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Monumental work by Aboriginal artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri among the fine art offered at Clars
Estimated at $200,000-300,000, Possum Dreaming (1994) is a richly colorful, yet powerful, acrylic ‘dot’ painting on canvas that was inspired by the ancient Aboriginal mythology known as the Dreaming, or Dreamtime.
OAKLAND, CA.- On Sunday, February 16th, Clars Important Fine Art Auction will be featuring a monumental work by one of Australia’s most collected, as well as renowned, 20th century, Contemporary Aboriginal artist- Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri (1932-2002). His paintings are held in numerous collections, galleries and museums, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Kelton Foundation and the Royal Collection. Estimated at $200,000-300,000, Possum Dreaming (1994) is a richly colorful, yet powerful, acrylic ‘dot’ painting on canvas that was inspired by the ancient Aboriginal mythology known as the Dreaming, or Dreamtime. Born in the Northern Territory of Australia, Clifford Possum developed a vast knowledge of the Dreaming trails that crisscrossed the Western Desert (located north of the western McDonnell Ranges) and it became the basis of his subject matter (‘stories’) for his paintings. The ‘story’ depicted by Clifford Possum in Possum Dreaming emphasizes a visual interpretation through color, patterns and space of a particular animal’s trails (a possum’s) in relation to the earth and the sun to denote specific times of the day. Combined with strong figurative elements over a highly descriptive background of carefully placed ‘dots’, the result is both visually spectacular, as well as mesmerizing. The two, handmade painting sticks used by Clifford Possum to create these 'dots' will be included in this lot. Furthermore, accompanying the painting is a DVD with documented video footage of the artist displaying, describing, as well as, signing and dating the actual painting, Possum Dreaming.A video of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri discussing and signing his painting, “Possum Dreaming,” in 1994.

Highlighting the 20th century, American paintings category is Theodoros Stamos’ (American/Greek, 1922-1997), Petroglyph (1947), an oil on masonite being offered for $30,000-$50,000. Known best as one of the youngest original abstract expressionists, Theodoros Stamos, joined the New York City painting Group in the late 40s when it was first known as the The Irascible Eighteen. Petroglyph is a quintessential example of the artist’s paintings from his time as one of the Irascible Eighteen—the work combines muted earth-toned colors with biomorphic imagery, suggesting geologic shapes and budding organic forms. Stamos was also represented by Betty Parsons at the time where she showed many paintings in this vein from the artists triumphant 1940s period. This piece is destined to be a crowd favorite at Clars’ February sale.

Another offering by an artist who found his fame in New York City as an abstract painter, will be Easy (1957) by Neil Williams (1934-1988). Easy provides a glimpse into Williams’ career as a young artist, as the work was created two years before Williams graduated from the California School of Fine Arts of San Francisco and moved to NYC to find his fame in Minimal and Systemic painting. Easy will be offered with an estimate of $7,000-$9,000. Another painting rooted in the West Coast is a painting on paper by second generation Bay Area Figurative Movement Artist, Joan Brown (1938-1990). The piece, Model in Upstairs Studio H2 (1975), is being offered with an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. This classic example of the artist’s preoccupation with the human figure has never been seen outside of private hands. Tucked away from the public in a private Sacramento collection for all of these years, this work will certainly pique the interest of Bay Area art aficionados near and far.

A haunting painting of the famous Blue Dog by the recently deceased New Orleans artist, George Rodrigue (1944-2013) will be offered with an estimate of $25,000-$35,000. Painted in 1991, The Blue Dog sits atop an unmarked grave, his yellow eyes intensely staring at the viewer, while his eyebrows raise as if surprised to be in such a position—evoking the same surprise and melancholy of the thousands of fans and collectors of Rodrigue’s work upon the news of the artists premature passing. This rare painting, created at the turn of Rodrigues’ career from Louisiana landscapes and commissioned works to only Blue Dogs will find its way to a new collection on February 16th.

Works by Miro, Chagall, and Matisse are expected to gather global appeal in the Fine Art Prints category on February 16th. L'exile vert (1969) by Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983), is a massive color etching and aquatint with carboundum, and at $10,000-$15,000, will make a great addition to any serious 20th century print collection. The Blue Village (Second version) 1974 by Marc Chagall (French/Russian, 1887-1985), is a lithograph in colors on japon paper, depicting the artists native Hasidic community outside Vitebsk. This small and rare edition of one of Chagall’s most important lithographs will easily attain its $15,000-$20,000 estimate. Rounding out the fine art prints section is Le Loup (Plate VI), 1947, by Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), from his famous Jazz Suite. The playful and colorful Le Loup evokes the rhythmic qualities of modern jazz as depicted by one of the greatest colorists to ever live will be offered at $8,000-$12,000.

