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Legends of appropriation art to be featured at Bonhams' Post-War & Contemporary Auction
George Condo, Green on Green Collage Painting, 2000 © 2014 George Condo / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Major works by Thomas Struth, Dennis Hopper, George Condo, Andy Warhol and a curated section of appropriation art will be featured in the auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art at Bonhams, on November 11 in New York. Leading the sale are two masterpiece photographs by renowned German contemporary photographer, Thomas Struth. Offered on behalf of a Southern California private collection, Iglesia de San Francisco, Lima, Peru, 2003 and Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora, Ouro Preto, 2004, each carrying pre-sale estimates of $500,000 – 800,000 are the auction’s top lots. Struth, having built much of his artistic practice by photographing places of worship and museum spaces, captures these monumental interiors with stunning detail. The artist’s depiction of New World cathedrals in Brazil and Peru are exemplary of how through Struth’s frame, the church transforms into an entanglement of temporal and geographic distinctions. When examined with a post-colonial theoretical mindset, these South American sites exist as remnants of the colonization of the Americas, marking these sacred spaces with a complex sense of cultural hybridity.

George Condo’s Green On Green Collage Painting, 2000, estimated at $300,000 – 500,000 is a seminal work by the prominent New York based contemporary painter. Executed in acrylic, oil, ink, graphite, charcoal, collage and crayon, the work not only readily embodies appropriation, portraiture and repurposing through its imagery and composition, but more importantly, reflects the entirety of Condo’s career—incorporating imagery from each period of his illustrious practice—and in turn, re-appropriates his own work. Condo is responsible for reinventing figurative painting at a time when the genre was long thought dead, and is also credited for paving the way for future generations to explore the notion of contemporary portraiture. The New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith once wrote, “Mr. Condo makes things that look like paintings that have the presence, completeness, and frontal tautness of paintings, yet in some essential way they are not so much paintings as artifacts, signs of another time and place.” This thought, although expressed over a decade before Green on Green Collage Painting was executed, could not be more fitting when considering the importance of this work.

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Box (Onion Mushroom), 1986 (est. $300,000 - 500,000), represents the culmination of a lifetime of work and an important retelling of the evolution of appropriation, consumerism and commodity. The work is a unique amalgamation of two of Warhol’s iconic pieces- the Campbell’s Soup Can and the Brillo Box. Executed a year prior to his death, the boxed soup transcends the picture plane in a way that the can could not, where Warhol seemingly reformats Campbell’s imagery onto the space-invading Brillo Box.

Dennis Hopper’s oil, Roy Lichtenstein In His Studio, 1964, 2000, (est. $130,000 - 180,000) represents the imagery and theme that Hopper as an artist became most known for re-picturing fellow artists. Hopper’s entire output from the 1960s through to the 21st century were notably photographs, and in returning to painting in the 2000s, his artistic practice is reflective of Warhol’s transformation of mass produced print media to fine art, beginning with transforming his own photographs to large scale paintings resembling billboards in terms of scale and impact.

Also on offer is a large, patterned and instantly recognizable work by Christopher Wool. An enamel on paper work, Untitled, 1991 (est. $200,000 – 300,000), exemplifies the artist’s experimentation with decorative paint rollers, where the roller, a product of the mechanized, modern world, creates a patterned style that is emblematic of a time when decorative arts were crafted by hand, yet, here can be made en masse. Wool’s use of stamps and rollers coupled with enamel paint results in a hybridized readymade, embodying a distinctive Duchampian element.

On the heels of the major retrospective of the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, Bonhams is pleased to offer a superb and iconic example of the artist’s sculptural practice. Horus, 1990, comes from a California private collection and carries a pre-sale estimate of $300,000 - 500,000.

From the estate of Howard and Barbara Wise comes the beautifully expressive work by Hans Hoffmann entitled Figur, 1945 (est. $120,000 - $180,000). Hofmann was known as a prominent action painter whose energetic smudges of color and quick black lines lend the work a very raw and physical presence. The lines in Figur reflect Hofmann’s exploration of pictorial construction- noting the value he places on line, color, and depth, which stayed with him throughout the varied stages of his career. Figur is not only a striking example of Hofmann’s brilliance, but also a marker for potentially the biggest turning point in the artist’s career.

“This season’s offering of Contemporary Art at Bonhams reflects the ever growing demand for high quality works that are fresh to the market from both post-war and contemporary artists alike. We are particularly honored to be presenting four works from the estate of the renowned dealer and collectors Howard & Barbara Wise who championed the works of pioneering artists such as Hans Hofmann and Edward Dugmore in the 1950s and 1960s,” says Jeremy Goldsmith, Director of the Americas for Contemporary Art at Bonhams.

All artworks will be on preview from November 8 to 11 in Bonhams’ New York galleries.

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