CRANSTON, R.I. – Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ first-ever Pop Culture, Street and Unusual Art sale, slated for Saturday, May 12, is packed with 118 lots by some of the most famous artists in the burgeoning genre – names such as Ron English, Alexander Girard, Robert Rustermier, Taro Yamamoto, Sylvia Ji, Danny DeLancey and Brian Donnelly, better known simply as KAWS. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
“We’re so serious about wanting to become a major player in this field that, for this auction only, we’re advertising commission rates on a graduated scale, starting at 10 percent for items that hammer for up to $1,000, and zero percent for items that sell for more than $5,000,” said Kevin Bruneau, president and auctioneer of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “That’s a very big incentive.”
Bruneau added, “If you’d asked me 20 years ago if I’d be selling my vinyl sculptures of Pinocchio and Boba Fett or paintings of Krusty the Clown for thousands of dollars, I’d have said you were crazy. But today I only see it as the future of this business and a field we are striving for and even pioneering. This might be the most anticipated and exciting sale we’ve ever had.”
The painting of the Simpsons character Krusty the Clown (above) by Ron English (Illinois/Texas, b. 1959) is a 16-inch-square acrylic on canvas titled Krusty the Grin (circa 2017). The “Grin” has become one of English’s most iconic pieces of imagery. Originally seen as a vinyl toy sculpture released in 2016, both in color and black and white, English adapted it to canvas (est. $20,000-$25,000).
Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer whose area of expertise is Street and Urban Art, remarked, “This is the auction I’ve been waiting for. To see a market developing for something I’ve had a lifelong passion for is heartwarming. But to be the guy curating and selling the art is just an unimaginable bonus. It’ll be sad seeing all my office art go away in one day.”
Landry said when Bruneau & Co. went trolling for consignments for this inaugural event, they made it a priority to secure “all things KAWS.” He said, “We’ve secured a large collection of KAWS figures that collectors will love.” KAWS began his career in the 1990s as a graffiti artist, moving on to “subvertising” and later sculptures, acrylic paintings on canvas and screen prints.
A few of the KAWS creations expected to attract keen bidder interest include the following:
—An offset lithograph in colors titled Undefeated Billboard (2004), number 35 of an edition of 250 and signed “KAWS 04” lower right and artist numbered “35/250.” The 17-inch by 24-inch image displays beautifully and is expected to sell for $6,000-$9,000.
—An original factory-sealed painted cast vinyl figure of the cartoon character Astroboy (2012), from an edition of 500, published by Medicom Toy (Tokyo). The 15-inch-tall dead stock example, sealed in original packaging and tissue, should hit $2,000-$3,000.
—Painted cast vinyl interpretations of the Disney characters Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket (2010), from an edition of 500, each stamped on the underside of the feet, also published by Medicom Toy. In overall very good condition, just a little dusty (est. $2,000-$3,000).
—A pair of painted cast vinyl female figures titled X Todd James, The Twins (Pink), from 2006 and an edition of 500, each figure 8 inches tall and stamped on the underside of the feet, also published by Medicom Toy and still with the original box (est. $2,000-$3,000).
Alexander Girard (New York, 1907-1993), affectionately known as Sandro, was an architect, interior designer, furniture designer, industrial designer and textile designer. His 28¼-inch painted cast vinyl figure collaboration (with X BE@RBRICK) is titled International Love Heart (below) and is a Japan exclusive. It comes with the original box and brown shipping box (est. $3,000-$5,000).
Robert Rustermier (Rhode Island, b. 1957) works in a labor-intensive medium of his own creation: layered colored wax on wood panel. He’s been actively exhibiting his work since 1984 and his creations can be found in private collections and museums worldwide. His 20-inch by 30-inch untitled piece (2½ degree, lines and dots series), done in 2018, is expected to gavel for $2,500-$4,000.
Danny DeLancey (b. 1974) is a New Orleans native and self-taught artist whose series The Stroll signals the belief that even in hard times, one can still get dressed, go for a stroll and experience the wonder and excitement of life. His suited rabbit with three red balloons has become an iconic slice of New Orleans French Quarter imagery. His untitled acrylic on canvas painting using an oil-based varnish, from The Stroll series (2018), 48 inches square, should realize $2,000-$3,000.
Sylvia Ji (California, b. 1982) paints almost exclusively the female form, using it to explore themes of beauty, decay and lust. She works with acrylic on wood panels, painting detailed and complex subject matter. Her acrylic and aerosol on wood panel titled Mary M. (2007) depicts the profile of a red-haired beauty, wearing a tank top, gold hoop earrings and a flower in her hair. The 20-inch by 16-inch work, signed lower right by the artist, has an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.
Taro Yamamoto (Massachusetts/New York, 1919-1994) belonged to the innovative group of artists of the 1950s known as the New York School Expressionists, whose ranks included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. His 50-inch by 40-inch oil on canvas titled Provincetown, Massachusetts Catholic Church, signed and dated 1956, was originally part of the Chrysler Collection in New York City. It’s been professionally cleaned and should fetch $2,000-$3,000.
Contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.