Purity and playfulness coexist in Capsule Auctions’ Sept. 22 sale

Henry Codax, ‘Untitled (Rouge),’ estimated at $5,000-$8,000

Henry Codax, ‘Untitled (Rouge),’ estimated at $5,000-$8,000

NEW YORK – Capsule Auctions presents Nowadays, an exciting collection of contemporary art and photography, on Thursday, September 22, starting at 1 pm Eastern time. The sale showcases dozens of hard-to-find and new-to-auction works by some of the most sought-after contemporary artists. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

One of the most intriguing artists in the Nowadays sale lineup isn’t an artist at all, but a work of fiction: inspired by the writings of French literary theorists like Roland Barthes, Henry Codax’s body of work is authored by a character of sorts, a ghostly pseudonym. The Codax paintings included in the sale, Untitled (Rouge) and Untitled (Yellow), estimated at $5,000-$8,000 and $3,000-$5,000, respectively, take issue with the relationship between text and the art object, as do the rest of Codax’s immense monochromes. They shun written accompaniment of any kind and untie themselves from traditional ideas of artistic creation, acting instead as pure aesthetic. These works are paintings without a painter, beautiful voids ready to be inscribed with discussions of our conceptions of authorship and art. Despite its distaste for the status quo, Codax’s avant-garde conceptual work is no stranger to attention: it was named the epicenter of “the secret world of art” by The Observer in 2012.

Dan Christensen, ‘Nerine,’ estimated at $10,000-$15,000

Dan Christensen, ‘Nerine,’ estimated at $10,000-$15,000

Dan Christensen’s Nerine, estimated at $10,000-$15,000, is another standout. The composition’s intense focus on color reflects the artist’s strong ties to Color Field painting and Abstract Expressionism movements. Effervescent and original, Nerine highlights Christensen’s ability to explore the limits of pictorial form.

Valentin Carron, ‘Untitled (Cross),’ estimated at $10,000-$20,000

Valentin Carron, ‘Untitled (Cross),’ estimated at $10,000-$20,000

Valentin Carron has a talent for finding the absurd in the everyday. Two pieces of his included in the upcoming sale, Le Dedain, estimated at $20,000-$30,000, and Untitled (Cross), estimated at $10,000-$20,000, exemplify his ability to imbue recognizable or iconic images with new, often humorous, meaning. Unlike the small-scale crucifixes the artist is used to seeing affixed to necklaces and church signage in his rural Swiss hometown, Cross is positively massive. Standing a whopping 11 1/2ft tall, this work certainly fills a room. In this work and throughout his oeuvre, Carron manages to refrain from sacrificing reverence in his acts of iconoclasm. Cross and Le Dedain simultaneously admire and mock the objects that act as their inspiration.

Pat Passlof, ‘Emily,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000

Pat Passlof, ‘Emily,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000

Also featured in the sale are works by one of the most notable artist couples on the post-war art scene, Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof. The included works, Resnick’s Untitled (Group of Four Figures), estimated at $800-$1,200, and Passlof’s Emily, estimated at $2,000-$4,000, certainly speak to each other. The gestural brushstrokes in each bring a mellow yet forceful sense of movement and emotion to the compositions. In these works, the artists bring their Abstract Expressionist sensibility to figurative painting, underscoring the versatility that became part of their legacies. The pair’s art can be found in the permanent collections of major museums across the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Milton Resnick, ‘Untitled (Group of Four Figures),’ estimated at $800-$1,200

Milton Resnick, ‘Untitled (Group of Four Figures),’ estimated at $800-$1,200

Peter Coffin’s Untitled (Pirate), one of the more playful pieces in the September 22 auction lineup, pays homage to childhood literary classics such as Treasure Island. This polished cast aluminum figure, estimated at $12,000-$18,000, pushes pop culture’s conception of the buccaneer to its breaking point, sporting a pet parrot, two eyepatches, two hooks for hands, and two peg legs. Another version of this spirited sculpture sits in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Peter Coffin, ‘Untitled (Pirate),’ estimated at $12,000-$18,000

Peter Coffin, ‘Untitled (Pirate),’ estimated at $12,000-$18,000

The 126-lot sale also includes works by Anja Schworer and Michael Loew. For more information, please contact Capsule Auctions at admin@capsuelauctions.com or 212-353-2277.

 

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