Contemporary Living Online: Specialists Pick Prints, Design & Photographs

Launch Slideshow

This July, Sotheby’s will present its third annual Contemporary Living auction. Featuring a curated selection of 20th-century prints, photographs and design, the sale offers a prime opportunity for new and experienced collectors alike to acquire work by major artists at accessible price points. The works will be on view alongside property from other Sotheby's online sales in our New York galleries from 10-19 July. Before the full online catalogue is revealed on 6 July, click ahead to discover the must-see pieces chosen by specialists representing each of the sale’s three categories.

Contemporary Living: Photographs, Design, and Prints Online
6–19 July

Contemporary Living Online: Specialists Pick Prints, Design & Photographs

  • William Helburn, Lipstick Bullet (Joanna McCormick). Starting bid $4,800.
    “This photograph perfectly captures William Helburn’s work: playful, colourful and perfectly emblematic of Mad Men post-war style.” –Aimee Pflieger, Head of Online Sales, Specialist, Photographs 

  • Frank Stella, Nemrik. Starting bid $2,800.
    “Artist Frank Stella and master printer Kenneth Tyler played a significant role in the development of twentieth-century American printmaking. In their hands and minds, printmaking moved from a studio that was mostly based on traditional methods to an international art form capable of endless invention. From the Near East series (1997-2000), Nemrik is a strong example of this dynamic collaboration.”  –Helen Hatch, Specialist, Prints

  • Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, “Lc4” Lounge Chair. Starting bid $3,000.
    “This chair was designed in 1928 and became the ultimate icon of a lounge chair, named ‘Resting machine’ by its designer. Perfectly balancing form and function, the structure of the chair follows the form of the body, and the angle is adjusted by sliding the chromed steel frame on its base.” –Daphné Riou, AVP, Specialist, Head of Sale, 20th Century Design

  • Max Yavno, Muscle Beach. Starting bid $4,000.
    “Yavno specialised in street photography, and this is arguably his most well-known image. If you look closely, you can see a woman being thrown into the air by two muscle-bound gents.” –Aimee Pflieger, Head of Online Sales, Specialist, Photographs 

  • Ed Ruscha, Made in California. Starting bid $20,000.
    “I loved this print when I first saw it and was struck by not only the specificity of the colour, but also the liquid, visceral texture of the words. Ruscha’s deft rendering of them in this lithograph, using just a few tones, is a testament to his skill in the medium. I also later learned that the artist matched the colour of the ink to a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Given his penchant for double entendre, I can only imagine that the juice, like the print itself, was made in California.” –John Maher, Associate Specialist, Prints 

  • Nanny Still, Collection of Seven Vases. Starting bid $7,000.
    “Nanny Still is one of the important modern Finnish designers of glass and ceramics, and these brightly coloured glass bottles are her signature pieces. Designed by Riihimäen Lasi Oy, they are as brilliant as gemstones and epitomise Still’s both functional and decorative glass.” –Daphné Riou, AVP, Specialist, Head of Sale, 20th Century Design

  • Massimo Vitali, ‘Amadores 3’ (#1996). Starting bid $16,000.
    “This Spanish beach, populated by colourful sun-seekers, is endlessly interesting to me. Bright colours that pop against the pale sand is a hallmark of the artist’s work.”  –Aimee Pflieger, Head of Online Sales, Specialist, Photographs 

  • Donald Sultan, Six Red Flowers. Starting bid $3,500.
    “This Donald Sultan is one of my favourite works in the sale, and I particularly love his use of a powdery, textural red in contrast to his earlier black and white graphic work. While the subject of flowers is recognisable and commonplace, Sultan transforms the still-life into something more ambiguous by flattening the composition, his use of cropping and his over scale, close-up treatment of the subject.” –Chanler Rutherfurd, Associate Cataloguer, Prints 

  • Hans J. Wegner, “Peacock” Chair. Starting bid $1,500.
    “Designed by Hans Wegner in 1947, this chair was named the ‘Peacock’ chair by Finn Juhl when he first saw it, and the designation stuck to it. The high-arched back and flat cylinders, which look like a peacock, are aesthetic and functional: the cylinders are placed to support the shoulder blades of the sitter.” –Daphné Riou, AVP, Specialist, Head of Sale, 20th Century Design

  • Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Untitled (Young Girl with Candy Cigarettes). Starting bid $2,800.
    “This photograph, one of my all-time favourites, was taken while Ishimoto was studying at Chicago’s famous Institute of Design. Ishimoto managed to capture this statuesque young girl’s dress billowing in the wind at just the right moment.” –Aimee Pflieger, Head of Online Sales, Specialist, Photographs

  • Andy Warhol, $ (1). Starting bid $20,000.
    “As with his Campbell’s Soup Cans and his portraits of celebrities, Warhol’s $ (1) from 1982 is concerned with the semiotic power of cultural icons and symbols that comprise everyday life. The dollar sign is probably one of the most recognisable symbols in the world and is an emblem of capitalism and consumerism, a symbol of wealth and power. Here, Warhol plays with the relationship between art and commerce, allowing the owner to literally put their money on the wall.” –Chanler Rutherfurd, Associate Cataloguer, Prints  

  • Jean Prouvé, Desk. Starting bid $6,000.
    “This desk epitomises Prouvé’s minimalist designs. Its geometrical shape, austere simplicity and contrasting materials illustrate Prouvé’s great sense of efficiency, in line with the rationalism of industrial production.” –Daphné Riou, AVP, Specialist, Head of Sale, 20th Century Design

  • Saul Leiter, Haircut (Through Boards). Starting bid $4,000.
    “Saul Leiter’s pioneering colour photographs of the 1950s look just as innovative today as they must have been when he took them. I love the way his photographs resemble abstract paintings.” –Aimee Pflieger, Head of Online Sales, Specialist, Photographs 

  • Keith Haring, Silence = Death. Starting bid $9,500.
    “Based on a painting of the same title, Silence = Death was published by the Outreach Fund for Aids, and both the painting and the edition of 200 screenprints were created in 1989 when Haring was suffering from AIDS and just a year before he succumbed to the disease. The prominent pink triangle in the composition appropriates the sign used by the Nazis to designate homosexuals in concentration camps during the Holocaust and serves as a stark symbol of the consequences the work’s title alluded to.” –John Maher, Associate Specialist, Prints 

  • Arman, Low Table. Starting bid $15,000.
    “This table reflects how Arman re-appropriated and accumulated unexpected manufactured objects to form a sculpture or a decorative piece. Musical instruments are the most recurrent theme in Arman’s œuvre.” –Daphné Riou, AVP, Specialist, Head of Sale, 20th Century Design


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