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Ed Clark

Untitled Ed Clark piece top seller at Rago’s Postwar and Contemporary Art auction

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LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — Rago’s Postwar and Contemporary Art sale on September 13 saw terrific and often unexpected results from a variety of artists, including Alfred Leslie, Louise Nevelson, and Donald Judd. The sale’s complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The Rago auction offered painting, sculpture, drawing and photography from some of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. And while the sale had Andy Warhol’s Joseph Beuys screenprint, the lot passed.

Instead, the top lot was an untitled acrylic and gesso on canvas by abstract painter Ed Clark (1926-2019). Measuring 35.375in square, the piece was estimated at $200,000-$300,000. It landed right in the middle of that range, at $250,000 ($327,500 with buyer’s premium).

Alfred Leslie (1927-2023) is a rare example of an artist changing his dominant style without breaking his stride. Known early in his career as an abstract expressionist alongside fellow New York artists such as Joan Mitchell, he abandoned expressionism in the 1960s in favor of realistic figurative portraiture.

Rago’s sale had a 1957 untitled work from Leslie’s first phase. Estimated at $10,000-$15,000, the oil and assemblage on canvas hammered at a whopping $95,000 ($124,450 with buyer’s premium), perhaps in a nod to Leslie’s passing in January of this year.

A piece by sculptress Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) was also a major winner in the Rago sale. Something of an iconoclast, Nevelson routinely wore a wild mixture of ethnic clothing and false eyelashes made of mink that matched her larger-than-life persona. Her 1966 work Atmosphere and Environment II, a monumental and monochromatic example of her trademark wall pieces, sold for $55,000 ($72,050 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $15,000-$20,000.
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Ed Clark, ‘Untitled,’ which sold for $250,000 ($327,500 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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Alfred Leslie, ‘Untitled,’ which sold for $95,000 ($124,450 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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Louise Nevelson, ‘Atmosphere and Environment II,’ which sold for $55,000 ($72,050 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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Donald Judd, ‘Untitled (Tomato Red),’ which sold for $200,000 ($262,000 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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Alex Katz, ‘Tiger Lilies,’ which sold for $38,000 ($49,780 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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Juan Hamilton, ‘Untitled,’ which sold for $15,000 ($19,650 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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After Fernando Botero, ‘Trojan Horse,’ which sold for $16,000 ($20,960 with buyer’s premium) at Rago.
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Ed Clark

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