Works by Hockney, Wong, Herrera, Fadojutimi, Sherald, Toor, & Celmins, to Lead the Evening Sale on 23 June
NEW YORK––Phillips is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition for 20th Century and Contemporary Art. Taking place on 23-24 June, the New York auctions will encompass works by Modern, Post-War, Contemporary, and American masters.
The Evening Sale will be held on 23 June at 7pm, featuring 50 lots, with the Day Sale’s Morning and Afternoon Sessions following on 24 June, offering 324 lots. The full catalogues for each of these auctions are now online.
Robert Manley and Jean-Paul Engelen, Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said,
“From names that have come to define the 20th century artistic canon, such as Hockney, Dubuffet, and Basquiat, to those like Sherald, Boafo, and Toor, who are forging their careers today –this sale perfectly encapsulates where the art market is right now. On the heels of our astonishing white glove sales in Hong Kong last week, we are happy to offer such a remarkable group of works in the first auction to take place in Phillips‘ new headquartersat 432 ParkAve. It is an exciting inaugural backdrop for a sale of this caliber and a great moment for Phillips.”
Evening Sale | 23 June
Leading the auction is David Hockney’s A Neat Lawn, estimated at $12-18 million. Belonging to a series of monumental canvases painted in 1967, the work portrays a Los Angelesian home and stands a remarkable eight-feet tall. It now comes to auction for the first time in fifteen years; when last sold publicly in 2006, it set the world record price for the artist
Two works by Matthew Wong will also be featured in the Evening Sale. Embodying Wong’s leitmotif of the solitary figure in a fantastical environment, The Reader presents a seated figure absorbing a book under a tree in bloom. Dominating two-thirds of the composition, the unified canopy of multifarious trunks reflects Wong’s engagement with both Western and Eastern art in its evocation of the mark-making Pointillism of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, the impasto whips of Vincent van Gogh, and the hallucinatory optical power of Chinese lacquerware. Oscillating between the real and imaginary, mind and matter, The Reader draws the viewer into the artist’s intimate mindscapes. Also included in the Evening Sale is Wong’s Field in a Dream.
A spectacular example of Norman Lewis’ black paintings, Abstract City manifests the artist’s acclaimed standing among the pantheon of Abstract Expressionist masters. A colleague of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Franz Kline, Lewis was a crucial member of the seminal first generation of the New York School. The sole African American artist of his circle, he exhibited at the historic symposium at Studio 35 in New York in 1950, the event after which the term “Abstract Expressionism” was coined. Painted around the same year of the groundbreaking event, the present work is historically underscored by its storied provenance, having long remained in the notable collection of Don Cornelius. As the creator of “Soul Train,” the renowned television host played a pivotal role in disseminating Black music throughout America and the world, providing exposure to epochal musicians including James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s. Presenting a lyrical, nocturnal cityscape in his signature vertical format, Abstract City encapsulates Lewis’ luminous abstraction that not only reflects his virtuosic control over the painterly medium and his interest in the interplay between light and dark, but also manifests his ultimate vision on the power of abstraction.
Depicting a young Black man wearing a rich gold-colored jacket with jeans set against a tropical backdrop, Cinga Samson’s Two piece 1 is a powerful example of this rising artist’s celebrated oeuvre. Best known for his lush figurative paintings that border on the ethereal, Samson fuses themes of spirituality and superstition drawn from his upbringing in Ethembeni, a village in the South African countryside, with those of aspiration and identity. While Samson has noted the deep influence of Western artists on his work, what ultimately foregrounds his practice is preserving the dignity of his heritage. According to the artist, the source of the captivating eyes of his figures derives from a singular moment in his youth when he was wandering with his cousin by ariver in a forest, where they were met with the moon’s subliminal light. Encapsulating the significance of spirituality in his work, the eyes have become to know to be Samson’s signature motif. By imbuing his figures with a confident and impenetrable aura, Samson’s acclaimed practice aims to create an image of power for the African community while avoiding the sole association of his work to the political conversation.
Epitomizing the artist’s explorations on the movement of objects in space, Fourteen Black Leavesis an especially poetic example of Alexander Calder’s iconic hanging mobiles. Executed in 1961, the kinetic energy engendered in the present work transforms metal and wire into stemmed leaves dancing in the wind. As the mobile moves in different light and air conditions, the leaves shift through infinite possibilities before the viewer’s eyes, displaying an extraordinary sense of dynamism. Created at the height of Calder’s career, the present work exemplifies the artist’s mature endeavors at kinetic abstractions, which Marcel Duchamp had coined as “mobiles” by the early 1930s.
Jean Dubuffet’s L’homme à la toquebelongs to his Tableaux d’assemblages series, which he began in November 1955 and continued working on until April 1957. An important body of work, the Tableaux d’assemblages explored the notion of creating painted canvas collage and afforded Dubuffet the ability to create depth within the picture plane—a concept he delved deeper into with the richly hued and dynamic Théâtres de mémoire collage paintings of the 1970s. The present work elucidates this sense of dynamism through the vast layering of countless textures and earthly hues within the composition. Included in Dubuffet’s first exhibition in 1965 at the Galerie Beyeler in Basel, this show marked the commencement of a nearly twelve-year period of collaboration between the artist and the famed gallerist, Ernst Beyeler. During this period of collaboration, Beyeler played a pivotal role in building the artist’s European following and subsequently sold more than 750 works and organised six monographic exhibitions between 1965 and 2009.
Further highlights from the sale include Wayne Thiebaud’s Winding River, Amy Sherald’s It Made Sense… Mostly In Her Mind, and Vija Celmins’ Untitled (Ocean). Phillips is also delighted to present Winston Churchill’s The Moat, Breccles, a work treasured by the statesman for forty years before he personally gifted it to his close friend, Aristotle Onassis.
Day Sale | 24 June
The Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art will be held across a Morning and Afternoon Session on 24 June. Leading the Morning Session is Roy Lichtenstein’s Collage for Interior with Painting and Still Life from 1997. Created in the final year of the artist’s life, this superb work is emblematic of the artist’s mature approach, executed during a time when Lichtenstein was reflecting on his own career as well as the history of art at large. Unlike the comic book subjects and cartoon iconography that he took as subject in his early paintings, this still life and interior scene features timeless tropes that have reappeared throughout art history for centuries.
Other highlights include works from the esteemed private collection of San Francisco philanthropist Robin Quist Gates, and two works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the collection of Justice Alan Page. These two works have been a treasured part of the NFL Hall of Famer and Minnesota State Supreme Court Justice’s collection since he acquired them over 35 years ago.
KAWS’ Untitled is among the highlights of the Afternoon Session. A quintessential example of his re-envisioned pop culture icons, KAWS’ Untitled, 2013 illustrates the inflated facial details of KAWSBOB, an intervention on the animated cartoon SpongeBob, imbued with the artist’s distinctive style. The work is also notable for the artist’s use of a circular shaped canvas, or tondo, a format long associatedwith the Renaissance that the artist continues to explore in his practice today. Simultaneously paying homage to and mocking the established, formal tenets of art history, Untitled, 2013 is supremely representative of KAWS’ original mission to create universal content that encourages all to interact with and relate to his work.
Additional highlights from the Afternoon Session include Banksy’s Gangsta Rat Peace, Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War, and John Baldessari’s Noses & Ears, etc. (part two): (yellow) face with (blue) nose and drums. Alongside these will be the first NFT to be offered in a live auction at Phillips, the newly minted Quantum Leap from Jennifer and Kevin McCoy:
20th Century & Contemporary Art – New York – Phillips´June Sales
New York, New York. US.