Koons, Calder, Basquiat and More from Contemporary Art Evening

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From Minimalist masterworks by Robert Ryman and Agnes Martin, to arresting Pop statements by Robert Indiana and Jeff Koons, the breadth of artistic achievement of the Contemporary period is on full display in the upcoming Contemporary Art Evening Auction. Click ahead for a look at some of the sale’s highlights.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction
16 November | New York 

Koons, Calder, Basquiat and More from Contemporary Art Evening

  • Jeff Koons, New Hoover Celebrity IV, New Hoover Convertible, New Shelton 5 Gallon Wet/Dry, New Shelton 10 Gallon Wet/Dry Doubledecker, 1981-1986. Estimate $7,000,000–10,000,000.
    Arranged in two precise rows, the dignified metal spines and graceful curves of New Hoover Celebrity IV, New Hoover Convertible, New Shelton 5 Gallon Wet/Dry, New Shelton 10 Gallon Wet/Dry Doubledecker achieve a startling and timeless beauty. Securely positioned within the 1980s dual preoccupation with commerce and futuristic technology, these machines – at the forefront of domestic technology for their time – exist as monuments to modern industrial design. Yet sealed behind glass, protected from the very dirt and grime they are intended to remove, these vacuum cleaners become icons of virginal purity, rather than the utilitarian items they are designed to be. 



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Agnes Martin, Untitled #5, 1981. Estimate $6,000,000–8,000,000.
    Dating from a seminal period of Agnes Martin’s prodigious artistic production, Untitled #5 is a painting of unparalleled sophistication and painterly finesse. Subtly lining the canvas in slender bands, exquisite lines of powder blue, hazy pink, and shimmering ivory alternate without articulating a determined pattern, allowing the viewer to immerse him or herself in the variegated rhythm of Martin’s precise lines. Within an oeuvre defined by precise and exacting fidelity to Minimalism and abstract purity, the implication of chance in these hypnotic striations of diaphanous color renders Untitled #5 truly exceptional in the artist’s later practice.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Joan Mitchell, Ste. Hilaire, 1957. Estimate $6,000,000–8,000,000.
    Although Mitchell’s paintings reflect the gestural style and technical idiom of her male Abstract Expressionist peers, her output is simultaneously grounded in landscape and the beauty of nature, much like the European Impressionists, resulting in a unique style that invited such labels as Post-Cubism or Abstract Impressionism. Beneath her brush, the canvas of Ste. Hilaire transforms into a performative arena in which she has staged a furiously orchestrated symphony of chromatic activity. Breathtaking in its painterly bravura, Ste. Hilaire constitutes a remarkable sensory engagement with nature, reveals Mitchell’s artistic fervor and personal turmoil, and provides an endlessly engrossing and dynamic visual experience.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Ed Ruscha, Brave Man’s Porch, 1996. Estimate $4,000,000–6,000,000.
    Theatrical in its scale and breathtaking in its expertly executed sfumato, Ed Ruscha’s Brave Man’s Porch reverberates with a dynamic energy utterly unique to the artist’s peerless style in which image, symbol and text coexist in sometimes tensile relationships. Throughout his singular career, Ruscha has explored semiotics and employed various artistic techniques to address how words and symbols carry meaning when juxtaposed with image. Brave Man’s Porch presents the silhouette of a portico, rendered in a rich black tone, against the backdrop of a vaporous light gray and blue sky. The hazy shade of dusky blue commingles with the edges of the black paint, creating a gauzy twilit aura, cinematic in its graininess. Onto this impalpable atmosphere, Ruscha has stenciled the words “Brave men run in my family” in crisp white paint, a stark contrast to the moodiness of the landscape. The size of the text diminishes towards the end of the sentence and bottom of the canvas, prompting the viewer to draw nearer in order to make out the last words.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Robert Ryman, Meridian, 1971. Estimate $4,000,000–6,000,000.
    Emitting a luminous aura of exquisite purity and absolute serenity, Meridian from 1971 is an enduring and profound testament to the utterly radical brilliance of Robert Ryman’s painterly oeuvre. Executed at the creative pinnacle of the artist’s practice in the early 1970s, the present work is distinguished by its uniquely poetic title, which deftly alludes to the subtle horizontal bands that line the canvas like precisely ascending latitudes upon the globe. In a manner paradigmatic of the best examples from his output, Ryman accentuates the thoughtful exactitude of his method by ending each methodical brushstroke just before the edge of the picture support, framing the incandescent expanse of white pigment within a pristine border of raw canvas; initially transmitting a sublime stillness, the closer the viewer draws to the canvas, the more apparent the meditative motions of the artist’s hand across the canvas become, as Meridian articulates the very means by which it was created.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Robert Indiana, The Great American LOVE (Love Wall), 1972. Estimate $3,500,000–5,000,000.
    Instantly recognizable and universally appealing for its power as an immutable symbol of grace and goodwill, Robert Indiana’s The Great American LOVE (Love Wall) stands proudly as a monumental and superlative example from the artist’s iconic oeuvre. The Love motif first appeared in Indiana’s output in 1966, quickly achieving immense popularity amid the rise of hippie culture and the corresponding liberation of traditional social formalities. Following the ‘free love’ zeitgeist that characterized the 1960s and 1970s, Indiana’s Love endures as a timeless emblem of a universal concept, one that continues to inspire and delight. The present work was included in several important exhibitions and remained in Indiana’s private collection for over a decade, underscoring the deeply personal significance of this larger-than-life archetypal apotheosis.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Ellsworth Kelly, Purple Panel with Blue Curve , 1989. Estimate $3,000,000–5,000,000.
    Arresting in both its dramatic scale and vivid visual impact, Ellsworth Kelly’s Purple Panel with Blue Curve is among the most cogent reflections of the artist’s brilliant accomplishments as a colorist. The present work exemplifies Kelly’s unwavering commitment to and rigorous examination of the most fundamental elements of painting: color, shape and form. In what would become a legendary story about the artist and a source of inspiration for the present work, Kelly recalls an early experience in his artistic practice. As a young child being directed to draw ‘springtime,’ Kelly cut out shapes of assuredly colored crayon on paper to make up a collage, an exercise that preoccupied artists such as Henri Matisse. Purple Panel with Blue Curve is indeed reminiscent of Matisse’s cut-outs, in which the artist pasted cut-outs of colored paper onto a flat background so that the ground itself came into the composition.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Christopher Wool, Run Down Run, 2003. Estimate $3,000,000–4,000,000.
    The origin of these gray abstract works is rooted in a fortuitous accident, when the artist, frustrated with a composition, took a turpentine-soaked rag to his canvas in an attempt at corrective erasure. To his great surprise, Wool discovered that this endeavor at effacement in fact created a smeared swipe through the dramatic black lines and established a new kind of abstraction in silvery washes. Run Down Run , executed only three years after this pivotal epiphany, embraces both line and gesture in an utterly unique form where neither is privileged over the other. Physically enveloping in its monumental scale, the painting enfolds and seduces the viewer through its austere palette and kinetic energy.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Agnes Martin, Untitled #12, 1996. Estimate $3,000,000–4,000,000.
    Untitled #12 is a skillfully articulated execution of the artist’s signature style, in which imperceptibly thin lines of graphite demarcate six equal and minimally painted horizontal bands of incandescent powder blues and pale yellow in a consistent and repetitive pattern. From a distance, the subtly varied tones of paint only faintly assert their singularity, but as the viewer approaches the canvas, the colors separate into distinct bars of luminous pastel color humming in harmony. The visibility of the graphite overlaid on the lustrous paint structures the color into clear delineated bars, while also revealing the slight irregularities and inconsistencies of line, a calculated move on the artist’s part to evoke the human and man made quality of her paintings.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1965. Estimate $3,000,000–4,000,000.
    Untitled is a superb example of Alexander Calder’s iconic hanging mobiles, brilliantly merging the crucial tenets of the artist’s theory and practice into a singular sculpture that bespeaks its own beauty. A kaleidoscope of vividly painted metal bursts forth in harmonious equilibrium, the deep reds on one end perfectly balancing the yellow shapes on the opposing side. Created in 1965, the present work unites the scope of Calder’s rich creative dialect, both bold in its primary color palette and graceful in its delicate balance. Over seven feet in wingspan, Untitled is a superb monumental example from the artist’s sculptural output.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Totem, 1982. Estimate $3,000,000–5,000,000.
    Crackling with the energy of the downtown New York streets of the early 1980s, to confront Totem is to step into the eye of a storm. Lightning bolts crackle across a dissolving night sky, stars shoot across the canvas spinning off manically in every direction. Day fades rapidly into night, divided by a whirlwind of mark marking suggestive of roaring oceans or tumultuous clouds. Stretched tautly against a rough slated wood palette, the canvas seems to burst forward with inner energy, as the signs and symbols of the work thrust forward and usurp the flatness of the traditional picture plane. Plywood, splinted slats nonchalantly reveal their brutish form as the canvas is cut short of the bottom with a coolly calculated indifference.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Bruce Nauman, Fox Wheel, 1990. Estimate $1,200,000–1,800,000.
    Simultaneously irresistibly alluring and acutely unsettling, Bruce Nauman’s fascinating sculptural work Fox Wheel eloquently encapsulates the artist’s career-long investigation of existential dichotomies through his radical interdisciplinary practice. The nine bounding forms of the present work, gracefully suspended in a counterclockwise circle of perpetual motion, are amongst the most elegant examples of Nauman’s critically acclaimed series of animal sculptures based upon taxidermy molds. In their carnivalesque arrangement, the bounding forms of Fox Wheel resemble the polished creatures of a carousel, rising and falling in endless rhythm; simultaneously, the indisputable suggestion of ferocious, bestial violence casts a macabre shroud over the sculpture, the snapping hounds caught in an eternal dance macabre.




