FRANKLIN, Mass. – An oil on canvas painting by Mexican artist Francisco Corzas (1936-1983) titled Two Figures sold for $9,375 to take top lot honors in an online-only Master Artworks Discovery Auction held March 29 by The Woodshed Gallery. Corzas beat out brighter stars in the world of fine art – names like Picasso, Warhol, Man Ray, Adolph Gottlieb and Lee Godie. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Corzas was born into a poor family but he managed to study art in both Mexico and Italy and actually began his career in Europe, where his work can still be found in many museums and private collections, including the Vatican. He split his time between Mexico and Europe, and is highly collected today, in part because he didn’t produce many artworks, having died at age 47.
“The Corzas sold to a bidder in Mexico, and that is an example of my big takeaway from this auction, and that is the repatriation of artworks to their country of origin,” said Bruce Wood, owner of The Woodshed Gallery. “I’m seeing it time and time again, serious collectors outside the United States with more cash to spend bringing fine artworks back home.”
He pointed to Lee Godie (1908-1994), the celebrated Chicago artist who fancied herself a French impressionist. Two drawings by the outsider artist sold to a buyer in Paris. One (below) was a portrait drawing (and a photograph of Godie affixed with a safety pin) inscribed on the reverse, “Value $150, figures the actress and artist Lee Godie, French impressionist.” It hammered for $1,187.
The other drawing was also a portrait drawing, on the back of which Godie also described herself as a “French impressionist.” It sold for $375. Godie was a self-taught artist and larger-than-life figure in the Chicago art scene from the 1960s to the 1990s. In 1991, Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley proclaimed September “Lee Godie Exhibition Month.”
Man Ray (1890-1976), an American-born artist (real name, Emmanuel Radnitzky), also spent much time in Europe, mainly in France, where he became a major contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements. He was also a photographer. His ink drawing on tan paper with abstract watercolor underpainting, titled Female Figure (1951), went to a bidder in London for $6,688.
The sale consisted of just 97 lots. “I decided to keep this auction small, in order to focus on the bigger-name items,” Wood said. “Overall I was very pleased with the prices and results.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices include a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Several drawings attributed to Andy Warhol (1928-1987) came up for bid. One, a portrait drawing in ink and colored pencil on paper, titled Young Man, signed and unframed, commanded $2,500. Another, aptly titled Two Campbells Soup Cans, was a drawing on manila folder-weight paper. It made $1,875.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), like Warhol, needs little introduction. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, and co-founder of the Cubist movement. His autograph and drawing on a book page fetched $1,500.
A paint and ink on cardboard work attributed to Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988), titled Federal Reserve, signed front and back and consigned through a collection from an antique shop in New Orleans, finished at $1,875. The price would have been much higher had the provenance been stronger.
A gouache and ink on wove paper attributed to Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903-1974), signed in pencil and dated 1967, changed hands for $6,250. Gottlieb was one of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists and was accomplished as a painter, draftsman, printmaker and sculptor. Today his artworks are in the collections of more than 140 major museums around the world.
Rodolfo Morales (1925-2001) was a Mexican painter who incorporated elements of magic realism into his work. He’s best known for his brightly colored Surrealistic dream-like canvases and collages, often featuring Mexican women in village settings. His collage made from fabric and other materials in an artist-made tin frame, signed and titled Mujer Corriente, hit $2,250.
For details contact Bruce Wood of The Woodshed Gallery at 508-533-6277 or email him at email@example.com.