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Phillips announces highlights from the Evening and Day Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art
Agnes Martin, Untitled #1 1985. Estimate: $4-6 million. Image courtesy of Phillips.

NEW YORK, NY.- Phillips announces highlights from the Evening and Day Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. The Day Sale will take place on Wednesday, 17 May, followed by the Evening Sale on Thursday, 18 May. Comprised of 40 lots, the Evening Sale is expected to realize in excess of $107 million and will offer works by Peter Doig, Gerhard Richter, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning. The Day Sale, offering 185 lots, is estimated to achieve over $15 million, the highest pre-sale estimate for a Phillips Day Sale to date. The sale will include important artworks by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Donald Judd, and Louise Bourgeois, among others.

Jean-Paul Engelen, Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said, “Our May sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art mark one of the most significant and comprehensive offerings that Phillips has ever assembled. Our new team is in place and collectors have responded enthusiastically, entrusting us with fresh-to-the-market works.” Robert Manley, Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, added, “We are delighted to offer artworks with exceptional provenance, from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation to the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat alongside those from several other prominent private collections. We have seen a great deal of momentum at Phillips in these last few months and we are confident that this season will demonstrate both the strength of the market and Phillips’ place within it.”

The Evening Sale | 18 May 2017, 5pm
Leading the Evening Sale is Peter Doig’s Rosedale, which dates from a pivotal moment the artist’s career. Painted in 1991, the work was created for his celebrated solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, after he had won the prestigious Whitechapel Artist Prize that year. The large-scale painting stands nearly seven feet tall by eight feet wide, depicting a Toronto home through a tapestry of snow and tree branches. Expected to realize in excess of $25 million, the work has never been publicly offered and is poised to set a new auction record for a living British artist.

is a magnificent example of an artist at the height of his career. This monumental painting is from Richter’s unparalleled opus of abstraction - one that reached its pinnacle during the period the present work was created. Executed in 1994 – following Richter’s breakthrough exhibition at the Tate Gallery and major touring retrospective two years prior – Abstraktes Bild (811 - 1) was notably exhibited the following year in Gerhard Richter: Painting in the Nineties at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, an acclaimed show debuting works that now reside in major museum collections across the globe. This work was created during the year that gave rise to some of Richter’s most powerful, monumental abstract pictures, standing as a definitive example of the artist’s hallmark squeegee technique, which found its purest articulation between 1989 and 1994.

Agnes Martin’s Untitled #1 from 1985 is a stunning example of her aesthetic of this time. Abandoning her earlier gridded canvases in favor of uninterrupted vertical and horizontal bands, Martin began executing works embodying an ethereal, evanescent beauty in varying shades of gray. Executed in her standard format (for this time period) of a 72 by 72 inch square – a size which Martin specifically chose for its particularly human scale – the present lot wonderfully exemplifies her process of mixing acrylic with gesso, lending her work a matte tonality and adds a particular luminescence to the painting. Untitled #1 is a testament to Martin’s reputation as a master of paring down the forms within their art to their most reductive elements in order to encourage a perception of perfection and to emphasize a sense of transcendent reality.

Damien Hirst’s The Void is the largest of his Pill Cabinets ever to come to auction and one of the first he ever created. This particular example is the first from the series to be shown by Hirst in a commercial exhibition – his seminal and celebrated Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings show at the Gagosian Gallery in New York – and it is the first Pill Cabinet he showed in the United States. Other examples can be found in such esteemed Foundations as the Broad Museum or the Pinault Foundation, and in museums such as the Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen – Museum Brandhorst in Munich and the Leeum Museum in Seoul. The rarity and significance of the Pill Cabinets series; the importance of this example being just the second version Hirst ever made; and the monumental scale and dazzling visual complexity of this example, all combine to elevate the prominence of The Void making it one of, if not the most important work of art by Damien Hirst to come to auction.

Phillips will include three works from the estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the auctions; Untitled (Venus 2000 B.C.) and Untitled will be included in the Evening Sale and an additional untitled work will highlight the Day Sale. By the time Jean-Michel Basquiat painted Untitled (Venus 2000 B.C.) in 1982 he had established himself as the impresario of the international art world within an exhilarating period of just a few years. 1982 was momentous for Basquiat, and this work resonates with all the creative energies and artistic momentum that he manifested around the world, having recently travelled to Modena, Italy, and to Los Angeles. The painted composition of Untitled (Venus 2000 B.C.) is comprised of a myriad of Basquiat’s most potent symbols. Notably, the eponymous Venus figure of the title dominates the canvas. Accompanying her metaphoric beauty is Basquiat’s creative genius as manifested in the expressionistic scrawls and encrypted imagery that populates the far corners of this distorted stretcher. Paintings like the stunning Untitled (Venus 2000 B.C.) are infinitely more than the sum of their parts – they manifest Basquiat’s particular visual lexicon. Those symbols functioned as both visual cues and intellectual stimulants. By the time Basquiat completed Untitled two years later, in 1984, he already had five major solo shows across America, Europe, and Japan under his helm and was the youngest artist - at 23 years of age - ever to be included in the Whitney Biennial. The present work stands out within the scope of Basquiat’s oeuvre for its focus on a singular, frontally-portrayed figure and its high degree of chromatic nuance and abstraction. In stark contrast to the frenetic canvases of Basquiat’s earlier years, Untitled puts forward a more serene composition. This artwork is testament to the centrality that the human figure – particularly in the guise of a black man – takes in Basquiat’s inimitable oeuvre.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight is being offered with an estimate in excess of $10 million, poised to set an all-time record for a sculpture by the artist. The sculpture, completed in 1996 a year before the artist’s unexpected death, was created during the height of Lichtenstein’s career. Taking the art historical use of the bust through the lens of Lichtenstein’s signature Pop Art idiom, Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight is widely considered among the artist’s greatest works. The work is being sold by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation to benefit its study center projects.

Willem de Kooning’s Untitled II is also among the highlights in the May Evening Sale. A magnificent tour-de force of his painterly virtuosity, Untitled II is one of less than ten works created in 1980, an important turning point in de Kooning’s career. At 77 by 88 inches, it is an example of the largest of the three canvas sizes de Kooning used, reserved for his most ambitious projects. Untitled II is acts as an important transition from the artist’s heavily worked “pastoral” canvases of the mid-1970s to the more minimal ribbon-like brushstrokes that would become the signature of his output in the 1980s.

Today's News

May 2, 2017

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Sotheby's to offer two rare surviving 17th-century wall maps of Australia and Asia

Paul Kasmin opens two-venue exhibition of recent sculpture by Roxy Paine

Galerie Max Hetzler exhibits ceremonial masks and wooden sculpture

Houghton Hall opens exhibition of sculptures by Richard Long

Phillips announces highlights from the Evening and Day Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art

35-year retrospective of painter Kerry James Marshall on view in Los Angeles

Prints & Multiples brings $10.8 million at Sotheby's New York

Almine Rech Gallery in Brussels presents works by Brian Calvin

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Fresh to the market paintings lead Bonhams American Art Sale

NADA announces Max Warsh as Associate Program Director, launch of member exhibition guide

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