The Contemporary Evening Sale (16 November 2022) will feature artworks which capture the seismic shifts that occurred in art in the latter half of the 20th Century. Beginning with Post-War abstraction in America, through the Pop Art movement, and into the critical postmodern inquiries of the 1980s and 1990s, this radical new mode of art-making fundamentally altered the course of art history, laying the foundations for the art movements which would shape the next fifty years across the globe. Inaugurated by the Abstract Expressionist breakthroughs of New York School artists such as Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Joan Mitchell and carried forth by their counterparts Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland in Color-Field Painting, into Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Arte Povera and beyond, this art questions the very spirit of art-making: from the singular work of Pop masters Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, to the daring neo-Figuration of Francis Bacon and Jean-Michel Basquiat, these artworks interrogate the very ways in which we see and interpret our contemporary world. Spotlighting these developments within a unified platform, the masterworks of the Contemporary Art Evening Sale call into focus the plurality of visions, identities, and artistic innovations that reshaped the trajectory of art history as we know it today.
This season, the Contemporary Evening Sale is led by Andy Warhol’s monumental masterpiece, White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times) from 1963, the largest of the artist’s single-panel Car Crash works from his pivotal Death and Disaster series of the 1960s. White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times) is the first of Warhol’s Car Crash series to appear at auction since the landmark sale of Silver Car Crash (Double disaster) at Sotheby’s New York in 2013, which achieved a new record for the artist at the time. This Pop masterwork is joined by three extraordinary paintings by Abstract Expressionist figurehead Willem de Kooning, coming from the Collection of the artists family. Each dating from the culmination of a decade, Montauk II (1969), Untitled (c. 1979) and The Hat Upstairs (1987) independently mark transformative moments for Willem de Kooning; together, they reveal the development of the artist’s practice from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, constituting an elegant retrospective across three decades of his acclaimed career.
The Contemporary Evening sale will also feature Francis Bacon’s powerful Three Studies for Portrait of Lucian Freud from 1964, the first of only five triptychs Bacon created of Freud and a compelling testament to the impressive and complex relationship shared by these two legendary painters, alongside Alighiero Boetti’s Mappa from 1989-1991, the largest example of the artist’s most significant and critically acclaimed series to ever come auction. These highlights are joined by superb examples of Color-Field painting from the Collection of William S. Paley, sold to benefit The Paley Foundation and The Museum of Modern Art; exciting highlights from the collection of legendary New York gallerist Tony Shafrazi; a group of extraordinary Contemporary sculptures from The Mallin Collection; and many more.
These works and more will be viewable at Sotheby’s New York starting Friday, 4 November 2022, ahead of the Contemporary Evening Sale in New York on 16 November 2022.
Andy Warhol’s “White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times)”
Expert Voices: Lucius Elliott on Francis Bacon's Portrait of Lucian Freud
Francis Bacon’s Portrait of Lucian Freud
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