By Sotheby's


Raising the Bar: Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel is on view from 1–16 May.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening and Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sales are on view from 4–14 May.

Contemporary Art Evening and Contemporary Art Day Auctions are on view from 4–16 May.

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.
—Pablo Picasso

“Creativity take courage!” These words of Henri Matisse perfectly capture the spirit of every artist who has challenged the status quo, ignored the rules, and boldly made art that opens up new ways of seeing. When he first came on the scene in early 20th century Paris, Matisse shocked the critics: they dubbed him and his circle of fellow artists the “Wild Beasts” (or Fauves, in French). Now his work is considered the ultimate in beauty and good taste.

Not much had changed a half-century later, when Andy Warhol took New York by storm, announcing “Art is anything you can get away with.” Most of the art world ignored him, as he happily set fire to the distinction between “high art” and popular culture. His depictions of soup cans and movie stars are among the most coveted in the world. 

All great art is hated, and then it changes everything.
—John Waters


With Fearless Now, Sotheby’s takes inspiration from those brave creative voices who have reminded every generation (including our own) that art isn’t a fixed idea, but is endlessly changing. From the pioneering Impressionists in the 19th century to those groundbreaking artists, collectors and institutions making their own rules today, courage is the quality we pay tribute to through this new series. In weeks leading up to our May sales in New York, check back frequently for new videos, articles and slideshows that bring the spirit of Fearless Now to life. As Edgar Degas put it a century ago: “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 


Jackson Pollock 

Louise Bourgeois

Egon Schiele

Jean-Michel Basquiat

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.