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Important Morris Louis and Sean Scully works highlight Modern & Contemporary Art auction in New York
Morris Louis (1912-1962), Blue Pilaster II, 1960. Acrylic resin (Magna) on canvas, 83 x 23-1/2 inches. Estimate: $300,000 - $500,000.


NEW YORK, NY.- Fresh to market consignments of works by Morris Louis and Sean Scully, and a rare collection of works on paper by Fernand Léger and George Grosz headline Heritage Auctions' two-session Modern & Contemporary Art Auction Nov. 11 in New York. The auction's morning and afternoon sessions span paintings, works on paper, sculpture and three important single-owner collection of Post War Contemporary Art.

"We've spent the season consulting with single-owner collections and the amount of fresh-to-market discoveries we're offering is truly impressive," said Frank Hettig, Director of Modern & Contemporary Art at Heritage Auctions. "It is a career highlight to bring personal, family-owned items from three different yet equally impressive, collections to market."

Morning Session
Starting at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, the electrifying morning session will offer Blue Pilaster II – Morris Louis' 1960 masterwork of Color Field painting (est. $300,000-$500,000). The painting is a breathtaking example of Louis' best known style that exists at the nexus of gestural and rough Abstract Expressionism with the forthcoming ideas of object hood in Minimalism; Blue Pilaster II also exists as an outsider from Louis' three main series of Veils, Unfurleds, and Stripes. In fact, only a handful of other works are known with this specific singular columnar theme, and compliments a work in the permanent collection of the Phillips Collection in Washington DC.

Being offered is an important group of family owned works on paper by Fernand Léger and George Grosz, never seen at market before, including Untitled (Three Women), a gouache and pencil on paper (est. $70,000-$90,000) and La Danse, a watercolor and pencil on paper (est. $10,000-$15,000); and George Grosz include Street Scene, Downtown Manhattan, 1933 (est. $30,000-$40,000), and Draped Dummy, 1936 (est. $10,000-$15,000).

Also on consignment is Conjunction XVII, 1971 (est. $70,000-$90,000), by Lynn Chadwick. The work was featured in the artist's complete illustrated catalog and has remained in a private San Francisco, California, collection since its creation.

Afternoon Session
Beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, the afternoon session features a fine selection of Post War Modern & Contemporary Art, such as Sean Scully's Barcelona, 1999, which makes its auction debut at Heritage from a private collection (est. $200,000-$300,000). In the 1990's, Scully created a series of compositions known as the Barcelona paintings, where he developed a close relationship with the city that he built his studio in. The present example, Barcelona (1999) epitomizes Scully's technique of the grid and checkerboard pattern. The figure-ground relationship is now reduced to squares, condensed to a simplicity of form.

Two monumental photographs by Richard Price include Untitled (Fayy), from the Entertainers series, 1982 and Untitled (Tamara), from the Entertainers series, 1982, (each est. $100,000-$150,000). Each measures 98 x 50-1/2 inches overall.

An important, single-owner Post War collection features iconic examples by the most respected names in the genre: Reflexión No. 75, 1961, by Luis R. Tomasello (est. $80,000-$100,000); Josef Albers' Untitled, 1972 (est. $6,000-$8,000); and Sound Sculpture, 1972-1978, by Henry Bertoia (est. $40,000-$60,000). The private collection continues as the dream-like Bird Painting for Bid for Life, 1995, by Ross Bleckner crosses the block (est. $40,000-$60,000) as does Victory by Default, 2005, by Donald Baechler (est. $60,000-$80,000).

After setting an artist world record for artwork by Andy Warhol, Heritage is offering three important works in the afternoon session from private New York collection. Dollar Sign ($) (Orange and Red), 1982 (est. $100,000-$150,000); Caroline Law (Mrs. Theodore), 1975, (est. $80,000-$120,000), and Poinsettias, circa 1983 (est. $8,0000$12,000).

Heritage Auctions' Modern & Contemporary Art Auction takes place across two sessions Nov. 11 in New York.





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