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Lot 0069
Lot 69 is a Paul Klee gouache and pastel painting on linen, titled: Vorhang 129(or Curtain no 1), and is part of the group of now world famous works found in the storage locker of superstar restorer Orrin Riley.Anyone wishing to read some of the approximately 180 articles from around the world, can put the words: David Killen and de Kooning into a search engine like Google.------------This work measures 9 and 7/8 inches x 13 and 3/4 inches and is signed:"Klee"in the upper right hand corner.See the photos.It is framed in double sided glass, along with the original transparency photograph showing the work before the damage.Vorhang 129 was completed in 1924 when Klee was a teacher at the Bauhaus.According to the Paul Klee catalog raisonne, Klee created five Curtain works, all in the same year.Klee took one large piece of linen that he had painted on, and cut it into 5 pieces, hence the similarity of the five works.Vorhang is the German word for curtain.Orrin Riley's notebooks are currently cataloged at Harvard University and are available for research purposes.---------------------------------The work we are selling is the first work listed in the Paul Klee catalog raisonne, known as: Vorhang 129.This is followed by Vorhang 129a, Vorhang 129b(this is the one in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum), Vorhang 129c and Vorhang 129d.At one time Clifford Odets, the playwright, owned one of the Vorhangs.To see the Guggenheim example, you can put the words Vorhang and Guggenheim into the search engine Google, to see images.The last known time that the Vorhang we are offering was up for auction, was at Christies in London in 1990.The estimate was 250,000 to 350,000 GBP(408,000.00 to 572,000.00 USD) but did not sell.The last known owner was Serge Sabarsky, one of the two founders of the Neue Gallerie, the Austrian Hungarian Museum at Fifth Avenue and 86th street, across the street from the Metropolitan Museum.Sometime after the Christies sale, ink spilled across the middle of the work.David Killen Gallery conducted tests that show the ink is water soluble, but the likelihood of getting all the ink out is remote.It is believed that the reason the work was in the Orrin Riley studio, was that it was brought there by an insurance company that paid the owner for the full value of the work after it was damaged, and then asked Orrin Riley or Susanne Schnitzer to repair it, and were told it could not be fixed and it was a total loss, and the insurance company walked away.----------David Killen Gallery would like to thank the Fine Arts department at Sothebys for their assistance in researching this work.------------Typical questions asked: 1.Why would someone give a de Kooning or Paul Klee painting to a restoration studio and then never pick it up again? Answer: All of the de Kooning paintings and the Paul Klee paintings and the 193 other unclaimed artworks in the Orrin Riley storage unit were probably for the most part, insurance claims left by insurance companies that were hoping to recover some of the money lost by the company after they paid the previous owners for the damage.At the time, in the 1970s, de Kooning was alive and his works from that time period were only selling for 5000.00 to 10,000.00 dollars each, and the cost of repairing the works, sometimes were as much or more than the value, hence, the insurance company would walk away.In the case of the Paul Klee, the insurance company was probably told the ink could not be removed completely.Notes were found in the records books of the Orrin Riley storage, stating:...Paul Klee..no value..., possibly referring to the Paul Klee painting.------------------------------------ 2.What if someone comes out of the woodwork and says:that is my de Kooning or that is my Paul Klee?What rights of ownership do they have? Answer: None.The Attorney General for the State of New York has declared the works: legally abandoned after having been left unclaimed for between 9 years and possibly as long as 38 years.------------------------------------------------------------- 3.What steps have been taken to authenticate the works? Answer: The Paul Klee is a known work of art, in the Paul Klee Catalog Raisonne as Vorhang 129, 1924.The de Koonings were identified in the Orrin Riley studio as by Willem de Kooning, and Lawrence Castagna, who worked as Elaine and Willem de Koonings assistant as well as having worked in the Orrin Riley restoration studio on similar de Kooning paintings, recognized the works as by Willem de Kooning.In addition, a worldwide expert who has written several books on Willem de Kooning and teaches currently at a prominent United States university, was kind enough to look at the works in person and declare them all to be by the hand of Willem de Kooning.He has asked that his name be withheld, to avoid being dragged into any nuisance litigation, but he did inform the Willem de Kooning Foundation of the works, and felt that the discovery was:important.The Willem de Kooning Foundation, like most art foundations today, do not authenticate for fear of being dragged into nuisance litigation.Of the thousands of experts, collectors, and dealers who have either read the articles or seen the works in person, no one questioned the authenticity.The only question I hear is, how much would you sell them for right now?------------------------------------------------------ 4. If they are real, why are they not signed? Answer: The Paul Klee is signed and is a known work listed in the Catalog Raisonne of Paul Klee.Klee was fanatical about signing and recording all of his works.As far as the de Kooning,during this time period, it was common for de Kooning to work on 10 or 20 painting at the same time, and often many of them would go unsigned.For an excellent photograph of de Kooning working in the mid 1970 time period on nearly identical paintings in his studio, put the words bilyonaryo and de Kooning into a search engine like google and click on the first article:Willem de Kooning Archives, to see the artist at work on similar paintings.Lawrence Castagna said that often works during this time period went unsigned.Elaine(de Koonings wife and artist) would often have to bring a painting over to him to him and insist that he sign it, when it was a gift to someone like his psychiatrist.An unsigned work was not at all unusual.-----------5.Who is David Killen?Answer:I have been buying antiques and art since I was 7 years old, I have an art history degree from Vassar, I worked at the Metropolitan Museum and Sotheby's and have been clearing out estates in NYC for the past 20 years.I own the auction house David Killen Gallery, and the property it resides in, and my opinions on art and antiques have been quoted in the past 20 years in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art said in the article,The Silver Standard, in the magazine Cigar Aficianado, that I was one of a small handful of dealers someone could...trust implicitly.-------------6.Did any of the big auction houses want the de Kooning paintings?Answer:yes.---------7.Why didn't you sell them there?Answer:It was a tough call.Sure, they probably would have sold more at the larger houses.But I had to consider the fact that 6 years ago I opened my own auction house.Why am I giving exciting works of art to another auction house, when we are both in the same city?.Yes, the bigger auction houses probably would have achieved higher results, but I had to think about the fact I wanted to promote my young auction house, get my name out there, and this was a chance to tell the world we exist.


Ink damage.Measurements:Work of art:9 and 7/8th inches x 13 and 3/4th inches Transparency(Early photo next to the original work) 5"x 7" Painted wood frame: 25" x 21"

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"Vorhang" (Curtain no.1) painting by Paul Klee, 1924

Estimate $2,000 - $3,000Oct 14, 2018