Cutting-edge Carmen Herrera offered at Bonhams Prints & Multiples sale

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Cutting-edge Carmen Herrera offered at Bonhams Prints & Multiples sale
Carmen Herrera (b. 1915), Rojo y Negro (Red and Black), 1993 (Estimate: $3,000 – 5,000). Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- On Monday, February 22, 2021, Bonhams Prints & Multiples will hold a Geometric Abstraction Auction in New York, highlighted by the sale of Rojo y Negro, (Red and Black), 1993, Carmen Herrera’s first known print published in the United States.

As a Latin American female artist in the New York art world, Herrera was subject to discrimination for decades. Despite living in the city and actively working as an artist since the 1950s, she didn’t sell her first artwork until 2004, at age 89. As a result of widely accepted discriminatory practices within the industry, Herrera’s print output is quite limited. In 1993, publisher Victor Gomez, made what was at the time considered an unconventional decision in publishing Rojo y Negro; unlike many of his male contemporaries, Gomez felt it was important to create space for female artists working in minimalist abstraction. Decades later in 2016, at the age of 101, Herrera was at last given the recognition she deserved, as the subject of highly celebrated retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Now 105 years old, Herrera has established a name for herself as one of the leading Latin American artists of the 20th Century through her formal exploration of strong geometric forms rendered in bright colors.

Deborah Ripley, Director, Prints & Multiples of Bonhams New York, said: “It’s with great pleasure that we offer this rare, historic work by a pioneering figure in contemporary art. Rojo y Negro is unmatched in its vibrancy and linear force and we are delighted to showcase it in the sale’s superlative collection of prints by abstract and minimalist masters.”

A rare portfolio by Venezuelan sculptor Jesús Rafael Soto (1923 – 2005) entitled Jai-Alai (1969) consisting of nine acrylic prints – four flat works and five kinetic sculptural objects – is one of the auction highlights. Offered from the collection of Haverford College, this is the first time a complete Jai-Alai portfolio has ever come to auction. One of Venezuela’s most seminal artists, Soto has been collected by leading institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Tate in London.

The sale also features two works by Edna Andrade (1917-2008) a female pioneering figure in Op art in the 1960s, who has recently gained long overdue posthumous recognition. Her works in this sale Chene-Bourg I, 1974 (Estimate: $2,500 – 3,500) and Green Weather, 1972 (Estimate: $2,000 - 3,000) both feature intricate patterning, illustrating the artist’s connection to what she describes as the “ancient tradition of anonymous artisans.” Her work was recently a featured highlight in the 150 Year Anniversary Celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2020.

All the prints in the sale present an exquisite cross-section of collective geometric abstract practices, exploring aspects of optics and dimensionality, at times implying volume through simplistic renderings. And simultaneously, the sale is a curatorial celebration of cultural diversity and powerful female presences actively rewriting the narrative in the art market today.

Additional highlights:

• Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), Wavy Lines (Gray and Color) (2 works) (Estimate: $8,000 – 10,000)

• Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015), Blue (for Leo), 1997 (Estimate: $7,000- 9,000)

• Dan Flavin (1933-1996), for one walled circular fluorescent light (to Heiner Friedrich) (5 works) (Estimate: $4,500 – 5,500)

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