NEW YORK, NY.-
Taking place on 7-8 December, Phillips
New York auctions of 20th Century and Contemporary Art will encompass works by Modern, Post-War, Contemporary, and American masters. The Evening Sale will be held on 7 December at 7pm, featuring 38 lots, with the Day Sales Morning and Afternoon Sessions following on 8 December, offering over 300 lots. The full catalogues for each of these auctions are now online, with the New York exhibitions opening on Monday, 30 November, by appointment.
Robert Manley and Jean-Paul Engelen, Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said, On the heels of two exceptional evening sales during such an unpredictable year, we are delighted to present one of Phillips' strongest and most diverse sales to date. Our carefully assembled auction brings some of the rarest works of art from each artist's oeuvre to the fore and aims to continue our mission of recognizing the importance of artists who have long been omitted from the art historical canon. We have also prioritized fresh-to-market works. Featuring 38 lots, 80% of the artworks in our Evening Sale have never been offered on the secondary market and, despite the uncertainty of the year, the resilience of the art market has been made clear, with collectors from across the globe participating in our sales at unprecedented levels."
Evening Sale | 7 December
Phillips will present two remarkable paintings by Joan Mitchell bookending her groundbreaking painting career. Best known for her large-scale abstractions featuring assertive and gestural brushwork coupled with expressive and vivacious color, Mitchell is a central figure in Abstract Expressionism and one of the key artists of the movement. Representing nearly a thirty-year arc of her artistic output, Untitled, circa 1953, is one of the most important paintings from her early career and the large-scale diptych Untitled 1979 is a masterpiece from her late period. Untitled, circa 1953, marks the opening era of her most sought-after mature works and has been requested to be included in the forthcoming retrospective organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and will travel to SF MOMA and Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. Directly related to Wood, Wind, No Tube, 1980, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Untitled, 1979, represented the culmination of her career and foreshadowed her subsequent Grand Vallée chapter.
Also highlighting the 20th Century and Contemporary Sale is a remarkable painting by Morris Louis Beth Sin, 1958. Titled after two letters from the Hebrew alphabet, Beth Sin is a monumental masterpiece from Morris Louis first mature body of work. Belonging to his Veils series, which he executed in two distinct periods in 1954 and 1958-1959, the work is comprised of translucent washes of cerulean, violet, and moss green that gloriously flow down the surface of the work as overlapping waterfalls. One of the most refined and vibrant of its kind to come to auction, Beth Sin is an exquisite example from the pivotal series that would launch him to international acclaim.
A stunning example of the artists abstract works, Gerhard Richters Abstraktes Bild (678-1), 1988, represents both the artists unrelenting formal innovation as well as his career-long quest to probe the natures of truth, perception, and reality. Abstraktes Bild (678-1) represents a culmination of Richters decades-long exploration of abstraction, a mode of representation that had consumed his career since his first shift from figuration in the late 1960s. Richters practice has always oscillated between interrogations of the formal capabilities of the two approaches to painting, often blending both abstraction and figuration into hybrid styles. Richter has intensively examined the successes and failures of both forms of artmaking; his first mature abstractions, and those that have since received the greatest international attention, were those in the late 1980s that, like Abstraktes Bild (678-1), incorporate the artist's innovative squeegee technique, inviting chance into the creation of the work. Abstraktes Bild is a stunning example of this breakthrough in the artists approach to painting, representing not only his ongoing inquisition of the artform but also the unending innovation with which he approaches his craft.
Phillips is offering a group of outstanding works of art from a Private Midwestern collector, all of which were acquired between 20-40 years ago and are completely fresh to the market. Leading the group is the very first example of Donald Judds large-scale bullnose wall progressions, untitled (DSS 70), which was created during a pivotal moment in the artists career-long investigation of positive and negative space. Coalescing the industrial material of galvanized iron with a scintillating, elegant surface, these progressionsin which each projection becomes longer and the space between them shrinkswould become one of Judds most well-known forms and revolutionized Minimalism and post-war art history. untitled specifically represents the culmination of the artists development of the iconic bullnose progression, building on the form of a wood prototype from a year prior and a smaller galvanized iron example earlier in 1965. Executed in 1965, this piece of history was first part of Leo Castellis own collection, and has been owned by the same important private collector for almost three decades. Additional works from the same collection to be offered in the Evening Sale are Morris Louis Infeld, Agnes Martins Untitled, and Richard Diebenkorns Untitled (Berkeley).
