Highlights from Gray's Auctions of Contemporary Art, Tribal Art

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  • October 25, 2014

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Sale 82 Lot 4: Zhao Gang (b. 1961), Black Dream, Oil on canvas, Marked with inventory number Gang017 on verso. Estimate $ 40,000-60,000

Artworks from Ann & Norman Roulet’s extraordinary collection of contemporary, African, Oceanic and ethnographic art are coming up for auction at Gray’s Auctioneers and Appraisers in Cleveland, Ohio.

Divided into two consecutive days of auctions, the Post-war & Contemporary Art auction will take place on November 5, and the African, Oceanic and ethnographic artifacts auction on November 6.  Both auctions will start at 11am each day, with live online bidding offered by LiveAuctioneers.com

The Roulet’s collection of contemporary art at auction on November 5 feature Andy Warhol’s iconic screen print Moonwalk (lot 79). The work, one of the last prints made by Warhol before his death on February 22, 1987 and the first of a planned Warhol series on great moments in television, depicts Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin Jr. standing on the moon next to the American flag.  Buzz Aldrin was a crew member on the 1969 Apollo XI flight to the moon which was televised live around the world.  An article from The Washington Post in 1988 quotes Aldrin’s reaction to Warhol’s piece, saying “When you’re the second man on the moon, you might not expect to be as remembered as the first.” Aldrin followed Neil Armstrong down the ladder from the moon lander to become the second man on the moon. This print is also signed by Aldrin on the reverse side.

Sale 82 Lot 36 Gerhard Richter (German, b. 1932), Guildenstern, 1998, Cibachrome between plexiglass and aluminum board, Signed and numbered 9/35 on verso. Labelled 35, III A.P. Published by Anthony D'Offay Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. Estimate $ 30,000-40,000

The post-war and contemporary catalogue spotlights Stanley Yulish’s collection which includes amongst other notable highlights, Zhao Gang’s large early abstract Black Dream (lot 4), an oil on canvas exhibited at Vorpal Gallery in Selected Abstract Work 1983 – 88, and featured in the exhibition’s published catalogue. The enduring success of the artist’s early abstract work is reflected in current auction results in Hong Kong on October 6, 2014 where two smaller, early pieces sold for HKD $509,760 and HKD $339,840 respectively.

A private collector from New York has commissioned Gray’s to sell several fine works including two Francis Bacon lithograph triptychs. One is Untitled from 1983, the second from the August Series is from 1972.  This collection also includes Gerhardt Richter’s Guildenstern, from 1998 on cibachrome between plexiglass and aluminum board; a rare Brice Marden ink on paper, untitled drawing from 1986; and a David Hockney lithograph, Rain, from the Weather Series, 1973.

Boake and Marian Sells are collectors of contemporary art in Ohio. Artworks from their collection at Gray’s on Nov 5 include Steven Campbell’s monumental Young Camper Discovering Grotto in the Ground. Exhibited at the Barbara Toll Gallery in 1983, Campbell created this work after arriving from his native Glasgow to study in Brooklyn at the Pratt Institute, the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. Within days of the show, the doyen of the New York art critics, John Russell, fully endorsed the painterly qualities of a young, unknown Scottish artist in his New York Times review. Campbell died at only 54 in 2007. Sandy Moffat writes in his obituary for The Guardian, “His monumental paintings - vivid in imagery, complex in detail and rich in formal invention, depicting intriguing narratives inspired by the novels of PG Wodehouse and Bram Stoker - stunned Scottish audiences and artists alike. Never apologetic about his identity - "I'm the only one doing Scottish Painting" - he proceeded to explore and confront the varied extremes of the national psyche.”

Sale 83 Lot 58 A Baga D'Mba Tribe Carved Wood Fertility Headdress, Guinea - Niger River Region, 20th Century, Carved wood with metal studs. Estimate $ 5,000-7,000

The proceeds from the sale of the collection on Ann and Norma Roulet’s African and Oceanic Artifacts, which takes place at Gray’s on November 6 at 11am, will benefit the Cleveland Institute of Art’s new Ann & Norman Roulet Student and Alumni Gallery. The lots include lot 58 a magnificent Baga D'Mba carved wood fertility headdress from the Niger River Region in Guinea. Exhibited in 1992 at the "African Sculptural Traditions", exhibition in The John J. McDonough Museum of Art, in Youngstown, Ohio, the piece was also photographed for “African Masks: The Barbier-Mueller Collection” by Iris Hahner-Herzog, Maria Kecskesi & Lazlo Vajda (plate #22).

Gray’s Auctioneers welcomes bidders in person to preview both auctions in person weekdays, October 31-November 4, 11am-6pm and Saturday, November 1, noon-4pm.  The complete illustrated catalog can be found at GraysAuctioneers.com.  Live, telephone, absentee and internet bidding is available, with live online bidding offered by LiveAuctioneers.com.  Condition reports will be provided upon request.

Gray’s Auctioneers and Appraisers is the premiere auction house in Northern Ohio, holding live auctions every month, accepting consignments daily and offering complimentary valuations for the community every day. For more information please contact Serena Harragin at 216.458.7695, or by email at serena@graysauctioneers.com.

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