Calder’s late-life masterpiece leads May 17 LA Modern auction

Alexander Calder, ‘Quatre Blancs,’ 1976, sheet metal, wire and paint; signed and dated “CA 76” on blue disc, 19.625 x 20 x 12 inches. Provenance: Galerie Maeght, Paris; private collection, Los Altos, California (acquired from the above throughMaeght USA, San Francisco, California, 1978). Exhibited: ‘Calder: Mobiles and Stabiles,’ Galerie Maeght, Paris, December 1, 1976 - January 8, 1977. Illustrated: ‘Calder: Mobiles and Stabiles.’ Galerie Maeght: Paris, 1976; #37. Estimate: $500,000–700,000. LAMA image

LOS ANGELES – On May 17, Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) will auction an important Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) standing mobile created in the last year of the revered artist’s life. Titled Quatre Blancs, the mobile is the premier entry in LAMA’s sale, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. It is offered with a presale estimate of $500,000–$700,000.

“The substantial size, the simple construction, the elegant balance, and the primary colors – Quatre Blancs shows Calder’s masterful ability to distill his life’s work into a simple gesture,” said Peter Loughrey, Director of Fine Art & Design at LAMA.

The Calder work has remained in the hands of its original owner since its purchase in 1978 from Galerie Maeght in Paris. Calder created the work – one of the last of his lifetime – expressly for a December 1976 Galerie Maeght show that opened shortly after his death. It will convey to the new owner with a copy of the original purchase receipt.

The prestigious Galerie Maeght has long been a mecca for the postwar avant-garde and art cognoscenti, and has nurtured the careers of several other 20th-century masters, including Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp and Joan Miró.

Also featured in the auction is Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup I, a 1968 complete portfolio of 10 silkscreen prints.

Other Warhol lots include Mao (1973) and $ (1982), shown below.

Following LAMA’s incredible recent success with Picasso ceramics, the auction house expects great interest in a 1955 turned earthenware pitcher with a knife-engraved image of a bull. It is marked #7 of 100 and is expected to make $50,000-$70,000 on auction day.

Made in 1947, this set of Picasso dishware is hand-painted with a whimsical fish motif and marked #43 of 300.

Additional auction highlights include an Agnes Martin watercolor from 1977, paintings by Karl Benjamin and June Harwood; and a Billy Al Bengston acrylic on canvas titled Augies Riviera, pictured below. It was gifted by the artist to the consignor in 1972.

Sam Maloof designed and crafted this handsome Fiddleback maple rocking chair.

The furniture selection also includes custom pieces made by American master George Nakashima.

LAMA’s Sunday, May 17 auction will begin at 12 noon Pacific Time / 3 p.m. Eastern Time. For additional information on any item in the sale, call Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design and Fine Art, at 323-904-1950 or email peter@lamodern.com. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.