall of communism and Russian dominance. The Kabakov comes to auction from a private collection in California along with a group of Russian works by Oleg Tselkov, the artist duo Komar & Melamid and others.
In addition to the Russian Art, the diverse auction features artwork from home and abroad. The sale starts with an important project by American artist Alexander Calder. In 1972-1975 Calder collaborated with Braniff International Airlines on a project to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. Pitched as the "world's largest flying artwork," Calder painted three aircraft (a Douglas DC-8 model and two 727-200's), creating an abstract rendition of the Old Glory. Preparatory sketches, as well as painted maquette model-planes, are on offer, as well as a gouache called Flying Colors that was used as the cover page for the project. The most notable lot of this selection is the Preliminary Drawing for "Beastie," which later became the engine cowling.
Vice President of Modern and Contemporary Art Frank Hettig is especially pleased to feature this selection of Calder works, "Both Brainiff Airlines and Heritage Auctions are Dallas-based companies," Hettig said. "Although Calder certainly draws international attention, Heritage is well-suited to handle this particular collection with a local connection. We hope our local Dallas clients will bring us a few more competitive bids."
The sale also includes a key work by American artist Robert Rauschenberg. Treasure (from the Shales series), 1994, (est. $80,000-120,000) exemplifies Rauschenberg's collage technique, bringing everyday imagery into his work in order to, as he famously puts it, use art from the real world to "operate in the gap between art and life."
Another lot of special interest is a mixed media piece, Stone with Easel, by Mary Bauermeister. This special work dates to 1969-70 and is comprised of stones, wooden objects, casein tempera, glue (and a child's shoe) on particleboard coated with sand. The work has impeccable provenance, Hettig said. John Wayne Enterprise consigned the artwork.
Two very large works by California artist Charles Arnoldi include Tight Lips, 2010 (est. $20,000-30,000) and Ballast, 2007 (est. $15,000-25,000).
"Watch closely," Hettig said, "as we may achieve a world auction record for Arnoldi with Tight Lips. It's a beautiful work."
The May 23 Modern & Contemporary Art Auction is live in Beverly Hills, California, and online on HA.com. Additional upcoming fine art auctions at Heritage include Texas Art, May 18, Fine & Decorative Arts, June 7-8 and European Art, June 7.