Highlights from Contemporary Art Online

Launch Slideshow

From Vik Muniz’s colourful reinterpretation of a Paul Gauguin painting to a whimsical geometric work by Op artist Victor Vasarely, the Contemporary Art Online auction features a striking selection of paintings, drawings, sculptures and objects by important artists at a variety of price points. Bidding takes place online, but we invite you to come see the art in our New York galleries, where it will be on view 10–21 July alongside property from a series of summertime auctions. Click ahead to preview a unique selection of contemporary artworks before the full online catalogue is revealed.

Contemporary Art Online 
7–21 July

Highlights from Contemporary Art Online

  • Pat Steir, Untitled, 1995. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    This painting is a part of Steir’s acclaimed Waterfall series, in which the artist pours paint on a canvas to create textured, abstract compositions evocative of cascading water. She began this series after meeting Conceptual artist John Cage, who encouraged her to introduce processes into her painting which allowed for unintended affects. She was also inspired by the work of Yi-pin painters of the 8th and 9th century who splashed ink on paper. The inscription on this work notes that it was painted for Tom McEvilley, the artist’s longtime friend and author of her monograph.

    “These and other recent works show Steir’s steadfast commitment to the legitimacy of American painting, and her desire to connect it intimately with the nineteenth-century European tradition as well as Asian traditions that more distantly apply to it.” Thomas McEvilley, Pat Steir, New York, 1995, p.73

  • Alexander Calder, Brooch, 1940. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    Alexander Calder made jewellery throughout his life, often as personal gifts for his family and friends, imbuing these pieces with an intimate and sentimental significance. This brooch includes one of the most prevalent and recognizable compositional elements of Calder’s oeuvre – the spiral, an organic shape with primordial associations.

  • Sean Scully, Untitled, 2002. Estimate $18,000–25,000.
    The Irish-born, New York based painter is known for his intimate, abstract compositions of carefully laid blocks or stripes of colour. This untitled watercolour reveals the artist’s attentiveness to the formal qualities pioneered by the Abstract Expressionists, as well as an acute sense of tonality reminiscent of Old Master paintings.

  • Jean-Paul Riopelle, Vente D’Ouest, 1958. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle moved from Montreal to Paris in 1947 to study European Modernism. The present work reflects his involvement in Lyrical Abstraction, a French movement which sought to infuse abstract painting with emotive, subjective qualities. This painting’s title Vente d’Ouest (West Wind) reveals Riopelle’s sensitive and poetic tendencies.

  • Vik Muniz, Day of Gods (Mahana no. Atua) after Gaugin, 2006. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    This print comes from the artist’s series Pictures of Pigment, in which Muniz recreates well-known paintings by arranging colour on a flat surface and photographing the final product. In the present example, Muniz appropriates one of Paul Gauguin’s most famous Tahitian landscapes, Day of the Gods (Mahana No Atua), in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Victor Vasarely, Axo-Csillag, 1992. Estimate $50,000–70,000.
    Vasarely is considered to be one of the founders of Op Art, a movement which emerged in the 1960s and explored the optical effects of abstract forms. This painting comes from his Axo series of works that incorporate the square as a basic unit that is multiplied and permutated to create a complex geometric composition. Axo-Csillag captures the whimsical, checkered and brightly colored aesthetic of the American design firm of MacKenzie-Childs, whose founders have lived with this painting alongside many of their own designs for years.

  • Yves Klein, Table Monopinktm, after 1963. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    Beginning in the 1950s, Klein began to make monochromatic works as a way of illustrating the infinite and immaterial. The table, produced posthumously and according to the artist's designs, is a continuation of Klein’s monochrome works and a testament to the artist’s conceptual vision.

  • Tauba Auerbach, D, 2005. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    D is one of a series of text-based drawings by Auerbach that tests the aesthetic parameters of traditional calligraphy and interrogates the formal aspects of language. The artist had her first solo exhibition at New Image Art in Los Angeles in 2005, where she showed works from this series.

  • Andy Warhol, Untitled (Seated Woman), 1950s. Estimate $15,000–20,000.
    Delicately rendered in washes of ink, Untitled (Seated Women) offers an intimate domestic portrait. Created in the 1950s, during the artist’s career as a commercial illustrator, the work demonstrates Warhol’s deft abilities as a draftsman and exposes an interest in simplicity of form that is often overshadowed by his later dramatic Pop artworks.

  • Hernan Bas, In the Woods, A Bridge, 2005. Estimate $7,000–9,000.
    Bas creates works that have a mythical, Romantic quality that conjures associations with such 19th-century European artists as Caspar David Freidriech and Philippe Otto Runge. However, Bas’s gestural brushwork, informed by Abstract Expressionism, sets his paintings apart as thoroughly idiosyncratic.

  • Robert Morris, Untitled from Blind Time Drawings IV: Drawing with Davidson, 1991. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    This work emerged from a series of Blind Time works begun in 1973, in which the artist would blindfold himself and use his hands to spread graphite, charcoal and other pigments on a piece of paper according to a set of predetermined directives. For this example from the fourth iteration of the experiment in 1991, the artist recreated works from the original series, following the same sets of instructions to varying affects. The painting includes a legend with the instructions Morris followed, along with a quotation by Donald Davidson, a philosopher noted for his contributions to field of action theory. Spanning over thirty years, this series demonstrates Morris’ dedicated and evolving engagement with the field of Conceptual art. The present work comes from the collection of Carter Ratcliff, an American art critic and scholar of Morris’ work.
    “As I said, artists’ intentions are at least partially unconscious. With the exception of those happy to settle into a rut, artists try to bring their intentions to light—to clarify and strengthen and, it may be, reinvent them.” Carter Ratcliffe quoted in Carter Ratcliffe, “What is Art—and Why Even Ask?,” The Brooklyn Rail, September 4, 2013


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