Important works by California artists will be leading off the sale of Fine Art at Clars. A richly, painted waterfront scene by prominent Society of Six artist, William Henry Clapp (1879-1954) titled, Estuary Home (1937), is estimated at $20,000-30,000. A lovely oil on board by Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) from 1937 (the same year Dixon married Edith Hamlin in Utah) titled, Little Home, will be offered at $20,000-$40,000. Two monumental California mountain landscapes will be highlighted, one of which is Sierras with Blue Sky by Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947) with an estimate $15,000-$25,000. The Sierras were a locale Payne continually admired throughout his career for inspiration (this painting being a prime example). An equally impressive painting of a snowcapped mountain by Jack Wilkinson Smith (1873-1949) titled, Sierra Mountains, will also be offered at $10,000 to $15,000. This rugged landscape painting exemplifies the artist’s recognized ability to depict the great American frontier. Monterey Harbor by Armin Carl Hansen (1886-1957), offered at $10,000-$15,000, epitomizes this artist’s classic subject with his vibrant palette and hues of blue.

Heading back to the East Coast, many classic, late 19th and early 20th century, American paintings will also be featured in the sale. A colorful, yet somber rural farm scene, by New England pastoralist, John Edward Costigan (1888-1972), titled March (1928), will be offered at $10,000-$15,000. A charming, oil on board by master Barbizon painter, Worthington Whittredge (1820-1910), titled, Path through the Woods, is expected to fetch $7,000-$9,000. A dramatic sporting scene by Massachusett’s artist, Alexander Pope Jr. (1849-1924), titled Hunting Dog with Rabbit will also be offered at $7000-9000. Lastly, a beautiful, Impressionist dock scene painting by Guy Carleton Wiggins (1883-1961) titled, Stony Lyme, Connecticut, is estimated at $6,000-$8,000. All these aforementioned paintings are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in regards to the numerous, spectacular works featured at Clars Important February 16th Auction.

European paintings and sculpture, some that have lasted several centuries, will add to the impressive mix of fine art offerings at Clars. Topping off the list is a rare, 17th century painting by Dutch painter, Jan Albertsz Rootius (1615-1674) titled, Portrait of a Young Boy (1666), which is offered at $20,000-40,000. One of the most impressive, bronzes to be offered at Clars is one after Pierre Lepautre (French, 1660-1744) titled, Aeneas Carrying His Father Anchises, with an estimate of $15,000-20,000. Standing at 41 inches in height, this dramatic sculpture depicts the moment that Aeneas carried his father, the elderly Anchises, and his son Ascancius from Troy after the city had been taken by the Greeks. In the 19th century paintings category, a spectacular example (with impeccable provenance) by German artist, Adolf Schreyer (1828-1899) titled, The Imperial Courier, will be offered at $10,000-20,000. For those interested in a delicate floral depiction, Still Life with Lilacs in a Vase by Gustave Emile Couder (French, 1845-1903) will be available for an estimated $6,000-8,000.

Lastly, Post War sculpture will be yet another Fine Art category of focus at Clars. Two geometric wood sculptures will be offered by the important Brazilian sculptor, Amilcar de Castro (1920-2002). They are estimated to achieve $10,000 to $15,000 each. While the artist worked primarily in metals, these sculptures give us an opportunity to understand the artist’s later interest in the juxtaposition of geometric lines with natural materials. From the Collection of David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg (Chicago, IL), an iconic sculpture will be featured by the French painter and sculptor, François Morellet (b. 1926) - a key artist in the development of geometric abstraction during the 1950s and 60s and one of the founding members of Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV). Offered at $8,000 to $12,000, Sphère-Trame (1962), captures Morellet’s conceptual belief that a work of art refers only to itself and that the physical constraints of geometry can lead to the creative development of a timeless structure. Lastly and also from the Ruttenberg Collection, a significant assemblage work by the Belgian/French artist, Pol Bury (1922-2005), titled, Guitare (1968), and will be presented at $8,000 to $12,000. Guitare bridges Bury’s early ties to Surrealism and CoBrA with his mature interest in Geometric Abstraction. Namely, the rectangular framework and vertical strings speak to the formalism of Geometric Abstraction, and the element of spontaneous experimental sounds—generated by the motorized plucking of guitar strings—connects the work to the language of Surrealism and CoBrA aesthetics. Together these three highlights indicate that Clars’ February 16th sale is an exciting opportunity to acquire Post War era sculpture that will surely have historical importance in the art world for years to come.

Clars’ Sunday, February 16, 2014 Fine Art Auction will be held in conjunction with their Antiques and Estate Auction which will also feature significant offerings in Decorative Arts and Furnishings, Estate and Fine Jewelry and Asian Art and Antiques. The sale will begin promptly at 9:30am. Previews for this sale will be held Friday, February 14th from 1pm to 6pm and 9am each auction day and by appointment. A complete catalog will be available online one week prior to the sale.



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Monumental work by Aboriginal artist Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri among the fine art offered at Clars

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