CINCINNATI – On Thursday, September 14, Caza Sikes will present the Friedlander Collection, an 86-lot sale of avant-garde 20th-century art and sculpture bought by two generations of an Ohio family. These include a 1934 portrait by Paul Klee, a large still life by Tom Wesselmann, a polished bronze by Barbara Hepworth, and a Rene Magritte color lithograph. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The collection was assembled in two phases spanning half of a century. Alfred Friedlander (1902-66) and his wife Jane (1909-99) bought from a group of respected and celebrated dealers in the 1950s and 60s while Susan and William Friedlander collected as recently as the 2000s. 

Alfred and Jane Friedlander’s key purchase was a 1934 oil, watercolor, paste and ink portrait by Paul Klee (1879-1940). The provenance of this work is particularly rich. After it failed to sell in a Klee exhibition held at Kunsthalle Basel in 1935 priced at 700 Swiss francs, Erwantender (Expectant Man) or Dans L’attente (While Waiting) remained with Klee’s widow, Lily, until she died in 1946. Subsequent owners included the playwright Clifford Odets (1906-63) and G. David Thompson (1899-1965), the Pittsburgh collector who amassed a large collection of Klee’s work. Thompson is photographed in one of the galleries in his home with Erwartender in the background.

According to the original receipt included with the lot, it entered the Friedlander collection on April 22, 1956, bought from the influential dealer Theodore Schempp (1904-1988) at a cost of $2800. It is now estimated at $600,000-$1 million.

Other standouts in the sale lineup include a small 1962 polished bronze by Barbara Hepworth, Holed Hemisphere, which the Friedlanders purchased in 1964 from the Gimpel Fils gallery in London. The work, which is offered with the original letter of purchase, the check for $647, and a gallery statement signed and stamped by Peter Gimpel, has an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

Later acquisitions by Susan and William Friedlander included Still Life with Lillies, Fruit & Photo, a signed 1986 Tom Wesselmann purchased from the Carl Solway Gallery the following year. It is now offered with an estimate of $150,000-$250,000.