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Exceptional Contemporary African American Art on Sale at Christie's Open House
Robert Rauschenberg, Guide (Rigs). Estimate: $60,000-80,000. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2008

NEW YORK.- Christie's June 30 Open House sale features an exciting assortment of Post-War and Contemporary art works to match both new and established collectors’ tastes and budgets. Leading the sale are two exceptional collections of African American paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture. Works by modern masters such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis will be featured along side the next generation of creative minds including Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon and Michael Charles Ray. In addition to these offerings the sale features works by Robert Rauschenberg, Susan Rothenberg, Massimo Vitali and many more. With a total sale estimate of $2.8-4 million for 266 lots – the largest and most valuable to date – this June’s Open House sale is likely to build on the success established by the Post-War and Contemporary sales earlier this spring.

The catalogue opens with a selection of works from the Collection of Peggy Cooper Cafritz of Washington D.C. A staunch supporter of the arts and longtime patron of African American artists, Ms. Cafritz began collecting whilst studying in college and has today amassed a collection of critical importance, which reflects her unique vision and connoisseurship of the pioneers of the African American arts movement. Highlights include Carrie Mae Weem’s You Became a Scientific Profile/An Anthropological Debate/A Negro Type/& A Photographic Subject (estimate: $20,000-30,000), Glen Ligon’s Malcolm X (estimate: $20,000-30,000), Robert Colescott’s Yo Sign, Yo Yard?, Yo Marriage (estimate: $25,000-35,000) and Barkley Hendricks’s, Big Guy (Three Game Series) (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

The catalogue will also feature Property from the private Collection of Alitash Kebede. A native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Alitash began an appreciation for photography in her youth, through her exposure to LIFE magazine. Determined to establish a meaningful exchange between African and American artists, she represented them in her Los Angeles gallery and has collected modern African American artists such as Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson and Norman Lewis. Sale highlights include the catalogue’s cover lot, Jacob Lawrence’s Flight #1 (estimate: $120,000-150,000), Romare Bearden’s Wednesday Evening (estimate: $40,000-50,000), as well as Bob Thompson’s Study for Ascension to the Heavens (estimate: $30,000-50,000) and Alma Thomas’s, Garden (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

Among the highlights is a work by Robert Rauschenberg that has never been shown publicly, Guide (Rigs) (estimate: $60,000-80,000), and works by artists Susan Rothenberg, Pillow (estimate: $50,000-70,000), David Smith, ΔΣ 2/5/55 (estimate: $40,000-60,000), and Thomas Scheibitz, Untitled (estimate $4,000-6,000). In addition, the sale includes a fine selection of Abstract Expressionist works by Willem de Kooning, Milton Resnick, Arshile Gorky, Norman Bluhm and Michael Goldberg.

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