On November 15, Bonhams New York will feature a dynamic array of works from iconic artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Ed Ruscha, Deborah Butterfield, and Fernando Botero, in a tightly curated auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art. Leading the sale is Andy Warhol’s Puma Invader (Positive) (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000), a larger-than-life projection of Warhol’s personal commentary on consumerism, pop culture, and mass communication. Completed just one year before Warhol’s death in 1987, the stark ad for a Puma sneaker is stylistically evocative of Warhol's early commercial success as a commercial artist, yet mature in its construction.
In the face of an increasingly wider use of photographic imagery, Warhol retains a handmade quality to this work. Executed with bold lines, the work stands six feet tall, elevating and transforming the humble and everyday image of a sneaker into a monumental icon all on its own. As contemporary culture fixated on individual style and superficial appearance, the sneaker became not only a means of personal expression, but also a status symbol. In the lower right corner, however, the price of the shoes—$24.99 a pair—is sharply advertised, playfully deflating the glamorized subject and bringing the viewer back to reality.
Robert Indiana’s LOVE (estimate: $400,000-600,000), is a stellar example of the convergence of typography, graphic design and artistic sentiment. This example, conceived in 1966 and executed in 2000, features the now-quintessential stacked glossy letters balancing atop one another in Indiana’s signature turquoise and fire-engine red. The configuration is simultaneously intimate and inclusive, assertive and inviting. Each letter appears comfortably settled amongst each other, nestled in such a way that echoes the true sentiments of the word.
Two pieces by Ed Ruscha are also among the works being offered in this sale, with a particularly rare vertical composition seen in A Nightclub Named “The Universe” (estimate $200,000-300,000). Known for creating masterpieces by elevating banal words, phrases, and even letters, both S-Farm (estimate: $200,000-300,000) and A Nightclub Named "The Universe," were produced at the apex of Ruscha's prolific output. Rendered in the artist's trademark typeface, both works are suggestive of a force larger than life, emphasized by their cosmic subject matter. With the words presented without context in a detached manner, the pieces force the viewer to contend with one individual fragmented thought at a time.
A hauntingly beautiful equine sculpture, Dance Horse (estimate: $250,000-350,000) by Deborah Butterfield is also among the offerings of the sale. This unique bronze form was initially created with found sticks and branches to construct a wooden model that the artist describes as a ‘ghost.’ The skeleton frame is then cast in bronze, with the wood imprinting its form in the metal before becoming ash. The finished sculpture is far more than simply an outline of an equine form; rather, it seems to come alive with energy and motion, a monument to nature itself.
Select Latin American highlights from the sale include a sculpture and a painting by Fernando Botero, both works featuring his distinctive style of endearingly full-figured female figures, and monumental woven pieces by celebrated Colombian artist Olga de Amaral.
The works will preview at Bonhams New York November 10-14 (select highlights on view from November 3-9), and the auction taking place November 15 at 5:00 p.m. A full catalog is available at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24047/