The Leslie & Johanna Garfield Collection: A Celebration of Prints
New York & London | October 2023 - September 2024

S otheby’s is honored to present the Leslie & Johanna Garfield Collection of prints at auction across several sales in New York and London in 2023 and 2024. The Garfields’ devotion to amassing an in-depth survey of fine prints and their steadfast commitment to art-related foundations was exceptional. Over many years. they forged strong relationships with artists, museums and dealers alike, however, it was their own eyes and interests that they most trusted, and as noted by Curator Heather Hess

Over their lifetimes, they acquired more than 6,000 works on paper (plus a few paintings and sculptures), all because, as Jo once noted, “We just really liked them.”

The Garfield Collection is both broad and deep, featuring well established artists as well as lesser known ones, always with a dynamic exploration of their work within the printmaking medium. Their genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for discovery, of an artist or of an obscure impression, was steadfast, such that the diversity of the names was as remarkable as the survey of their works. As Leslie himself said

“…I always wanted to do a thing in depth, not just collect an image here and an image there, but put together a body of related work so you could really understand a movement.”

Amongst numerous exciting lots in these auctions, complete portfolios beautifully showcase an artist’s chosen iconography. From Jasper Johns’ First Etchings (lots 16 & 17), a display of Johns’ beloved ale cans, paintbrushes and flags, to Damien Hirst’s Last Supper, wherein Hirst’s predilection for pharmaceuticals is cheekily masked by references to common foods such as a sandwich or a sausage. Peter Doig’s 100 Years Agooffers a dichotomy of old vs. new, by juxtaposing a contemporary image with a shadowy nostalgic one, and Robert Cottingham’s An American Alphabet repackages all 26 letters, found within an array of neon signs, to present a taste of americana borrowed from a bygone landscape.

Widely known artists whose prints are less frequently seen on the auction market such as Derrick Adams, exemplify how the Garfield Collection continued to evolve, including publications of the past 5 years.

Works included, while distinct in their era or aesthetic, work together to produce a fascinating view of how art and artists with seemingly little in common speak to each other.

Lot 3 : David Hockney, Water Pouring Into Swimming Pool, Santa Monica (Scottish Arts Council 38; M.C.A.T. 38)
Lot 4 : Christopher Nevinson, The Blue Wave (Black 15; Leicester Galleries 66)

And sometimes, the work of one artist relies on that of another to promote the coexistence of history and technology.

A wonderful component of the Garfield Collection and one which truly epitomizes their instinct to discover, explore and share is the selection of linocuts from the Grosvenor School. Leslie and Johanna assembled an extraordinary group of prints by artists once not commonly recognized such as Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power amongst others, and after championing their work and watching it gain an audience, they made an incredible bequest to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, so that future patrons could experience the impressive workmanship.

Lot 28 : Sybil Andrews, Football (C. SA 40)
Lot 31 : Cyril Edward Power, Lifts (C. CEP 13)

It is a privilege to share these prints form the Leslie and Johanna Garfield Collection, to celebrate them, their inimitable vision and their legacy within the print community. As Art Critic Susan Tallman writes in the introduction to The Garfields Collect:

“A small number of people collect for love, and of those, an even smaller number collect what they love both broadly and systematically… Leslie and Jo Garfield were just such collectors.”

Exhibition Information

Exhibition Information


New York | 14–18 October
The Leslie & Johanna Garfield Collection: A Celebration of Prints Evening Sale
The Leslie & Johanna Garfield Collection: A Celebration of Prints Day Sale

London | 11–14 November
The Leslie and Johanna Garfield Collection : A Celebration of David Hockney

Highlights

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