Sotheby's announces new Day Sales of Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art in New York

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Sotheby's announces new Day Sales of Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art in New York
Barkley L. Hendricks, Jackie Sha-la-la (Jackie Cameron), estimate $2/3 million. Offered in Contemporary Art Day Sale Live Auction. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s shared the full contents of their Day Sales of Contemporary and Impressionist and Modern Art in New York, which for the first time take center stage as stand-alone auctions and their most prominent art sales in the month of November. Offering a combined more than 450 lots, the Day Sales build off of the strong momentum of Sotheby’s global October auctions, which achieved $1 billion in consolidated sales across 81 auctions.

Sotheby’s Day Sales of Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art have already achieved nearly $100 million in 2020, following the record-breaking online Day Sales pioneered this May, with the Contemporary sale achieving $13.7 million alone—still the highest total for an online sale at Sotheby’s—along with the June Day Sales that continued that success into live auctions. The November Day sales will be presented in both live and online formats: the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale will once again be presented as an online auction, open for bidding from 10 – 19 November. The Contemporary Art Day Sale will be a live auction on 17 November in New York, as well as a Contemporary Art Day Auction: Online, an expanded offering of post-war and contemporary art that will be open for online bidding 10 - 18 November.

The November sales feature fresh, exciting works by artists of the moment such as Titus Kaphar, Barkley L. Hendricks, Remedios Varo, Eddie Martinez, Alice Rahon and more, as well as works from distinguished private collections and estates across our sales, including the estates of John Richardson, the collection of Ira and Barbara Lipman, and a selection of works from the Brooklyn Museum.

Contemporary Art Day Auction
17 November at 12:00pm EST

Featuring excellent examples of works by leading post-war and contemporary artists including Helen Frankenthaler, Alexander Calder, Tom Wesselmann, Ed Ruscha and more, the live Contemporary Art Day auction on 17 November is the only auction of its kind to present premier works of contemporary art during the November sale season in New York. Coinciding with the live auction, Contemporary Art Day Auction: Online will present an expanded offering of post-war and contemporary art, open for online bidding 10 - 18 November.

Executed in 1975, Barkley Hendricks’s portrait of Jackie Cameron Jackie Sha-la-la (Jackie Cameron) epitomizes the most celebrated elements of Barkley’s career – technical mastery, narrative specificity, and an inimitable aura (estimate $2/3 million). Renowned for his intimate and instantly recognizable portraits which blend Old Master painting techniques with an intangible sense of cool, Jackie Sha-la-la (Jackie Cameron) is imbued with cultural touch points ranging from art historical allusion to pop culture and music. The present work references Al Green’s 1974 hit song, “Sha-la-la (Makes me Happy).” Included in a lineage of paintings which highlight Hendricks’ body of work and reference the music of his time, Jackie Sha-la-la (Jackie Cameron) insists on a place for contemporary experience in the cultural canon. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Art for Guernsey's BLM exhibition and Artist in Residence program.

The sale features another exceptional work from 1975: Helen Frankenthaler’s monumental Giant Step, a dramatic tour-de-force from the artist’s most celebrated period of production (estimate $1.2/1.8 million). Giant Step is distinguished by its inclusion in a number of the most significant exhibitions of Frankenthaler's career, most notably as the centerpiece in the artist's lauded 1975 show at Andre Emmerich Gallery in New York and in her highly acclaimed 1978 retrospective at Bennington College in Vermont. Giant Step was included in the 2015 show Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler at Brandeis University curated by Katy Siegel – an exhibition that established Helen Frankenthaler as the unequivocal precedent and figurehead for female artists of the past half-century. Emphasizing its historical significance, Frankenthaler’s thirteen-foot masterpiece exemplifies her profound impact on contemporary art.

Executed during Keith Haring’s breakout year in New York’s art scene, Untitled [Twenty-Three Works] from 1982 display Haring’s bold marker drawings, capturing a language that he began forming with his early 1980s subway drawings (estimate $900,000/1,200,000). The works on paper are marked by exceptional provenance – Untitled (Twenty-Three Works) was formerly in the collection of photographer David LaChappelle after he purchased the work from Tony Shafrazi Gallery, demonstrating the fellow artist’s interest in supporting Haring’s vibrant work. While establishing himself both at school and in the East Village art scene in 1980, Haring began working as an assistant at Tony Shafrazi Gallery, but never mentioned his own work as an artist. However, Haring joined the roster at Tony Shafrazi Gallery two years later, and the works in the present lot were published as a coloring book within the catalogue for Haring’s first solo exhibition there in 1982, memorializing the artist’s transition from student at the School of Visual Arts to known New York City artist.

