The complete suite of Billy Al Bengston's The Alamo to be sold at Bonhams Los Angeles

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The complete suite of Billy Al Bengston's The Alamo to be sold at Bonhams Los Angeles
Billy Al Bengston (B. 1934), The Alamo (the complete suite of five), 1969. Estimate: US$50,000-70,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Bonhams announces Post-War & Contemporary Art X Made in California, an exciting new auction taking place on September 16, 2020. On the heels of extraordinary results in New York and Los Angeles in the Summer season, this sale will bring together a selection of global Post-War & Contemporary masters, as well as the West Coast artists that Bonhams has long championed in Made in California. Bonhams is the only auction house catering to the expanding global art market in Los Angeles, for collectors in Californian and beyond.

Bonhams will present, for the first time ever at auction, the complete suite of Billy Al Bengston’s The Alamo, 1969 (estimate: $50,000-70,000). Among Bengston’s Dentos, one of his best-known and most lauded bodies of work, The Alamo is characterized by the artist’s energetic disruption of surfaces created with lush automotive colors and luminous shine. At first evocative of the Finish Fetish art associated with Los Angeles in the 1960s, Bengston upends the idea of the pristine exterior with dents, punctures, scratches and gashes. The thin aluminum supports are transformed into three-dimensional objects, confounding expectations. The dents and planar distortions in the surfaces catch the light and move the viewer’s eye around these spellbinding works in all their fierce, ravaged glamour. The Alamo suite as well as a unique Dento work in the sale, Operation Pacific, are stunning examples from a period of intense creativity in the artist’s career.

Highlighting the sale is Raymond Pettibon’s 23 Works from the installation A Yarn Spun to No Mend, 1990-1991 (estimate: $400,000-700,000). Raymond Pettibon has become one of the most quintessential and influential artists to emerge from Southern California. The present lot is comprised of 23 framed works on paper from A Yarn Spun to No Mend, Pettibon's monumental contribution to Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s, Paul Schimmel's groundbreaking first exhibition as chief curator, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1992.

The sale also features a contemplative photograph by Cindy Sherman, Untitled No, 110, 1982 (estimate: $40,000-60,000), a stunning selection of Light & Space, and works by exciting young Contemporary artists.

Other notable lots include:

• Viola Frey (1933-2004), Talking Hands, circa 1989, ceramic and glazes, in seven parts (estimate: $50,000-70,000)

• De Wain Valentine (b. 1936), Untitled, circa 1965, fiberglass, polyester and paint (estimate: $40,000-60,000)

• De Wain Valentine (b. 1936), Aqua Circle, 1969-70, cast polyester resin (estimate: $30,000-50,000)

• Wallace Berman, Untitled (1926-1976), Untitled, circa 1969, Verifax collage on paper on paperboard in artist’s frame ($30,000-50,000)

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