NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
First Open Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in July will offer an exciting selection of approximately 300 works. The sale will feature the same stunning array of works seen in the recent May auctions, but with price points that are accessible to a wide range of collectors. The sale features many notable lots that come from prestigious single-owner collections: Edwin A. & Lindy Bergman from Chicago, Frances R. Dittmer from Aspen, Phillip Schrager from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Estate of Dennis Hopper from California. Also featured are exciting contemporary works at affordable price points by most collectible new artists as well as blue chip artists: Parker Ito, Yayoi Kusama, Keith Haring, Agnes Martin, Carl Andre, Sol Lewitt, Sigmar Polke and Robert Rauschenberg. The sale will give both new and seasoned buyers an opportunity to diversify their collections and to follow in the footsteps of individuals whose extraordinary eye for quality anticipated many artists rise to fame. Almost half of the works will be offered at a starting estimate of $5,000 and under, and several works will be offered without reserve. The sale is the perfect opportunity to discover emerging artists and explore lesser-known works by established artists. All works will be exhibited before the auction at Christies Rockefeller Center Galleries from July 19-23.
Within the July auction, there will be six highlights from Forms in Color a standalone themed sale taking place a day after First Open. Works from this group include an important work on paper by Yayoi Kusama from the 1950s, as well as paintings by recent Whitney Biennial participants Dan Walsh and Jacqueline Humphries.
Coinciding with the first comprehensive retrospective at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art, Christies is glad to offer a rare diptych by Sigmar Polke. The German artist constantly defied aesthetic boundaries in his work, extending the visual vocabularies of painting, photography, and printmaking through a mercurial working process. His investigations into the effects that can be achieved by embracing a vast range of materials, pictorial sources, and art practices have been highly influential to successive generations of artists. Untitled from 1973 (estimate: $ 50,000-70,000), dates from a period of great social, political, and artistic unrest, as well as widespread experimentation with countercultural lifestyles and hallucinogenic drugs.
Parker Itos The Agony and the Ecstasy, (estimate: $ 20,000-30,000), references Irving Stones biographical novel of the same name about the Renaissance master Michelangelo. Works from The Agony and the Ecstasy series created in 2012 explore the disparity between viewership mediated through a screen and that which occurs in the confines of a gallery. Parker Itos paintings and sculptures resist traditional documentation, turning into indistinguishable flashes of light that obscure the subtle details of each painted surface, when photographed. The surface of the work, which is made of reflective 3M Scotchlite, shifts endlessly based on a viewers vantage point (either within the gallery or searching the internet for images of the work), making the experience of seeing The Agony and the Ecstasy from only one perspective both unique and incomplete.
Robert Rauschenberg began to silkscreen paintings in 1962. Continental Splash (Urban Bourbon Series) (estimate: $350,000-550,000) created in 1989 serves as an excellent example of the evolution of this process, in which the artist focused on transferring images onto a variety of reflective metals, such as steel and aluminum.
The Bergman Collection
On the heels of the successful sale of a a portion of the Bergman Collection last May, which totaled $73.5 million and realized six world auction records for artists including Lucas Samara, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, George Segal , Jim Nutt and Ed Paschke, First Open will offer fifty-nine works of art from this collection.
Several works from Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson and Ed Paschke, will be offered in the First Open sale. All of these artists where Chicago Imagists, a term that describes a number of groups made up of artists that attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) from the late 1950s through the 60s and 70s. The style of the Chicago Imagists is broadly characterized by representational work influenced by Surrealism and Art Brut. Many Chicago Imagists also drew on references outside of fine art, such as comics, cartoons, and popular culture. Jim Nutts Why? How is it Done? ,(estimate: $6,000-8,000) is an excellent example of the vibrant visual vocabulary that epitomized the diverse artistic practices and styles of the Chicago Imagists. Jim Nutt was a member of Hairy Who, one of the most visible movements associated with the Chicago Imagists in the 1960s and 1970s. His graphic, vividly sexual, and psychological work was influenced by African and American Indian art, Surrealism, Expressionism, and the illustration of comic books. Nutt and his peers forged a unique style that was consciously separate from New York centered Pop and Minimalism that were the reigning art movements of the day.
The Bergmans were very close to Marisol, the French sculptor of Venezuelan descent. After studying painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1949) and then at the Art Students League (1950) and the Hans Hofmann School (195154) in New York, she developed an interest in Mexican, Pre-Columbian and American folk art and turned her attention to sculpture. In her early work she fashioned small, animated figurines out of bronze, terracotta and wood, often placing these pieces in compartmentalized, glass-fronted boxes, such as the famous Printers Box from the Bergmans which was sold last May. In 1961 she began to incorporate drawing, painting, and objets trouvés into complex, life-size arrangements that would become her signature style. The First Open sale includes eight works by the artist, which display the variety of media that she worked in, including Untitled (White Box), an assemblage box construction from 1961 (Estimate: $8,000-12,000), a vibrant work on paper titled The Family, from 1957, (estimate: $4,000-6,000), and a small bronze work Untitled (People with Umbrellas) from 1965 (estimate: $3,000-$5,000). The artist will be having a retrospective at El Museo del Bario, New York this coming October.
Edwin and Lindy Bergman fostered close relationships with many artists, including William Nelson Copley and Matta, who introduced the collectors to many Surrealist artists. Works by both these artists and Surrealist Wilfredo Lam will be included in the sale.
Works by Ron Arneson, William Wiley and Robert Hudson will also be included in the sale. Considered California Funk Artists, these artists were based in California in the 1960s and evolved in parallel with the antiestablishment Beatnik lifestyle developing in San Francisco. Their work offers a unique fantastical imagery that compliments the surrealist focus of the collection.