Exceptional Highlights from Contemporary Art Online

10 JULY 2019 – 18 JULY 2019 | NEW YORK
Launch Slideshow

S otheby's is pleased to announce Contemporary Art Online from July 10–18. Including works by renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Lisa Yuskavage, Sherrie Levine, Mary Heilmann, Sam Gilliam, Richard Hambleton, among others, this sale offers the opportunity to acquire works at accessible price points below $100,000. A selection of highlights will be on view in our New York galleries from July 10-18. Other works are available to be viewed at our New York offices. Please contact us directly with any viewing requests.

Exceptional Highlights from Contemporary Art Online

  • Nicholas Krushenick, Hong Kong, 1962
    Estimate $15,000–20,000

    “Nicholas Krushenick made paintings that are simultaneously idiosyncratic and inevitable, melding Pop and abstraction seemingly before anyone else thought to do it—a fusion that has survived its original moment to seem more vital than ever… By 1962, the artist had set his course with the imagery and spatial intervals that we recognize as his signature style: shapes are outlined in black, colors are high-key and flat, and, while some forms undulate, a threshold space often abuts the stretcher bars, establishing a rectilinear geometry that plays against the quasi-organic shapes…Krushenick’s paintings are akin to representation in the way they expose and tie their own perceptual operations to their thingness, but the works never become something we’re sure we know.” (Stephen Westfall, “Inventing Pop Abstraction,”Art In America, Feburary 2015)
  • Thomas Downing, Untitled, 1972
    Estimate $10,000–15,000

    Thomas Downing was an American artist best known for his geometric patterns and participation with the Washington Color School of the 1960s, which included artists Kenneth Noland, Morris Louis and Sam Gilliam, among others. In 1951, with the aid of the grant funding, Downing worked as a studio assistant for Fernand Léger in Paris and began developing his own painting style that derived from his studies of artists like Willem de Kooning and Mark Tobey. By the early 1960s, Downing began producing canvases that were composed of grids and circles of dots of varying color, a motif scheme that has become the most recognizable in his oeuvre.
  • Ilya Bolotowsky, Remembrance, 1947
    Estimate $20,000–30,000

    Russian-born painter Ilya Bolotowsky is known for his geometric compositions and as a founding member of the American Abstract Artists. Bolotowsky immigrated to the United States in 1923, where he began studying at the National Academy of Design in New York City and would work as a textile designer while pursuing his own artistic pursuits. In the 1930s the artist came into contact with and was heavily influenced by the work of Mondrian and Miró, shaping his work from then on. Remembrance is one of the few remaining examples of the artist’s work from the 1940s, carrying a distinct rather than descriptive title as was later his tendency, and compositionally reflecting his transition between his biomorphic and geometric periods by incorporating distinct elements from both styles.
  • Sam Francis, Untitled (Self Portrait), 1974
    Estimate $15,000–20,000

    Sam Francis was associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. However, unlike many American painters of the time he had direct and prolonged exposure to French painting and to Japanese art which had an individual impact on his work. In his works, a sense of order can be discerned amidst the seeming haphazard splashing of color.
  • Joe Goode, Untitled, 1978-81
    Estimate $25,000–35,000

    Joe Goode is known for his participation with the Light and Space movement of the 1960s, which focused on changes in perception via geometry and light and originated as a West Coast iteration of the larger Minimalist movement that proliferated during that time. Among its notable members were James Turrell, Robert Irwin and Larry Bell. Untitled was created as part of his Environmental Impact series, executed in the 1970s and early 80s. Goode used a specific pattern to create his canvases in order to both have control and leave room for spontaneity in his art. The artist’s desire is to succeed in making it look like “nobody painted it… if it could just look like a phenomenon in and of itself, that would be great!”
  • Jean Dubuffet, Chameau entravé au désert, 1948
    Estimate $12,000–18,000

    Jean Dubuffet is primarily known today for his experimental use of non-traditional materials on canvas and as the founder of the Art brut movement, which cultivated his interest for “low art” and highlighted marginalized figures such as children, the mentally ill and the outcast. Chameau entravé au desert is from the body of work Dubuffet produced while in Algeria in the late 1940s. Dubuffet’s work from the period frequently depicts camels and dromedaries, gazelles and palm trees, as well as portraits of locals and their activities.
  • Joseph Cornell, Untitled [2 Works], 1961
    Estimate $4,000–6,000

    “[Cornell] had a deeply sensory and emotional understanding of and ability to link the natural, man-made, and poetic, and even the loosest consideration of synesthesia recognizes it as an associational and experiential union of the senses that expands knowledge and memory… Intrinsically, Cornell understood that our minds construct concepts primarily as sensory, experienced images rather than abstractions. Our thoughts, feelings, and memories are largely imagistic in form, and metaphor – whether for Cornell or each of us – is a bridge that we build between internal images and language, if we interpret language as art, music, writing, science, and even technology. And, as Cornell knew so deeply, sensory experience relates closely to spiritual experience because it moves us from the intellectual to the perceptual.” (Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination, p. 87)
  • Conrad Marca-Relli, Untitled, circa 1975
    Estimate $15,000–20,000

