Maker's Mark: Works by Contemporary CA Art + Design Icons@Bonhams LA May 4 Auctions

  • John McCracken (1934-2011); Untitled, 1966; signed and dated 'John McCracken 1966' (on the underside); Larry Bell (b.  1939) Slot 13, 2008, signed, dated and titled 'L Bell '08' (along the bottom edge).

    John McCracken (1934-2011); Untitled, 1966; signed and dated 'John McCracken 1966' (on the underside); Larry Bell (b. 1939) Slot 13, 2008, signed, dated and titled 'L Bell '08' (along the bottom edge).


LOS ANGELES – Bonhams presents two auctions of contemporary art — Made in California: Contemporary Art and The Modern House – on May 4 in Los Angeles. With a combined total of more than 530 lots on offer, the sales explore the diversity of California creativity through works by leading artists and designers.

Bonhams is the only international auction house with a dedicated sale for California artists.

Made in California: Contemporary Art, the premiere sale of contemporary art in Los Angeles, includes works by many of the most prominent California artists whose works consistently achieve record prices and vitally contribute to the growing Los Angeles art market.

“The dramatic rise of the LA contemporary art market over recent years is due in large part to the city’s historic and monumental contributions to art. Bonhams has played an integral role in the development of this vibrant cultural landscape by consistently finding and offering important works by the city’s most celebrated artists and designers of the mid-century, as well as of the present day,” said Director of Contemporary Art Dane Jensen.

Featuring more than 140 exceptional post-war and contemporary works, the spring sale is led by several key examples of California Minimalism. They include LA artist John McCracken’s, Untitled (1966) estimated at U.S. $120,000 – 180,000 from the personal collection of Curator Emeritus Maurice Tuchman, the first curator of Modern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). This sculpture, with its lustrous yellow, lacquered surface blanketing the simple elegant geometry of a rectangular form, was acquired by Tuchman directly from the artist in 1967. 1966 was a landmark year for sculpture, a period defined in part by McCracken’s minimalist style and catalyzed by Tuchman’s influential exhibition, American Sculpture of the Sixties, at LACMA. Leading this wave of new artistic thought—alongside McCracken—was an emergent generation of visionary artists from California, including Larry Bell, Mary Corse and DeWain Valentine whose works featured in Made in California: Contemporary Art.

Another highlight is Richard Diebenkorn’s Interior Green with Chair (1964), estimated at U.S. $100,000 – 150,000, which has been held in an esteemed Bay Area private collection for more than 50 years. Diebenkorn, best known for his Ocean Park series—an urban exploration of the streets of Santa Monica—often exhibits in his paintings a masterful command of color and space and an expressive use of  gestural lines and form—all which are brilliantly illustrated in this painting.

The Modern House auction features close to 400 works from contemporary artists and designers—including nearly complete collections from four homes in California. Furniture, lighting, objects, jewelry, silver, paintings, sculpture, prints and photography on offer cater to the cross-disciplinary sensibilities of today’s buyer who seeks select pieces across a myriad of mediums.

Works of note include an outdoor installation from a home in Palm Springs by Dale Chihuly, an important series of blown glass vertical reeds in vivid cased orange and red glass estimated at U.S. $25,000-$45,000. Two rocking chairs by enigmatic woodworker and designer Sam Maloof will be featured as well, one of which is purported to have been made in 1963 for President John F. Kennedy. Other highlights from The Modern House include works of conceptual design from the legendary New York and LA-based design gallery Moss. From the Dutch design collective Studio Job comes Homework: Cookie Tin (2007) estimated at U.S. $20,000-$30,000. Underscoring the importance of the duo’s practice, a major mid-career retrospective is currently on view at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York. Also from Moss are numerous items offered at no reserve from important conceptual designers Maarten Baas and Fernando and Humberto Campana, among others.

View the catalogue online: Made in California and The Modern House.

Auction preview hours (open to the public): Made in California in Los Angeles, Apr. 30 from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. PST; May 1 from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. PST; May 2 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. PST; May 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. PST.

ABOUT BONHAMS INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONEERS Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the U.S., in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit Follow Bonhams on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Bonhams1793.


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