The Evening Sale will also feature four works from the collection of pioneering Virginia based philanthropists Pamela and William Royall Amy Sheralds The Bathers, Kehinde Wileys Portrait of Mickalene Thomas, the Coyote, Mickalene Thomas I've Been Good To Me, and Barkley Hendricks Selina/Star. Selina/Star, epitomizes Hendricks arresting portrayals of fashionable, super-cool Black and Latino subjects which revolutionized contemporary figurative painting. A superb example from the artists more celebrated bodies of work, it showcases his unrivaled ability to capture not only the personality but the inner spirit of each and every one of his sitters. The Royalls collection reflects their broad interests, from well-known artists from the 20th century to emerging and established Black artists. Committed arts patrons and forces of change in Richmond, the Royalls spearhead the Virginia Museum of Fine Artss recent acquisition of Kehinde Wileys sculpture Rumors of War as board members of the institution and were instrumental to the museums expansion of the diversity of its collection. Believing in a vision of greater inclusivity for Richmond, the Royalls established a non-profit art gallery for the collection, Try-me, which was open without charge to the public, which fostered a space for local artists and education.
Known as one of the fathers of Abstract Expressionism, Clyfford Still was regarded as an influencer to some of the most significant artists of the 20th century. PH-407 is a magnificent, large scale work was painted in 1964 after Still left New York and relocated to the Maryland countryside, virtually cutting ties with the commercial art world. A testament to his protection over the paintings he created during this time, he left a will with strict instructions to keep them together in a Museum dedicated to his works. As a result, PH-407 is now one of only a few dozen paintings that are estimated to remain in private hands. It is a superb example from the artists body of work created in Maryland, which are being celebrated for the first time in the current exhibition at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. Bearing impeccable provenance and exhibition history, this monumental masterpiece is estimated in the region of $17 marking the first time that it is being sold publicly.
Leading the auction is David Hockneys Nichols Canyon. With an estimate in the region of $35 million, it is the most important landscape by the artist in private hands. Marking the beginning of his decades-long panoramic landscapes series, it was one of only two monumental works Hockney executed following his return to painting from a brief hiatus spent exploring photography in the 1970s. As one of the greatest modern depictions of the Los Angeles environment, Nichols Canyon has been included as his first mature landscape in the most important exhibitions of his career.
Another highlight for the evening sale will be Jean Michel Basquiats Portrait of A-One A.K.A. King. Energized by a string of career-launching exhibitions, Basquiat spent 1982 executing depictions of those close to him with invigorated passion pictures which today are widely considered to be the finest of his career. A nod to his community and time as a street artist, Portrait of A-One A.K.A. King portrays the artists close friend and collaborator, legendary New York graffiti artist A-One, standing before a wall covered in tags. Evoking both street culture and the art historical genre of royal portraiture, the crown became one of the artists most enduring and recognizable pictorial tropes, which Basquiat used to celebrate the Black experienceanointing pop culture icons, his friends, and himself.
Following Phillips first sale of Norman Rockwell last November, this Evening Sale will also feature two works from the collection of legendary TV producers, Tom Miller and Robert Boyett. Known for their roles in creating iconic American TV shows, they amassed an impressive collection of American Art during their 40 years of partnership. An Audience of One, estimated at $2.5-3.5 million, and The Peephole, estimated at $1-1.5 million, are quintessential works by Rockwell. They capture a picture-perfect moment in time, showing Rockwells remarkable skill as a painter and cinematic storytelling ability.