Discover 10 Undervalued Contemporary Artists

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Our upcoming Contemporary Art Online sale offers the opportunity to discover notable, exciting artists whose work has previously been less recognised by the auction market. Many of these exceptional artists can be seen at celebrated institutions, including Richard Hambleton, who currently has an exhibition on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Grace Hartigan, whose painting Theodora is being sold to benefit the Acquistions Fund of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Click ahead to learn more.

Contemporary Art Online
21 February–6 March | New York

Discover 10 Undervalued Contemporary Artists

  • Mary Bauermeister, St. One's II, 1966. Estimate $15,000–20,000.
    Created during the decade she lived in New York, St. One's II is an iconic example of Mary Bauermeister's lens boxes. The work was shown in 1967 at one of her earliest New York exhibitions at Galeria Bonino. The interplay of text, drawing, and sculptural elements is emblematic of Bauermeister's process and interest in the New York avant-garde of the period.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Elaine de Kooning, Bull Abstraction, 1958. Estimate $7,000–9,000.
    Elaine de Kooning's striking oeuvre is often overshadowed by that of her husband, Willem de Kooning. Exploring the tension between abstraction and figuration alongside the Abstract Expressionists, the bull referred to in the title of this painting can be found throughout her body of work. Elaine de Kooning's work is held in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Yvonne Thomas, Still Life, circa 1958. Estimate $7,000–9,000.
    Yvonne Thomas' Abstract Expressionist paintings grew out of her studies at Cooper Union and the Art Students League in New York. Her use of colour and structure was particularly influenced by Robert Motherwell and Hans Hofmann, with whom she studied for many years.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • James Brooks, Agway, 1965. Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    The bold colours and forms in James Brooks' Agway allude to the artist's time at the Arts Students League alongside fellow Abstract Expressionists. Brooks' participation in the WPA Federal Art Project introduced him to many prominent artists of the period including Jackson Pollock, whose iconic studio space on Eighth Street in the East Village he would later take over.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Grace Hartigan, Theodora, 1983. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    From the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Theodora is a large-scale example of the artist's exploration of the figure within abstracted space. In addition to inspiration from her Abstract Expressionist peers, Hartigan also drew inspiration from Old Masters, including El Greco and Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Hartigan shared her vast knowledge with the students of the Hoffberger Graduate School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, where she worked from 1965 until her death in 2008.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Angelo Savelli, Ascent #24, 1968. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    Angelo Savelli, a native of Italy, began using a monochromatic white palette in 1957, a few years after he moved to New York and was inspired by the minimal palette and line work of artists such as Ad Reinhardt and Barnett Newman. Savelli had contact with these and other artists of the Abstract Expressionist generation through the artists Phillip Pavia and Jack Tworkov. In 1958, Leo Castelli exhibited Savelli’s work in his legendary gallery, where artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg showed. Like Johns and Rauschenberg, Savelli began to incorporate found objects from the outside world in to his artwork, specifically rope, which referred to the fishing industry of his hometown and can be seen in the present work. 

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Billy Al Bengston, The Alamo - Yellow, 1969. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    Although he studied at the Los Angeles City College, the California College of Arts & Crafts, and Otis Art Institute, Billy Al Bengston was shaped by the widespread and prolific group of Los Angeles artists with whom he surrounded himself, including Peter Voulkos, Edward Kienholz, Ken Price, and Richard Diebenkorn. Bengston transformed his studio, which he referred to as the Artist Studio, into an exhibition space to showcase his peers' work alongside his own and sell pieces directly. The monochromatic palette and chevron symbols present in The Alamo - Yellow were developed in the 1960s, but Bengston continues to explore these themes in his current work.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Richard Hambleton, Fountain of Youth, circa 1984. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    Bold and viscerally present, Fountain of Youth features Richard Hambleton's signature "shadowman." Hambleton tagged the figure throughout lower Manhattan in the 1980s and on a variety of surfaces through his studio practice. Hambleton's work can currently be seen in the exhibition Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983  at the Museum of Modern Art in New York through 1 April.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Crash, A Spanish Banquet, circa 1995. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    Crash, also known as John Matos, was raised in the Bronx and began tagging trains in yards as a teenager. He transitioned to canvas in the early 1980s, when his work was featured in several gallery exhibitions. Specifically, he curated “Graffiti Art Success for America” at Fashion MODA in 1980, which was one of the first graffiti exhibitions, and featured artists including Futura and Lady Pink. 

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
  • Emma McGuire, Exhale, 2010. Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    Working primarily with photography, Emma McGuire’s body of work examines social and philosophical systems of identity, in particular those derived from the transition of Classicism into Contemporary thought. Underlying each image is the subject matter’s individual narrative, which has undergone deliberate alterations and has been incorporated with tactile materials, such as clay, wood, and metal. The visual manipulations and distortions seek to complicate our understanding of reality and the perceived subject matter, leading us to the impossibility of reaching any meaningful conclusion except our own perceived reading of the image. The essence of McGuire’s work is in the tension generated between the photographed subject and the spectator, with an intimacy created by blurred forms that facilitates a voyeuristic experience. McGuire grounds her work as, essentially, an investigation into the latent and hidden signs and signifiers that dictate and control our reading of images and ourselves.

    Contemporary Art Online
    21 February–6 March | New York
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