First Look: 20th-Century Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel

Joan Miró: First Look: 20th-Century Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel
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Entrepreneur and philanthropist Morton Mandel, together with his wife Barbara, amassed an enviable collection of art by such 20th-century giants as Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, David Smith and Donald Judd. Click ahead to preview highlights from a special Evening sale of 26 masterworks from the collection, which will be sold to benefit the Mandel Foundation.

Raising The Bar: Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel
16 May | New York

First Look: 20th-Century Masterworks from the Collection of Morton and Barbara Mandel

  • Joan Miró, Femme, oiseau, 1969-74
    Estimate: $10,000,000-15,000,000
    One of the great masterpieces of Joan Miró’s late career, Femme, oiseau  recalls the work of the abstract expressionists on whom the artist had been a great influence. Dating from 1969-1974, the arresting oil is a poetic example of abstraction at its most daring with expressive brushwork instead of the women, stars, birds and moons that had been found in his earlier painting. Miró builds the present composition using a pictorial lexicon of signs and symbols, while still referencing recognizable objects, such as human figures. Working with thick lines and monochromatic spaces as his central compositional elements, Miró fully explored the possibilities of movement within a two dimensional field.

  • Barnett Newman, Untitled, 1960
    Estimate: $800,0000-1,200,000
    A dramatic work on paper, Barnett Newman’s Untitled  is one of a limited number of drawings the artist executed in 1960 that would inform the stunning works comprised in his momentous exhibition of The Stations of the Cross in 1966. The work is an intimate example of the artist’s revolutionary vertical ‘zip’ that would become his central visual motif. Untitled has been exhibited at many of the world’s foremost institutions including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate in London, the Grand Palais and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others.

  • Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1969
    Estimate: $7,000,000-10,000,000
    Mark Rothko’s 1969 work-on-paper is an archetypal embodiment of the artist’s legendary color-field compositions and was created the year before his death. While much of Rothko’s late work was characterized by a dark palette, Untitled boasts a ground of brilliant red emerging from serene fields of white and a warm orange. The cloud-like form of gestural white brushwork lends this example a stirring presence, testifying to the immense power of this medium for the artist who, in the twilight years of his career, focused his energies upon exploring the absolute limits of painting on paper. Untitled represents the exquisite culmination of Rothko’s career-long pursuit of aesthetic transcendence through the conflation of pure color and light.

  • Willem de Kooning, Untitled VI, 1980
    Estimate: $8,000,000-12,000,000
    Untitled VI  dates from the watershed period when de Kooning returned to painting after a period in which he focused on sculpture. The 1978 work explodes with color executed in lush, sensuous paint strokes which denote the artist’s wealth of creativity and great resurgence of confidence in his masterful manipulation of oil paint during this time.

  • Roy Lichtenstein, Still Life with Head in Landscape, 1976
    Estimate: $7,000,000-10,000,000
    With compressed space and symbols echoing many of the movements’ masters, the enduring influence of Surrealism is evident in Roy Lichtenstein’s Still Life with Head in Landscape from 1976. The cropped comic strip speech bubble floats away from the artist’s iconic blonde girl, who seduces the viewer from within a dream landscape amidst an array of important Surrealist motifs such as the pyramid, moon, starfish, apple, tree and sailboat. A paragon of the artist’s celebrated Surrealist paintings, Still Life with Head in Landscape is one of few works from this series remaining in private hands, with many held in renowned institutional collections such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, among others. 

  • Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1964
    Estimate: $2,000,000-3,000,000
    The Mandels first saw Andy Warhol’s Flowers  hanging behind Leo Castelli’s desk during a visit to his gallery. The legendary dealer at first refused to sell the work as it was from his personal collection but relented six months later. The 1964 work is a prime example of the Flower series, which was a significant departure towards the abstract both aesthetically and thematically for Warhol following the Death and Disaster series of the early 1960s. Executed in an intensely blue palette crisply rendered against a brilliant green background, Flowers is an exceptionally vibrant example from this renowned body of work.

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