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European modern artists

Capsule Gallery to showcase European modern artists June 13

European modern artists
Pierre Alechinsky (Belgian, b. 1927), ‘L’Oreille interne,’ 1978. Estimate: $60,000-$90,000. Capsule Gallery image

NEW YORK — Capsule Gallery will present a curated auction of Modern, Postwar and Contemporary Art on Thursday, June 13, starting a 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. Capsule’s 148-lot sale features impressive works from the estate of Ines Bausili, who with her husband Andres, collected several prominent European artists, notably Pierre Alechinsky, Serge Poliakoff and Hans Hartung. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The collection features three fresh-to-market works by Pierre Alechinsky.

Executed in 1978, L’Oreille interne (above) is a masterful example of the artist’s spontaneous and calligraphic style. The complex organic forms in this painting are derived from the language of CoBrA, diametrically opposed to the rigidity of De Stijl and rooted in the rawness of Art Brut.

Practicing “total opposition to the calculations of cold abstraction, … and to all forms of division between free thought and the action of painting freely,” Alechinsky captures emotion and subjective experience through bold choices of color and abstraction. The dominant yellow is given shape by fluid black brushstrokes and stern green undertones, creating an array of sensual forms, as well as a sense of depth through negative space.

Lot 10, Composition No. C (below) by Serge Poliakoff, is registered in the Archives Serge Poliakoff #852026.

European modern artists
Serge Poliakoff (French, 1900-1969), ‘Composition No. C,’ 1952. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Capsule Gallery image

The 13th of 14 children and a strict Russian Orthodox, Poliakoff’s piety and former musical ambitions play essential themes in his work. He once said a painting needs to “bespeak the love of God … if you want to get the big music in.”

In 1952, the year Composition No. C was created, Poliakoff put aside his dreams of a career in music and embraced his calling as a visual artist. This dedication culminated in a solo exhibition at the Circle and Square Gallery in New York. Composition No. C features bold hues that bounce off each other at their intersections, showing off Poliakoff ’s mastery of color. Playfully, he interlocks jigsaw-like puzzle blocks that subtly imply the form of the cross, an allusion to his faith. A powerful work, the gouache mutes the tones with a washed transparency, allowing the viewer to visualize the movement of each brush stroke.

Also from the Bausili collection, Capsule is offering two works on paper by Hans Hartung.

Hartung created Abstract Composition (Lot 19) in 1947, the same year of his first solo exhibition. This early work combines implied representational elements with vague layers of black and spontaneous patches of color. Hartung’s processes of chance and manipulation are both evident and playfully intertwine. The dramatic result seems natural for an artist who had described his painting practice as an “act on the canvas.”

Hartung’s lines continue to gain fluidness throughout his career. Configurations of long rhythmical brushstrokes became more technically formal, and his gestural paintings, once characterized by an impulsive delivery of expression, had blossomed into a layered chiaroscuro. In Lot 20, P 1970 A. 17 (below), Hartung’s later process is visible, his approach has been stripped-down, become more intentional, and gesture gives way to liquid motion.

European modern artists
Hans Hartung (German/French, 1904-1989), ‘P. 1970 A. 17,’ 1970. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Capsule Gallery image

These works are listed in the Hartung Bergman Foundation archives and will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.

Capsule’s Modern, Postwar and Contemporary Art Auction includes unique works by many notable artists including Michael Lowe, Robert Natkin, Jean Michel Folón, Steve DiBenedetto, Herman Cherry, Abraham Rattner, Russell Young, Jake Berthot, Mark Sheinkman and a large signed edition of APOLLO – 11, 9:32 A. M. 7-16-69 by Hiro.

European modern artists
Sarah Grilo (Argentine, 1920-2007), ‘No Fooling,’ 1968. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Capsule Gallery image

Hiro, the veteran Harper’s Bazaar staff photographer, had been immediately fascinated by the Apollo 11 launch and was determined to capture it on film. The magazine’s editors, not seeing the direct connection to fashion, passed on his pitch, and Hiro instead realized his vision as a personal project.

European modern artists
Hiro (American, b. 1930, ‘Apollo – 11, 9:32 a.m. 7-16-69 Maiden Voyage to the Moon,’ 1969. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Capsule Gallery image

To Hiro, the first mission to the moon was “the culmination of human energy” and, focusing on that energy, he captured the lift-off on infrared film, which gave the work what he described as “an eerie quality, a surreal ambiance.” The result would become one of his favorite images of all time. Seeing the power of the photograph, the editors reconsidered their earlier position and Harper’s Bazaar published this piece as an editorial page, titled One Giant Leap, in September 1969.

For details contact Capsule Gallery at 212-353-2277 or

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European modern artists