For the first time, on 28th February 2017, the Artcurial
Urban Art department is presenting a sale entirely dedicated to the dispersion of a private collection. Entitled « Urban Anthology », this set of 23 works offers a prospective of the most iconic urban artists from the last decades. From historical graffiti from the 1990s by the American Rammellzee to a Pablo Picasso-inspired Banksy, a monumental two-meters high Companion by Kaws, these major urban art pieces are the reflection of the conviction and audacity animated by the choices of this collector.
In order to magnify the precursory spirit of the collector who gathered these works together, Artcurial wished to stage the collection in a place symbolizing creation. The pieces were photographed at the National Dance Centre in Pantin, a concrete building dating from the 1970s, when graffiti art appeared in New York. They blend seamlessly with the venues singular architecture, revealing themselves throughout the visit.
« We wanted to put forward the diverging aesthetics of the set as the common thread, in a particular universe, namely the National Dance Centre. This is not "street art", it is primarily an aesthetic: pop, underground, challenging. » --Arnaud Oliveux, Auctioneer, Urban Art department, Artcurial
« A major piece in urban art is one that is a prolongation of pop art, one which pushes you to redefine your daily urban environment, intrigues with a detail, a colour, a proportion. » --Fabien Naudan, Vice-president, Artcurial
An urban art anthology
Named « Urban Anthology from a private collector », this private collection gathers together the most iconic urban art artists, brought together by a passionate collector. An Urban Art and Contemporary Art enthusiast, he met with the most celebrated members of the movement, purchasing the very best pieces found on the market. These major works document the various stages of urban art.
Within the collection, three pieces by the American Rammellzee on canvas, wood and Plexiglas illustrate historical graffiti from the 1990s. The oldest one, named Tughnote Trixter Bolt from 4 Assassin, dates from 1985 (estimate: 20,000 30,000/ $22,000 $33,000). Modern urban scenes are represented by essential figures, including Americans, such as Shepard Fairey. Six of his famous stencils appear in the collection, such as the large scale OBEY Eye estimated 35,000 45,000 / $38,500 $49,500, and Your Eyes Here (estimate: 30,000 50,000 / and $33,000 $55,000). A one of a kind Kaws piece is also up for auction: a monumental version of the famous Companion (Original Fake). More than two meters in height, it is the first time a figure of this size is sold at auction in the world (estimate: 150,000 250,000 / $165,000 $275,000).
The art of deflection
The coherence of the set? The art of deflection. The 23 pieces in this collection intrigue and lead us to wonder. Behind their apparent aesthetic simplicity, they deliver a more complex message, often a criticism of society by the artist.
A diversion symbolized by the marble and wood stele entitled Picasso Quote engraved with the Pablo Picasso quotation: "Bad artists imitate, great artists steal", on which Banksy scratches out the Catalan painters signature, etching his own below (estimate : 100,000 - 200,000 / $110,000 - $220,000). With Rodeo Girl, the British artist tackles two icons of the popular American culture: the rodeo and the pin-up by presenting this toothless and overlapping a bomb of painting, irreverent symbol of the Art contestant (estimate: 200,000 - 300,000 / $220,000 - $330,000).
This art of diversion is also found in the works of Stephen Sprouse Orange, Rose and Speaker Stack (estimate: 5 000 - 7 000 / $ 5 500 - $ 7 700). This "Warhol child," whose style is permeated with irreverent punk and pop, mixed fashion and art by reinventing the Louis Vuitton monogram, in 2000s.
Among the dissident artists in this collection, Barry McGee is to be noted, a well-known figure State side for his sharp criticism of advertising and consumer society with Untitled, a four-meters wide work composed of 76 elements.
Chris Johanson, Kenny Sharf, Ryan McGinness and Jules de Balincourt also figure in the collection.