Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 412. Still Life.

Yvonne Thomas

Still Life

Lot Closed

March 18, 04:10 PM GMT


20,000 - 30,000 USD

Lot Details


Yvonne Thomas

1913 - 2009

Still Life 

signed; signed on the reverse

oil on canvas

Canvas: 22 by 30⅛ in. (55.9 by 76.5 cm.)

Framed: 22⅞ by 30⅞ in. (58.1 by 78.4 cm.)

Executed circa 1958.

Stuttman Gallery, New York
Private Collection (acquired from the above in May 1958)
Sotheby's New York, Contemporary Art Online, 6 March 2018, Lot 408
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner 

Yvonne Thomas' Abstract Expressionist paintings grew out of her studies at Cooper Union and the Art Students League in New York. Her use of color and structure was particularly influenced by Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann, with whom she studied for many years. In 1951, Thomas participated in the first of the infamous Ninth Street Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture held in Greenwich Village. She subsequently went on showcase her work in a series of exhibitions held at The Stable Gallery, which was aiming to provide more female artists of the mid- late 50’s with a venue to exhibit their abstract work. A true female pioneer in a world predominantly represented by male artists, she was the only female to be included in all five of the Ninth Street shows and was a member of the Artist’s club, which historically only welcomed male artists.

 “As curators and academics devote more exhibitions and books to these female painters, collectors are taking note. The development is part of a larger trend to give historic female artists their due, while also an opportunity to invest in more affordable artists. The last decade has seen a flurry of projects correcting the historic record for this movement, often led by women. Chanzit curated “Women of Abstract Expressionism”; Mary Gabriel wrote Ninth Street Women; and biographies for Krasner, Mitchell, Hartigan, and Elaine de Kooning were authored by Gail Levin, Patricia Albers, and Cathy Curtis, respectively… these projects have noticeably boosted interest from the art market, which “buys with their ears and not their eyes,” according to Angelo Madrigale, director of painting and contemporary art at the Doyle auction house. Hollis Taggart, whose eponymous gallery began representing Michael West’s estate in 2019, credits “Women of Abstract Expressionism” with igniting interest in both higher-profile practitioners as well as lesser known artists like West, Yvonne Thomas”

(Karen Chernick, “The Rising Market for Women Abstract Expressionists”, Artsy, 1 October 2020)

As prices for works by artists such as Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell and other female abstract expressionists soar, collectors are turning to those more accessibly priced works. Collector Christian Levett says “I was shocked to find Grace Hartigans and Elaine de Koonings at far more accessible prices…Then on further research I noticed that a large number of previously museum-exhibited works by these two artists, plus other major female artists of the 1950s, including Yvonne Thomas and Hedda Sterne, were on the market at exactly the same time.”

(John Hooper, “American Women in Florence”, The Wall Street Journal, 22 January 2021)