On the heels of Wayne Thiebaud’s 100th birthday this month on 15 November just two days before the sale, the Contemporary Art Day auction will feature his Single Triple Decker, an exquisite example of the celebrated artist’s most mouthwatering and iconic paintings of sweet treats (estimate $1.5/2 million). Beginning in the early 1960s, Thiebaud's confectionery treats – which have become some of the best-known images of American Pop – reinvented the traditional still-life genre to reflect a new era of mass production and consumption. A superb example of Thiebaud’s most praised compositions, the present work endures as a powerful tribute to the cultural consciousness of modern America. Recurring throughout Thiebaud's oeuvre, the ice cream motif is represented in many of his most iconic works, repeatedly enticing the viewer to enjoy the tantalizing dessert.

Albert Oehlen’s Rap exemplifies the artist’s shift to abstraction, while epitomizing the artist’s distinctive push-pull dynamic of figuration versus abstraction (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). The present work characterizes Oehlen’s radical adoption of abstraction by utilizing motifs and themes that play hide and seek behind layers of references. As Rap cleverly conveys, Oehlen’s unsettling and invigorating body of work ultimately aims to reimagine and redefine the beauty of paint.

A testament to Titus Kaphar's groundbreaking practice, Columbus Day Painting re-imagines representations of American history, and subverts the legacies of oppression embedded within the Eurocentric artistic tradition and American culture (estimate $300/500,000). Kaphar’s appropriation of John Vanderlyn’s Landing of Columbus (1836) was inspired by his young son’s conflicting study of Christopher Columbus, he deconstructs recognizable images of contentious scenes of the American collective memory, re-inserting those who have been obscured. Kaphar invites the viewer to question representation in a historical and contemporary context, revealing the charged racial inequalities that inherently exist in academic discourse. Through Columbus Day Painting, Kaphar reveals American social consciousness as it relates to the history of colonization. Emphasizing the significance of the present work, Columbus Day Painting was selected for the seminal 2018 exhibition Unseen at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Sotheby’s recently established the auction record for Kaphar’s work with Page 4 Of Jeffersons “Farm Book,” which achieved $854,900 – more than double the work’s high estimate – in Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale in October. The work is on offer from Dr. Robert B. Feldman – one of the foremost collectors of African American and Latinx Contemporary Art. Dedicated to sharing his passion for collecting with the public, his touring exhibition Shifting Gaze presents a selection of works from his collection.

Born in Medellín, Colombia in 1930, Fernando Botero began his artistic career as a magazine illustrator at age sixteen. From these humble beginnings, he would become one of the twentieth century’s most iconic and recognizable artists, whose painting, drawing, and sculpture have been exhibited throughout the world’s most prestigious venues- from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Champs Elysées. In Leda and the Swan, Botero places himself in dialogue with the vast canon of Western art history, adapting a celebrated subject from Classical antiquity (estimate $1.2/1.8 million). A masterful play of volumes on a monumental scale, Leda and the Swan is marked by the sensual patina, geometric harmony and sardonic wit for which his sculpture is celebrated around the world. Imbued with characteristic Boterian humor, this Leda and the Swan is an iconic example of the artist’s mature sculptural practice.

Contemporary Art Day Online Auction
Open for bidding now through 18 November

Closing one day after the Contemporary Art Day live auction, Sotheby's will present an elevated online auction anchored by a tightly-curated selection of Post-War and Contemporary Art. The auction will feature examples by today's most sought-after artists including Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ugo Rondinone, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Richard Prince, Fernando Botero, Lolo Soldevila, Betye Saar, Hannah Wilke and more.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale
Open for bidding now through 19 November

The sale offers an exceptional selection of paintings, works on paper, and sculpture by renowned nineteenth and twentieth century artists at a variety of price points. Sotheby's will offer works from various distinguished private collections and estates, including the estates of John Richardson and Sandra Moss as well as the collection of Ira and Barbara Lipman, and Audrey Zauderer. The sale will also offer a selection of works from the Brooklyn Museum, including a colorful floral still-life by Odilon Redon, along with an atmospheric canvas by Eugène Boudin from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Additional highlights include iconic examples by Surrealist masters including Max Ernst, Wifredo Lam, Alice Rahon, Matta, Remedios Varo and Leonor Fini, as well as impressive sculpture by Auguste Rodin, Jacques Lipchitz, Agustín Cárdenas and Alexander Archipenko.

