Prints & Multiples

Online Bidding Open from 17 - 28 April | 12:00 PM EDT | New York
Prints & Multiples 17–28 April 2020 • 12:00 PM EDT • New York

S otheby’s April Prints & Multiples auction features a broad selection of Modern and Contemporary prints spanning the 20th century, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol.

Highlights of the auction range from seminal Pop images such as Roy Lichtenstein’s Sweet Dreams Baby and Andy Warhol’s Moonwalk to masterful Abstract Expressionist prints including Robert Motherwell’s Burning Elegy and Helen Frankenthaler’s Tales of Genji II. Donald Judd’s minimalist Untitled portfolio of ten multicolor woodcuts from 1992-93, and a strong selection of prints by some of the most accomplished colorists of the post-war period, including Gerhard Richter, James Rosenquist and Sam Francis, also feature prominently in the sale.

Finally, a unique collaboration adds color to the sale: two rolls of wallpaper, designed by David Bowie and printed by Laura Ashley in 1995, are on offer. Online bidding will be open from April 17th to April 28th.

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Pop in Print

Artists Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Keith Haring were leaders of the 20th-century Pop art movement, creating artwork that would come to define a new era of art history. Now, highly-collectible prints by the artists lead the spring Prints & Multiples auction.

Andy Warhol, Moonwalk, 1987
Estimate $125,000 – 175,000

W arhol’s Moonwalk prints are among the last works that the artist created before his death in February 1987. Intended as part of a portfolio entitled TV that would depict important images from the history of television in America and include subjects such as I Love Lucy, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Moonwalk was the only composition from the series that was printed.

Warhol’s 'Moonwalk' prints are among the last works that the artist created before his death in February 1987.

Despite the portfolio’s focus on the influence of television, the photographic basis of the work is not a still from the live broadcast of the first moments on the moon, but rather an image that never appeared on TV. Warhol combined two separate photographs of Buzz Aldrin and the American flag, both NASA stills taken by Neil Armstrong, to create the screenprint. The resulting composition is an iconic element of Warhol’s printmaking that illustrates not only the lasting impact of the moon landing but also the artist’s own profound effect on American visual culture.

Make Sponge Cake à la Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol, Wild Raspberries
Estimate $30,000 – 50,000

Wild Raspberries is the last, the largest and most exuberant of the six self-published books Andy Warhol issued during the 1950s. Written by interior decorator and socialite Suzie Frankfort, illustrated by Warhol and lettered by Warhol’s mother, Julia Warhola, Wild Raspberries is a playful recipe book that emulates the mass-produced French cookbooks of the 1950s.

Here, we take a closer look at some of the recipes featured in the book (including an easy, decadent rum-soaked sponge cake).

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When David Bowie Met Laura Ashley

In 1995, David Bowie collaborated with the brand Laura Ashley to create something unprecedented: wallpaper. Designed by Bowie and printed by Laura Ashley, the wallpaper came in wildly entrancing prints inspired by mythical figures and modern psychology. Sotheby's will offer two such rolls in the Prints & Multiples spring auction, held online from 17 – 28 April.

D avid Bowie’s legacy is a work of art in itself; his ever changing music and appearance became iconic within his body of work much like stanzas within a visual artist’s oeuvre; Picasso’s Cubist period, Lichtenstein’s comic strip inspired compositions. Bowie’s ability to reinvent himself was as unforgettable as his music and he never failed to shock and then delight.

A collaboration between David Bowie and designer Laura Ashley has that initially unexpected, but then beguiling impact.

A collaboration between David Bowie and designer Laura Ashley has that initially unexpected, but then beguiling impact. Between 10 and 15 full rolls of wallpaper were printed on the occasion of Bowie’s exhibition ‘New Afro Pagan Work: 1975-1995’ at a London gallery. One design features Lucian Freud’s nude self portrait submerged in a Damien Hirst like tank, the second illustrates a Minotaur, one of Picasso’s most beloved subjects. Both set these repeated images against a backdrop of traditional English chintz. Each exemplifies noteworthy imagery in 20th century art, offset by a floral pattern ubiquitous of the Laura Ashley aesthetic.

The collision of art, life, fashion and music has yielded remarkable mash ups of culture such as Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground record cover or Takashi Murakami’s Louis Vuitton bags. When the avant- garde meets the utilitarian, memorable creations result and the present lots fulfill that unpredictability delicious recipe.

Revealing Richter

K nown for his use of both photorealism and abstraction in painting, often simultaneously, Gerhard Richter is one of the most important artists working today. Much of Richter’s work can be identified by its layering of photographic imagery and abstraction; photorealistic representations in his paintings are interrupted by purposeful blurring or lack of focus. In this way he is able to play the two artistic genres off of each other, creating a singular style that has contributed to the advancement of abstraction in painting overall.

Sotheby's Prints & Multiples auction includes two individual works by Richter, and a third lot comprising a group of four prints from the artist's "Flow" series. Below, view a slideshow of the works and additional auction details.

John Baldessari's Sly Genius
JOHN BALDESSARI, I WILL NOT MAKE ANY MORE BORING ART, 1971. Estimate $30,000 – 40,000.

"I WILL NOT MAKE ANY MORE BORING ART is the self-doubt, the self-scrutiny found in us all," writes Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, author of John Baldessari: A Catalogue Raisonne of Prints and Multiples, 1971-2007 and former Sotheby’s Contemporary Print Specialist.

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