Polar Bears of the Liro, Marc Quinn (2008) Sold within estimate range for £97,250
The Contemporary Sales at Phillips de Pury & Company on Saturday October 17 offered a truly diverse selection of works from premier Contemporary artists. The 43-lot evening sale included four unique works by Martin Kippenberger from the Bleich-Rossi Collection alongside exciting works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucio Fontana, Steven Parrino, On Kawara, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Jonathan Meese. The Day sale kicked off with a charity auction of twenty-one works by internationally renowned artists, including Anselm Kiefer, Rudolf Stingel and Francesco Vezzoli, to benefit the EMERGENCY charitable organization. The total sales from the Day sale amounted to £2,643,713 and the Evening sale brought in £4,104,950 against a low estimate of £5 million.
Phillips de Pury & Company Website
Full List of Auction Results [Phillips de Pury]
Basquiat sells as buyers get picky at Choosy at $6.7 million auction [Bloomberg]
Signs of Life in London’s Art Market [WSJ]
A Whole New Spectrum of Buyers [Art Market Monitor]
More text and images after the jump….
Untitled, Jack Goldstein (1986) Sold at £45,650, over estimate of £25,000-35,000
28% of the works being auctioned did not sell including important works by Martin Kippenberger such as Der Herr Joszi. Der Herr Joszi is a small, intimate triptych portrait of Martin Kippenberger’s friend Herr Joszi, a waiter at the renowned Café Glockenspiel in Graz, Austria and was expected to fetch £350,000-500,000. Commenting on the surprising lack of sales, Anthony McNeary Phillips’s head of evening contemporary-art sales in London, said in an interview with Bloomberg “It’s still not easy….You have to find the rare material. If you can do that, it will sell for a fantastic price.”
Big Until Great Hunger, Martin Kippenberger 1984
However, Kippenberg’s powerfully executed canvas, Big Until Great Hunger, did sell on the lower end of its estimated range: £433,250. Comprised of oil and silicone on a large canvas, Big Until Great Hunger is a painted representation of a sculpture from Kippenberger’s mid 80s series collectively titled Familie Hunger in which he metaphorically represented a starved family.
Der Herr Joszi Martin Kippenberger 1987
Few of the works auctioned amounted to more than their pre-sale estimate, with most only reaching the lower limit of the estimate. This was the case too for Jean-Michel Basquiat’s emblematic black, red and white painting, “Year of the Boar,” celebrating Chinese New Year. This is the first time the 8-foot high painting has been seen at auction since it was purchased in 1999 for £155,500, it was sold to a telephone buyer for £1.1 million, against an upper estimate of £1.2 million.
Year of the Boar, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983)
Made at a time when artistic innovations were considered as political actions, Lucio Fontana‘s creative and destructive style has often been associated with the cultural politics of his time, enacting a strike for freedom from tradition, a blow against the authority of the past. This concept is clearly mirrored in Concetto Spaziale, a piece which not only acts as a surface on which Fontana chooses to express his political views, but it is important as it sees for the first time distancing himself from past painterly traditions, in search of a new aesthetic, encompassing the notion of a spatial context as its main objective. Despite this perhaps “rare” quality that the work holds and the piece sold at £241,250, under the original estimate of £250,000-350,000.
APR. 8, 1978, On Kawara , 1978
Another star-attraction of the show was On Kawara‘s APR. 8, 1978 a work belonging to the ‘Today’ series. In January 1966, the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara began his iconic, critically acclaimed body of work collectively known as the Today Series. All works in the series, like the present lot, an early work from 1978, presents nothing more than an alphanumeric date executed in a stencilled like manner on a monochromatic canvas. This canvas, painted in accordance to the American calendrical conventions and language, during the course of the day on April the 8th of 1978, is accompanied by a newspaper clipping from that day’s New York Times, the local newspaper from the city in which On Kawara found himself on April the 8th of 1978. It was sold for £205,250 with the original handmade cardboard box containing a New York Times newspaper clipping from 8 April, 1978.
Christopher Wool‘s Double Blue Nose is rather unique within the American artist’s extensive and highly acclaimed oeuvre, and this rare quality surely contributed to its higher than expected price; £193,250. Whereas the majority of his recent works are predominantly untitled and executed in black and white, Double Blue Nose, a large scale silkscreen on canvas, is titled and incorporates colour. In creating Double Blue Nose, Wool took photographs of his previous paintings and collaged them on the computer before making this new image into a silkscreen in which the grain of the reproduction process is patently visible.
Sin City Sag, Fuckhead Bubble-Gum, Steven Parrino
Steven Parrino, Sin City Sag, Fuckhead Bubble-Gum, is a large scale, sculptural painting executed first by painting a monochromatic magenta square at the centre of a large piece of raw canvas that has been conventionally stapled to a stretcher. The painted canvas is then pulled forward from the stretcher, aggressively contorted, wrinkled and crumbled only to be reattached this time with the sinuous, sagging raw excess canvas beautifully flowing like drapery. Parrino’s unique, single minded avant-garde oeuvre, often referred to as a new form of realism in art, is display in the sexually suggestive creases, folds and vivid colour of this work. This piece sold within estimate for £313,250.