    In his 1963 monograph on Conrad Marca-Relli, H.H. Arnason describes the moment in the artist’s career when, in the early 1950s, Marca-Relli abandoned his de Chirico influenced cityscapes, full of dust, melancholy, and noonday ghosts, for his signature paint-and-canvas collages. These works, for which the artist is justly celebrated, rank amongst the finest achievements of the New York School Abstract Expressionists. His works from the period are evenly filled with incident, but with individual forms rigorously subordinate to the composition of the whole. Unlike some of his peers in the New York school, Marca-Relli’s mode of painting and collage was not necessarily expressive. His surfaces are built by fragment and increment in such a manner that it is easy to compare Marca-Relli’s palate of brown and pepper-grey to that of Cubism.
  • Sam Gilliam, Black Painting, 1980
    Estimate $30,000–40,000

    “My work consists of solids and veils: the union of solids, or metal forms, seen as volumes against a raked and grooved paint surface. It is constructed painting, in that it crosses the void between object and viewer, to be part of the space in front of the picture plane. It represents an act of pure passage. The surface is no longer the final plane of the work. It is instead the beginning of an advance into the theater of life.” (Sam Gilliam, with Annie Gawlak, “Solids and Veils,” Art Journal, 50:1, Spring 1991, pp. 10)
  • David Salle, Harmless Grift, 2008
    Estimate $40,000–60,000

    Gaining attention in the early 1980s, David Salle’s neo-expressionist works stress a return to figuration prominent also among his contemporaries Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente. Using various sources, the artist produces collage-like large-scale canvases combining a Pop Art vocabulary with surrealistic metaphor to lay out colorful compositions in an uncomplicated style. Mixing themes and images that are attributed meaning by way of the larger structure, Salle constructs to tie them together, his work can be seen as representative of the onslaught of media culture in our modern world.
  • Ken Price, Specimen (G2103.13), 1963
    Estimate $5,000–7,000

    “By turning to paint and lacquer so early, Price signaled that his works should be read as both painting and sculpture. He turned as well to drawing during the early 1960s – usually cups and eggs with minimal backgrounds. Drawing continued to be an important activity for him in working out the possibilities of many of his sculptures.” (Stephanie Barron, “Lumps, Bumps, Grooves, and Curves: Fifty Years of Ken Price Sculpture, Ken Price Sculpture, p. 23)
  • Richard Hambleton, Shadow Head Portrait (Pink), circa 1990
    Estimate $12,000–18,000

    An American-Canadian graffiti artist, Richard Hambleton initially attracted public attention by painting faux crime-scene outlines of bodies on pavements. In the early 1980s, Hambleton painted buildings in the Lower East Side of New York City alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, during which time the artist also began to portray iterations of his highly recognized Shadowman figures onto found objects and canvases. According to the artist, “they could represent watchmen or danger or the shadows of a human body after a nuclear holocaust or even my own shadow."
  • Richard Hambleton, Untitled, circa 2000-02
    Estimate $25,000–35,000

    Richard Hambleton’s work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in 1984 and 1985, and as part of the Venice Biennales of 1984 and 1988, respectively, where he painted his signature shadowmen across Venice. A subsequent tour of Europe brought his figures to the streets of Paris, Rome and London. He also travelled to Berlin to paint seventeen life-size shadowmen on the eastern side of Berlin Wall, returning a year later to paint more on the western side. The Shadowman stands as a symbol of a moment in time, an instantly recognizable figure that will forever permeate our psyche.
  • Rammellzee, Antares, circa 1983
    Estimate $40,000–60,000

    Rammellzee was a prominent figure in the New York Street Art scene in the 1980s alongside Basquiat and Keith Haring. The American artist is known for his graffiti and mixed-media sculptures, as well as a pioneer of early Hip Hop, recording Beat Bop with K-Rob in 1983. Rammellzee is known for his theory of Gothic Futurism, which contends that when liberated from linguistic structures, individual letters can be potent self-signifying enigmas. With spiky lettering, he describes a battle between letters and the standardization imposed by the rules of the alphabet: “The idea is to read this stuff, for humans to have something to read, not just blow them away."
  • Futura, Pink Opus, 1989
    Estimate $20,000–30,000

    Futura is the street artist moniker of Leonard McGurr. McGurr began his art career as a graffiti artist in the 1970s, and exhibited at the Fun Gallery alongside his contemporaries, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The present work demonstrates Futura’s technical skill as a graffiti artist as it translates to the canvas. McGurr’s work is exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderna Bologna, the Musée de Vire in France and the Museum of the City of New York.
  • James Nares, I Like the Wind, 2008
    Estimate $50,000–70,000

