Artists for Obama, Warhol’s Wicked Witch & More Must-See Prints

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With iconic works by Mary Cassatt, Lucian Freud, Andy Warhol, Sotheby’s upcoming Prints & Multiples sale offers exceptional examples from over a century of printmaking. Highlights range from a large-scale textile collaboration between Henri Matisse and designer Zika Ascher to a portfolio by thirteen contemporary artists made on behalf of the Obama Victory Fund. Ahead, view these works and ten others selected by our New York Prints specialists.

Prints & Multiples
26–27 April | New York

Artists for Obama, Warhol’s Wicked Witch & More Must-See Prints

  • Ed Ruscha, Lisp (Engberg 43). Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    “The visual impact of language is a hallmark of Ed Ruscha’s work, and Ruscha experimented with a variety of media and compositions. One effect that particularly intrigued the artist was the patterns made by spilled liquid. Lisp , a lithograph from 1970, is a prime example of this motif. Employing the effect of trompe l’oeil, the word appears to be formed by a liquid that has spilled directly onto the richly colored sheet of paper. Spit, perhaps?” –Chanler Rutherfurd  

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Lucian Freud, The New Yorker (Figura 9). Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    “Lucian Freud was not a typical printmaker. He approached the etching plate in the same way he would a canvas, placing it upright in an easel and creating the image from life. The New Yorker – a wonderful example of his self-described ‘portrait-heads’ – is one of six masterful late etchings by Freud in the sale.” –John Maher 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Henri Matisse, Oceanie, la mer. Estimate $500,000–700,000.
    “Working closely with the textile designer Zika Ascher, Matisse created Océanie, la mer , along with its pendant panel, Océanie, le ciel, between 1946 and 1948. Inspired by the artist’s memories of a 1930 trip to Tahiti, the screenprint on linen panels is based on two cutout murals the artist pinned to the walls of his Paris apartment in the summer of 1946. They are considered to be his earliest works that employed the cutout on a monumental scale.” –John Maher 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Mary Cassatt, Baby Charles Looking Over His Mother’s Shoulder. Estimate $250,000–350,000.
    “This work is one of many counterproofs created by Cassatt during the early 20th century, with the encouragement of her publisher, Ambroise Vollard. By placing a damp sheet of Japan paper on a pastel drawing and running it through a lithographic press, the printer, Auguste Clot, was able to create a mirror image of the pastel without damaging the original. The counterproof reverses the image into a reconfigured composition of dissolving lines and soft, nuanced passages.” –John Maher 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • David Hockney, Hotel Acatlán: First Day (Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo 269). Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    Hotel Acatlán: First Day presents a brightly colored, panoramic view of the courtyard of the Hotel Romano Angeles in Acatlán, Mexico. Hockney’s stay at this hotel in 1984 was purely accidental. The artist’s car broke down while he was traveling to the opening of his exhibition at the Museo Rufino Tamayo. This, and a subsequent stay at the hotel later that year with the printer Kenneth Tyler, resulted in six lithographs, one etching and a painting of the hotel’s courtyard.” –Chanler Rutherfurd 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean). Estimate $25,000–45,000.
    “Vija Celmins’ Untitled (Ocean) depicts a vast, rhythmic and hypnotic expanse of ocean that appears to go on forever. The large margins act as a framing device. Celmins has returned repeatedly to the image of an ocean surface – according to the artist, ‘I do repeat the same image, but I see that every time I make it, it is in some way different...I remove a lot of obvious signs of expression, but my hand is still in there. Each maneuver and slight change adds a different emotional tone and feeling.’” (Vija Celmins quoted in The Prints of Vija Celmins, 2002) –Chanler Rutherfurd 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Andy Warhol, The Witch (F. & S. IIB.261). Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    “Margaret Hamilton posed for Warhol in 1980, resuming her role as the Wicked Witch of the West four decades after the release of The Wizard of Oz film. Warhol used the photographs as source material for his Myths series, a group of screenprints illustrating icons of contemporary culture. This impression , a trial proof aside from the numbered edition, is printed in shades of orange and black, conjuring up playful associations with Halloween.” –Hadley Newton 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • C. R. W. Nevinson, Banking at 4,000 Feet (L. Gall. 23; B. 20). Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    “Nevinson completed this lithograph , as well lots 81 , 82 and 83 , in 1917, while working as an official war artist for the Department of Information during World War I. The viewer is placed in the passenger’s seat, which dramatically reveals the veering plane and patchwork landscape beneath. This dynamic composition illustrates the influence of Futurism and Cubism on the artist’s style.”  –Hadley Newton 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Pablo Picasso, Taureau (Alain Ramié 255). Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    “Picasso’s ceramic works combine elements of his different practices: painting, printmaking and sculpture. Pablo Picasso’s Taureau , illustrates one of the artist’s most emblematic themes and encapsulates his experimentation with medium and form. Here, Picasso uses volume as an integral element of the work to create a piece that deserves to be seen in the round.” –Chanler Rutherfurd 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Max Ernst, Fiat modes pereat ars (Spies & Leppien 7). Estimate $80,000–120,000.
    “This rare portfolio of eight prints is one of the most important from the Dada movement, as well as the first piece by Ernst to employ lithography. Filled with illogical diagrams and absurd plays on words, the portfolio exemplifies the Dada mission to reject reason and logic in favor of nonsense and irrationality. Given its overtly anti-bourgeois sentiment, it is perhaps not surprising that the city of Cologne, which commissioned the work, ultimately did not publish it, leading Ernst to destroy the majority of the planned edition of 60.”  –John Maher 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Donald Judd, Untitled (Schellmann 118-123). Estimate $7,000–10,000.
    “This set of six prints, with its repetition of form and subtle manipulation of line, is immediately recognizable as work by Donald Judd. Upon close inspection, the viewer can see that Judd used aquatint to achieve a wonderfully textured black surface for each square.” –Hadley Newton 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

  • Portfolio, Artists for Obama. Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    “In 2008, Gemini G.E.L. teamed up with thirteen contemporary artists to print a portfolio on behalf of the Obama Victory Fund. This portfolio includes an exciting mix of figural and abstract prints by Jasper Johns, Julie Mehretu and Ed Ruscha, among others, and presents a great opportunity to start a contemporary print collection.” –Hadley Newton 

    Prints & Multiples

    26–27 April | New York

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