CHICAGO – Works by Ed Clark, John Craxton and Gertrude Abercrombie led Hindman Auctions’ May 11 Post War & Contemporary Art auction to a $4,491,375 million total, a house record for a Fine Art sale and more than doubling its presale estimate.
“We knew the top lots by current market darlings would have strong interest, but it was beyond refreshing to see the prime examples at every price point receiving enthusiastic engagement and aggressive participation,” said Hindman’s Director and Senior Specialist for Post War & Contemporary Art Zack Wirsum. “In addition to hitting a major milestone with the sale achieving the highest result for a fine art sale in the history of the company, it was also great to see people raising paddles live in the auction room again, which contributed to the vibrance of the day.”
Ed Clark’s 2006 acrylic-on-canvas Creation sold for $740,000 against a presale estimate of $150,000-$250,000, the second highest price ever achieved for the artist. The seminal late career work saw competitive phone and online bidding that propelled this exceptional painting to an almost record price.
Clark’s work has seen intense market interest during the past few years, which led to the work being the most highly watched lot leading into the auction. A majestic and colorful abstract, Creation is an active visual statement of Clark’s transformative painterly vision and his lifelong commitment to literally pushing the language of mark-making into new territory. Clark’s deep understanding of color, physicality of paint movement, expression of perceived light and raw creative innovation collide in this powerful work, and bidders clearly recognized the magnitude of this explosive master work.
John Craxton’s esoteric and marvelous Cretan taverna scene Still Life with Three Sailors saw heated international bidding, resulting in the work skyrocketing past its presale estimate of $150,000-$250,000 to achieve $400,000, ultimately selling to an overseas bidder. This painting is considered by many to be among Craxton’s more significant works, including the artist himself, who declared it one of his best in correspondence with the owner.
Four works by Chicago’s Queen of the Bohemians, Gertrude Abercrombie, also soared past their estimates, with the group selling for a collective $925,000. Emerging as the top lot of the four was Abercrombie’s Toddy, Possim and Christine, an oil on masonite from 1954 that achieved $337,500 against an estimate of $50,000-$70,000.
Abercrombie is known for creating surreal biographical dream worlds in her works with repeating talismans including cats, shells, doors, owls, eggs, trees and eerie figures. Stylized portraits of cats owned by Abercrombie compose this quirky vignette, their individual personalities represented by clouds floating over each feline, with a dark storm cloud above sourpuss Christine.
The smallest of the Abercrombie offerings, Untitled (For Dizzy Gillespie), sold for $150,000 against an estimate of $7,000-$9,000. A wonderful miniature work measuring 1 3/4 by 2in that was originally given to jazz icon and friend Dizzy Gillespie, the sale price reflects among the highest amounts achieved per square inch for a painting.
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