Jonathan Saunders of Diane von Furstenberg Selects Sotheby’s Prints

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Launch Slideshow

After attending The Glasgow School of Art and Central Saint Martins and working for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Pucci and his eponymous company, Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders knows a thing or two about prints. Last year, Saunders closed his twelve-year-old namesake line and moved to New York to join Diane von Furstenberg as the heritage brand’s first chief creative officer. “I knew Diane for several years, and I’d always admired her understanding of women and her appreciation for how clothes make you feel,” says Saunders of his natural transition to taking the creative reins at DVF. “Such a strong part of the brand’s DNA and identity is about screen printing, which is very dear to my heart.” Given Saunders’s extensive background in prints, he was the perfect creative to lend his inimitable eye for colour and pattern to Sotheby’s April Prints & Multiples sale. Click ahead to discover his favourite works from the auction and the artists who most inspire him. –Stephanie Sporn

Prints & Multiples
27–28 April | New York

Jonathan Saunders of Diane von Furstenberg Selects Sotheby’s Prints

  • Henri Matisse, Poésies (Duthuit BK. 5). Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    “Matisse is one of my favourite artists of all time. For me, he has a powerful sense of colour, but what’s interesting about these works is that they don’t include any colour. The book is comprised of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poetry, alongside mythological-inspired illustrations by Matisse in his characteristic, unpretentious style.”

  • Tom Wesselmann, Monica with Tulips. Estimate $7,000–10,000.
    “Wesselmann is an iconic figure of the Pop Art movement. I’ve always been enamoured by his use of colour and the energy in his freehand drawing. In fact, I referenced him in the first collection I ever made.”  

  • Marc Chagall, The Trampled Flowers (M. 342). Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    “Chagall is quite personal for me. His work was featured in the first art book that I bought. I found it in a secondhand shop in Glasgow, Scotland when I was about eight or nine years old, and the book’s cover was Trampled Flowers. I was drawn to its dreaminess; the uncomfortable nature of that colour and the acidic but beautiful combination of colours together.”

  • After Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (Head). Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    “When I think of Basquiat, I think of that moment in New York in the 1970s and 1980s where creativity was spawned in the grit of the city. I think of his work's beauty, diversity, colour combinations and playfulness, but also how it’s actually a bit frightening. The spontaneity of the line can look quite aggressive. The collision of that make’s quite a beautiful body of work. It’s so raw, confrontational and visceral. In fact some of the pieces from the DVF Fall 2017 collection were inspired by Basquiat’s drawings.” 

  • David Hockney, Red Celia (M.C.A.T. 267). Estimate $25,000–35,000.
    “This is one of many portraits Hockney painted of Celia Birtwell, whom he was very close with. I’ve always loved his Pop works, and the brushwork here is superb.” 

  • Frank Stella, Squid. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    “What I love about Frank Stella’s work, and how it has been quite influential, is the simplicity of all the forms,and at the same time, their complexity. When there’s depth in the collage, when it becomes three dimensional, it all of a sudden relates to the shape of a body or how it would translate into something when it was worn as a garment. I’m particularly moved by his later work, like this one, which moved away from a minimal aesthetic.”

  • Joan Miró, Les Grandes Manoeuvres (Dupin 575). Estimate $30,000–50,000.
    “For his forward-thinking approach, Miró is one of my favourite artists. His use of colour is both harsh and beautiful at the same time.”

  • Francis Bacon, L’homme au lavabo (Sabatier 3). Estimate $14,000–18,000.
    “Bacon was a fearless artist and remains a hero of mine. His work truly encapsulates everything that is honest about the human condition.”   

  • Jim Dine, A Magenta Robe, A Rose Robe (D’Oench and Feinberg 56). Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    “Dine used clothing as iconography, with an obsessive repetition in various colours and incarnations. Here, he used a simple bathrobe to create an abstract version of a self-portrait. How he used a garment to achieve this is quite interesting to me as a designer.”

  • Andy Warhol, Satyric Festival Song (SEE F. & S. II.387). Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    ”Warhol’s method is probably the closest to the way that I love to work: flat colour, screen-printed, misregistration to create new colour combinations that were not planned or expected. I like this piece because you would never think it’s by Andy Warhol, and yet it is. He continues to surprise us to this day, and I think that’s a sign of true artistic talent.”

  • Keith Haring, Silence = Death (L. P. 152). Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    “I loved how democratic Haring’s approach was and how chalk drawings on the subway in New York allowed people to connect with art without any elitism. Work like that also eradicated the monetary value associated with art. There was an element of street painting, and the cartoon-like quality of his work made it approachable and dynamic. He used humour to talk about poignant issues.”

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