Feel the heat emanating from this extraordinary Rothko work from the Collection of Barbara and Morton Mandel. Painted shortly before his death, Untitled, 1969 showcases the unmistakable abstract brilliance that came to define an artistic movement. Raising The Bar: Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel will be held on the evening of 16 May prior to our Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
Experience the timeless brilliance of Jackson Pollock in this preview of his masterpiece Number 32, 1949 – a rare drip painting on paper. One of the few works in which Pollock uses aluminum paint, Number 32 represents the artist at the height of his formidable power. After 35 years in the same private collection, this historic work will be a highlight of our Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 16 May.
From comic books to the kitchen sink, for Pop artists emerging in the 1950s and 1960s the objects of daily life served as artistic inspiration. Reacting against the overt seriousness of Abstract Expressionism, artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselman and Claes Oldenburg captivated public attention with witty, brightly hued artworks derived from the imagery of popular culture. Their irreverent creations ignited critical debate and forever altered the understanding of what art could be. Below are some facts about Pop art and its continued impact today.
Breaking 20 records with the region’s second-highest auction total ever, Sotheby’s Hong Kong delivered powerful results with its spring sales. “Our success this week is the product of more than four decades of investment in Asia,” said Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia. More than half of the season’s lots exceeded their high estimate, including two exceptional sets of Ming Dynasty Imperial Sutras and Zhang Daqian’s “Spectacular Mountains in Spring Snow,” confirming the strength of a thriving market. Click here for more information on how to consign with Sotheby’s or to receive a complimentary auction estimate.
Art or vandalism? Street Art’s controversial history has often centered on this touchstone debate. Long associated with gangs and crime, graffiti tipped into the realm of art during the 1970s and 1980s as artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Fab Five Freddy and Blek le Rat revolutionized guerrilla tagging of the urban environment with their distinctive visions. Below are some facts about the origins of Street Art and its lasting importance today.
“I get my facts from books,” declared Jean-Michel Basquiat. A voracious reader who “ate up every word that appeared in front of him,” as downtown critic Glenn O’Brien said, Basquiat processed it all “into a bebop Cubist Pop art cartoon gospel.” O’Brien’s brilliant description captures the velocity and ambition of Basquiat’s Flesh and Spirit, 1982–83, a masterpiece that has been virtually unseen since it was first shown in 1983 and is now a highlight of Sotheby’s New York 16 May Contemporary Art Evening auction. The title of the work riffs on that of Robert Farris Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art and Philosophy. Published in 1983, the book was hugely influential on the young Basquiat, who would meet and befriend Thompson, a Yale art historian who wrote widely about the artist and was a keen interpreter of his work, declaring that the painter “took all the street energies and translated them into high art.” With Flesh and Spirit, Basquiat does just that, synthesizing Thompson’s revelatory investigation of African iconography with his own artistic lexicon: themes of race, the body and language. The heavily worked surface of oil stick, gesso, acrylic and paper collage is a richly material expression of Basquiat’s searing inquiry into the human condition. JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT, FLESH AND SPIRIT, 1983. ESTIMATE UPON REQUEST. First exhibited at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York in a pivotal 1983 group show called Champions, Flesh and Spirit was acquired that same year by visionary collector and patron of the arts Dolores Ormandy Neumann. A distinguished figure in the arts, Dolores Ormandy Neumann was perhaps best known as a collector and early champion of graffiti artists. In fact, it was her discovery and encouragement of graffiti art that presciently drove the influence and recognition of these emerging artists in downtown New York in the early 80s, leading to their embrace by an audience outside of the East Village. The present work, Flesh and Spirit, is a symbol of her support in this arena. Acquired from the famed Champions exhibition for $15,000, the painting has remained in the family collection since.
Coming in May
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