    James Nares’ multi-media practice informs a unique approach to themes relating to movement, gravity and the unfolding of time. Nares is best known for paintings of brushstrokes that interrupt an otherwise monochromatic background. Inspired by the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Nares emphasizes gesture and the movement of the paint on the canvas and focuses on precision to relentlessly achieve the sense of weightlessness he desires.
  • Katherine Bernhardt, Hello, Hello, 2015
    Estimate $30,000–50,000

    Katherine Bernhardt initially appeared on the artistic stage by way of portraits of fashion models and celebrities she pulled from magazines and advertisements in an exploration of popular culture. Her more recent works stand out for their patterns, bright colors and mingling of everyday items on large-scale canvases. “They’re just good colors and shapes,” Bernhardt says. “Look at a sock: it’s got really good colors, white with red and blues stripes. Toilet paper is a squarish oval. A cigarette is a line. A dorsal fin is a triangle and so is a Dorito” (Kerr, Dylan, “The Best Painters Don’t Intellectualize Their Art," interview with Katherine Bernhardt, 19 September 2015). Bernhardt’s focus is primarily related to vibrating associations between contrasting objects, inspired by Dutch wax printing on African fabrics. This aesthetic fascination extends to a business Bernhardt maintains which imports Berber rugs from Morocco.
  • Sherrie Levine, Salubra 2, 2009
    Estimate $80,000–120,000

    Inspired by the color charts Le Corbusier conceived for Swiss wallpaper company Salubra in 1931, Sherrie Levine's Salubra 2 is a tour de force of contemporary conceptual art. For the architect Le Corbusier, each series consisted of 14 tones interacting constructively to make 'keyboards' of different color schemes. Having used historical paintings as his inspiration for each color, in her adaptation, Levine continues the theme of appropriation. Each work in her Salubra series of 6 consists of 14 monochrome mahogany panels set against distinct backgrounds. In isolating each series and removing it from the original context, she explores the subtle effects of individual groupings of colors. Levine gives the sequences a modern reinterpretation, and no less under the authorship of a female artist who often appropriates the work of deceased male artists.
  • Luis Tomasello, Objet Plastique No. 885, 2008
    Estimate $15,000–20,000

    “The shape gives rise to the color, which is transformed from vision into sensation; it is projected into space, where it tints the atmosphere, and becomes iridescent on touching the plane. The movement is caused, not merely by the position of the viewer, but above all by the intensity and motion of the illumination. Sunlight – natural light, in other words – is ideal for appreciating the magical, infinite values of these plastic three-dimensional objects.” (Luis Tomasello, statement for Nouvelle tendance, 1964, cited in Serge Lemoine, Tomasello: Visible structure and reflected color, Miami 2012, p. 8)
  • Enoc Perez, Marina Towers, Chicago, 2011
    Estimate $30,000–50,000

    Puerto Rican artist Enoc Perez was born the son of an art critic and introduced to art history at an early age. Echoes of this early exposure is evident in the artist’s fascination of classic art historical themes relating to the pursuit of beauty, pleasure and the concept of utopia, recalling the leisure paintings typical of 19th century Europe. These themes are explored in Perez’s work via nudes, still lifes and architectural landscapes. Marina Towers, Chicago is an example of his architecturally-focused subjects which are interested in the utopic constructions of the 20th century and demonstrate his interest in the Warholian silkscreen tradition by overlapping images of the iconic structure.
  • Rachel Howard, Vena Puncture, 2004
    Estimate $30,000–40,000

    The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger Sold to Benefit Teiger Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Art

    Rachel Howard uses gravity to execute her signature style, pouring paint vertically onto her canvases and using a brush to create layers and striations that leave a glossy appearance to her work. Producing both representational and abstract works, Howard is versatile in her reflections on recurrent themes of violence, mortality and religion. She describes her work as “not about a bacchanalian violence, but rather the acts of a steady calm hand on a greater scale: maximum damage, planned and calmly carried out; hence the slow slice through the alizarin crimson oil paint, exposing the fluorescent beneath, the repetition of the act of painting mimics the repetition of violence.” (Rachel Howard in Paintings of Violence (Why I am not a mere Christian), Mass MoCA, February 2018 – March 2019)
  • Arturo Herrera, Untitled [3 Works], 2002
    Estimate $10,000–15,000

    The History of Now: The Collection of David Teiger Sold to Benefit Teiger Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Art

    "Herrera's melting, weblike pieces are haunted by familiar ghosts that never declare themselves. In one of the more convoluted methods of post-1980's appropriation, their melded motifs are extracted from Disney cartoons (especially ''Snow White'') and overlaid with flowing linear skeins that suggest ink spills. They could be nicknamed ''Wet Pollocks,'' after Dali's ''Wet Watches,'' and evoke Surrealist techniques like collage, automatic drawing and image-defacement...[these works] clarify Mr. Herrera's astute and seamless hybrid of high and low, hermetic and ingratiating, and found, made and reproduced." (Roberta Smith, "ART IN REVIEW; Arturo Herrera," New York Times, May 17, 2002)
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