LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams & Butterfields
' Made in California auction on May 24, 2011 was especially strong, signaling that the market for California art continues to be robust. Telephone bidders from around the globe vied for works by the Golden State's leading modern and contemporary artists. The sale, which was simulcast from Los Angeles to San Francisco, brought more than $2.3 million, including a stellar result for Milkshake & Sandwiches by legendary artist Wayne Thiebaud. It also established several world record prices for works by Carlos Almaráz, Karl Stanley Benjamin, Hans Gustav Burkhardt and Jay DeFeo.
The May sale featured an especially important selection of Bay Area art, including Milkshake & Sandwiches by Thiebaud, who was one of the earliest artists to depict everyday objects in a Pop Art manner. In keeping with the artist's signature style, Thiebaud painted Milkshake & Sandwiches with expressive brushstrokes and thick impasto. Estimated to bring $600,000- 800,000, this highly sought after work sold for $1,072,400 during the auction.
As Holly Sherratt, Director, Made in California at Bonhams & Butterfields said, "Thiebaud's sweets delight everyone. When we hung the painting in our Los Angeles office we had to put up stanchions. The allure of the impasto was so compelling, people couldn't stay back. I thought someone might try to lick the painting. There's a whole lot of goodness in that small painting. Only Thiebaud can make an ordinary lunch look like a million dollars."
The sale also included important works that are rarely seen at auction, including a large abstract oil by Jay DeFeo titled Trial by Fire, 1983. Estimated to bring $80,000-120,000, the painting sold for $218,000 and established a new world auction record for the artist.
Other sale highlights included Green Chair, 1976, by John Register (est. $35,000-45,000, sold for $54,900); River Trees, 1999, by Gregory Kondos (est. $15,000-20,000, sold for $51,240); Bouquet, 1957, by Karl Stanley Benjamin (est. $8,000-12,000, sold for $42,700) and Untitled, c. 1958-59, by John Altoon (est. $10,000-15,000, sold for $30,500).