    Read More: Full Circle with Bruce Nauman’s Fox Wheel




     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled (Seated Woman), circa 1956-1960. Estimate $1,000,000–1,500,000.
    Subdued and meditative, yet vibrating in pulses of vivid color, Richard Diebenkorn’s Untitled (Seated Woman) from 1956-60 is an exquisite example of the artist’s unique style, in which representation, portraiture and abstraction coalesce in one painting rich in its exploration of color, line and form. While Diebenkorn was sidelined by many at the time for returning to figuration during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, his work would soon garner critical acclaim. Untitled (Seated Woman) remains a testament to the triumph of Diebenkorn’s singular and elusive body of work from the late 1950s. Here, Diebenkorn builds up his surface with great bravado, resulting in a canvas rife with luscious brushwork and brilliant color.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Andreas Gursky, Madonna I, 2001. Estimate $800,000–1,200,000.
    Widely exhibited and today immediately recognizable as one of Andreas Gursky’s most visually powerful and awe-inspiring photographs, Madonna I stands out as among the most important works in the renowned German photographer’s paradigmatic ‘crowds’ series. The cultural icon and pop music singer Madonna was here photographed in concert in Los Angeles on September 13, 2001. Originally scheduled to take place two days prior, the concert that night was postponed due to the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, the impact of which sent waves of shock and panic that reverberated across the nation, and indeed across the world.



     



    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York


  • Laura Owens, Untitled, 2012. Estimate $200,000–300,000.
    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York

  • David Hammons, Untitled, 1975. Estimate $350,000–450,000.
    Contemporary Art Evening Auction
    16 November | New York

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