Pigmented in electric tones of blue, green and yellow, Femme debout et vue de face, agrafant son corset, is an exceptionally rare oil by Edgar Degas featuring the artist’s most recognizable subject of ballet dancer—a theme which would come to define the artist and his later works (estimate $1.2/1.8 million). Degas cared little for depicting the more obvious splendour of a pirouette but rather for the off-duty dancer stretching, yawning or adjusting her clothing, as seen here with a young woman fastening her corset. Degas was keenly aware of the humanity of the dancers beyond their glamorous costumes and make-up. His behind-the-scenes participation allowed him access to details of the dancers' practices that were otherwise unseen. By the late 1870s and into the 1880s he attended both performances and rehearsals, and he was well-known among the members of the company. With such privileged access he could render them with his pastels in the midst of a staged production and in their more intimate moments when their movements were wholly unchoreographed.

Among four important oils by Pierre Bonnard in the sale, Nu assis, Fleurs dans les cheveux (Étude de nu) reinterprets the classic theme of the female nude; a motif that would preoccupy Bonnard for much of his career (estimate $500/700,000). As with many of his best works, Bonnard depicts a quiet and contained interior, which serves as a place of repose for this female figure, believed to be his lover and eventual wife, Marthe de Méligny. The canvas vibrates with the colorful texture of fabrics and decorative patterns, most prominently in the blue screen that enlivens many of Bonnard’s interior scenes from this period. Reclined, lost in thought, with a bright flower adorning her hair, Bonnard’s female nude aligns more closely with the neo-classical nudes of the nineteenth century.

Painted in 1918, Femme de le jardin de Cagnes (Femme assise dans l'herbe) is an exquisite example of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's mature landscapes (estimate $500/700,000). His subtle variations of color combined with his fluid brushstrokes endow the image with beauty, finesse and harmony. Dominated by a range of bright and modulated tones of greens and blues, the palette underscores Renoir's fascination with the fleeting effects of light and weather, which he sought to capture through painting en plein air.

Upon his return to Havana in 1941 after a long sojourn in Madrid and Paris, Lam embarked on a deliberate exploration of his Black Cuban identity. During this seminal period of production in Havana, Lam executed works which melt human, animal and vegetal attributes into creatures that evoke the spirit of Caribbean Afro-Cuban culture, as depicted in La Fugue (La Terreur, La Peur dans la nuit) (estimate $800,000/1.2 million).These works are marked by a graphic sensibility with clear lines, symmetry and concentrated applications of ochre color on somber backgrounds. The upper and lower figures in La Fugue (La Terreur, La Peur dans la nuit) display horned birds suspended in mid-flight, meeting the gaze of the viewer with a blank yet penetrating stare.

Following the success of Mario Carreño’s Cortadores de caña, which sold for a record-breaking $2.7 million in the Impressionist & Modern Art Day sale in June, the November sale will feature La lavandera, signaling a fervent moment of visual development for the artist (estimate $250/350,000). Like many of his peers, Carreño’s transatlantic movements led him to consider—and encounter first-hand—the legacies of the dominant artistic currents of the time. Coalescing stylistic influences ranging from the Italian Renaissance master Raphael to Pablo Picasso, Carreño’s creative output signaled an original and transformative new voice within the cannon of Modernism. Exhibited in 1942 at Galería Lyceum, La lavandera shares the atmospheric tensions and preoccupations favored by surrealists Max Ernst and Óscar Domínguez. Here a premonitory sky is bathed in washes of intense blues, yellows, blacks, and reds – a spectral coloration uniquely characteristic to the stormy tropics. Carreño executed only a limited number of paintings during this vital year, most of which now reside in institutional collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana. Their productive genesis, while incorporating the sensibilities of European Surrealism, ultimately triumphed in their distinctly profound Cuban-Caribbean tone.

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