Bonhams announces highlights included in the Made in California: Contemporary Art auction

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Bonhams announces highlights included in the Made in California: Contemporary Art auction
Julian Schnabel (b. 1951), The Conversion of St. Paolo Malfi, 1995, gesso, oil and resin on canvas, 96 x 96 in., 243.8 x 243.8 cm., Estimate: $120,000-180,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Eight magnificent large-scale artworks will comprise a dedicated section entitled Think Big in Bonhams Made in California: Contemporary Art auction in Los Angeles on April 14. Leading the group in magnitude and in estimate is a twenty-seven-and-a-half-foot-wide painting by Sam Francis (1923-1994), Untitled (SFP88-268), 1986-1988. It is expected to realize $400,000 – 600,000. The section will include an additional painting by Francis, Untitled (SFP 68-17), 1968, measuring 13 feet wide and estimated at $100,000 – 150,000. The six other lots in the section include two stunning paintings by Julian Schnabel and four important works by Charles Fine. In total, the Think Big section is expected to fetch between $750,000 – 1,120,000.

Bonhams Specialist, Fine Art and Head of Sale, Sonja Moro commented, “Among many things, California is known for its vastness. Each of the eight artworks included in the Think Big section of Bonhams Made in California: Contemporary Art sale manifests this sense of west coast expansiveness yet is individually impressive not just in regard to size, but in technique, quality, and visual impact. The mural by Sam Francis is an especially sublime work and a wonderful example of the legendary artist’s trademark usage of vibrant colors and painterly abstraction. This canvas, along with the seven additional lots from the same private collection will all be coming to auction at an especially significant moment for the city of Los Angeles—coinciding with the highly anticipated reopening of our cherished local museums and art institutions.”

Sam Francis once said, “Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment.” His statement captures the essence of sale highlight, Untitled (SFP 68-17), 1968, which consists of an exquisite multi-colored border, and meditative field of white space. Created two decades earlier, this work serves as a complement to the sale’s top lot Untitled (SFP88-268), 1988-86. Francis is an internationally celebrated and established name among leading 20th century painters. Throughout his career, Francis formally trained and worked in cities as disparate as Tokyo, Paris, and Mexico City—though he began and ended his life and career in California. Francis’s work is coveted globally and is represented in collections of leading institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Since his death in 1994, he has been the subject of over 90 solo retrospectives.

In addition to the two works by Francis, the Think Big section will feature two paintings by Julian Schnabel (b. 1951), who is well-known for his oversized creations. Measuring 8 by 8 feet and 9 by 8 feet respectively, The Conversion of St. Paolo Malfi and Adieu embody the physicality, drama, and emotion that Schnabel is famous for. The paintings are expected to realize between $120,000 – 180,000 and $80,000 – 120,000.

The section is rounded out with four sculptural works, all created by California-based multidisciplinary artist Charles Fine (b. 1951). Formally trained at UCLA, Fine’s art practice varies widely, yet consistently draws upon the influence of environmentalism, with organic qualities pervasive throughout his work. He often incorporates into his art what has been referred to as an “earth consciousness.” A leading figure in the Southern California contemporary art world, Fine’s work successfully explores tensions between natural shapes and industrial materials. The four lots by Fine on offer in this sale unpack and examine themes of decay, evolution, and nature, each in their own way.

Additional Highlights Include:

• Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997), Lago di Como, 1972, from the Collection of Yvonne de Chavigny Segerstrom, Estimate: $20,000 – 30,000.

• Roland Petersen (b. 1926), Forked Tree, 1964, signed and dated 'Roland Petersen 1964' (upper left), oil on canvas, 48 x 71 1/2 in., 122 x 81.6 cm., Estimate: $30,000-50,000.

• Billy Al Bengston (b. 1934), Rudi's Dracula, 1972, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 in., 154.2 x 154.2 cm., Estimate: $30,000 – 50,000.

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