NEW YORK – Swann Galleries’ Thursday, Nov. 19 sale of Contemporary Art boasted exceptional prices for works on paper, prints and editions. The auction, which totaled $1.69 million, delivered three records, with Abstract Expressionist artists drawing significant bidding activity, in addition to works from the Chiron Press, Pop Art and more bringing top prices. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Helen Frankenthaler’s 1989 color Mixografía Hermes (above) led the sale at $47,000, a record for the print. Further records were set for Dorothea Rockburne’s Locus, a 1972 portfolio with a complete set of six aquatints, at $42,500, and Lee Krasner’s 1969 color lithograph, Special Blue, at $17,500.
Additional abstract works featured Robert Motherwell’s 1975 monotype in purple and black acrylic on paper ($37,500); Elaine de Kooning’s 1982 acrylic-on-plywood Bacchus #27-P ($32,500); Willem de Kooning’s 1975 charcoal drawing Two Figures ($25,000); and a 1951 screenprint by Jackson Pollock ($15,000).
Swann offered several works from the Collection of Stephen Poleskie, founder of Chiron Press, New York’s first fine art screenprinting studio. Highlights from the offering included Robert Indiana’s Numbers, a set of four 1966 color screenprints on wood panels ($27,500); Alex Katz’s 1965 oil-on-wood panel Maine Landscape ($22,500); and Roy Lichtenstein’s Cow Triptych (Cow Going Abstract), a set of three 1982 color screenprints ($22,500), Paris Review Poster, the 1966 drawing for the blue screen of the four-color screenprints ($20,000), and Brushstroke, a 1965 color screenprint ($18,750).
Pop Art luminary Andy Warhol was present with a 1964 color offset lithograph portrait of Liz Taylor ($37,500), and a 1968 color screenprint of the iconic Campbell’s soup can Consommé (Beef) ($30,000).
Contemporary pieces included Joyce Pensato’s Homer, acrylic on canvas, 2009 ($32,500), Howard Hodgkin’s Flower Palm, a 1991 color etching and carborundum with hand coloring in egg tempera ($17,500), and Keith Haring’s Pop Shop IV, color screenprint 1989 ($18,200).
Todd Wyeman, the house’s director of prints and drawings noted, “Our auctions of Contemporary Art continue to grow, both by value and number of bidders. Our per lot value increased by more than 25% over our previous auction of Contemporary Art in June, and we sold to nearly 20% new buyers in the current auction. Once again, we saw significant interest in works by women of the Abstract Expressionist school, setting new records for works by Helen Frankenthaler, Dorothea Rockburne and Lee Krasner.”
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