Untitled (Blue-Purple Painting), 1952, Ad Reinhardt's minimalist masterwork, is expected to bring $1 million as part of a 370-lot Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction May 31 at Heritage
. Works by giants ranging from Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg and sculpture by Fernando Botero, Joan Miró and François-Xavier Lalanne, among others, will be offered in Dallas and online at HA.com.
The auction is the first for the venue in 2014 and comes on the heels of Heritage's April 23 $1.2 million 20th & 21st Century Design Auction and the firm's nearly $4 million sales of Modern & Contemporary Art in November 2013.
"The Reinhardt has a wonderful provenance and represents the fresh-to-market character of this auction," said Frank Hettig, Director of Modern & Contemporary Art. "Like most works offered, the iconic work has remained with the same family of collectors for generations."
Known for his geometric paintings, Reinhardt's Untitled (Blue-Purple Painting), 1952, is an excellent example from the artist's celebrated monochrome abstractions. The work is a model combination of varying hues and a masterwork by the pioneer of conceptual and minimal art. It was acquired by the late Ethel Epstein, an art collector and a founder of the New York Studio School and the Washington D.C. Gallery of Modern Art. Epstein's husband, Henry, served as a New York State Supreme Court Justice while Mrs. Epstein served as the labor secretary under New York mayor LaGuardia.
Additional highlights include two paintings by Sam Francis, Untitled, 1988, an expressive use of color and a signature example of the artist's vibrant abstract work of his later years (est. $300,000+), and Bright Saddle, 1985, (est. $150,000+). The Umbrellas (Project for Japan and USA), 1987, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude (est. $120,000+) is one of six works by the American artist on offer. Andy Warhol is well represented with $ (9), 1982 (est. $80,000+), 25 Cats Name(d) Sam and One Blue Pussy, circa 1954 (est. $40,000+), Life Savers (from the Ads series), 1985 (est. $30,000+), and Flowers, 1964 (est. $10,000+).
The auction also features 17 works by Robert Rauschenberg, spanning 30 years of his career, including Rush I (from the Cloister series), 1980 (est. $200,000+) and Apple Run (Shiner), 1988 (est. $150,000+) from the peak of his rich body of work produced in the 1980s to his pop-culture-infused screenprints such as L.A. Uncovered #3, 1998 (est. 10,000+).
Leading the selection of Latin American artists is Fernando Botero's Hand with Cigarette, 1981, (est. $180,000+) and three works from Gunther Gerzso to include Rojo-Azul-Naranja, 1973 (est. $25,000+); Calle de Tequisquipan, 1961 (est. $15,000+); and Untitled, bronze, (est. $8,000+).
A selection of sculpture includes three works by François-Xavier Lalanne, Bélier (Ram) (from Les Nouveaux Moutons), 1994, (est. $50,000+) and editions of Mouton transhumant, 1987, (est. $50,000+ each) as well as Le Pèlerin (The Pilgrim), 1972, a bronze by Joan Miró (est. $70,000+) and Machine Guns, 1973, (est. $40,000+) by Arman.
Highlights from the Estate of Ray Frost Fleming, a Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate, notable studio artist, and owner of the Robert Kidd Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan, include contemporary works from Larry Rivers, such as The Young Archer, 1995, (est. $25,000+) and Moses, 1978, a mud, reeds and steel sculpture by Deborah Butterfield (est. $25,000+).
Works on paper by Italian artist and composer Giacomo Balla range from Compenetrazione Bis, 1913, (est. $25,000+) to Study for the Line of Velocity No. 2 (double-sided), circa 1913 (est. $7,000+).
Additional highlights include, but are not limited by:
Feed Folks, 1974, by David Hammons (est. $120,000+).
Savarin, 1977, by Jasper Johns (est. $100,000+).
Collage with Stick Figures-Journal au profil, 1964, by Pablo Picasso (est. $50,000+).
Parking Lots, (the complete set, group of 30), 1967/1999, by Ed Ruscha (est. $50,000+).
Easter Realness #1, 2003, by Kehinde Wiley (est. $40,000+).