Phillips Announces Highlights from the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Frieze Week Sales on 13 and 14 October
Evening Sale to Feature Young Contemporary Artists alongside Major Italian Masterworks from Alberto Burri and Salvatore Scarpitta, and a Monumental Mark Bradford
Phillips is pleased to announce highlights from the London Frieze week sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art this October. Building on Phillips’ record-breaking prices achieved for emerging contemporary artists, the Evening Sale proudly presents a selection of works by ultra-contemporary women artists including Austyn Weiner, Rebecca Ness, Michaela Yearwood-Dan, and Anna Weyant. Post-war Italian masterworks from Alberto Burri and Salvatore Scarpitta also feature, alongside highlights from Mark Bradford, Cecily Brown, Elizabeth Peyton, Yayoi Kusama, and Mickalene Thomas. Comprised of 37 lots, the Evening Sale will take place on 14 October at 4pm BST, after the Day Sale on 13 October at 12pm BST.
Olivia Thornton, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe, said “We are very excited to present our London Frieze week auctions. It is always a celebratory moment in the global art calendar, where London is abuzz with collectors and the very best 20th century and contemporary art. We look forward to welcoming our international collectors both in person and online when Phillips’ Berkeley Square galleries open for the view on 5 October.”
Leading the Evening Sale is Alberto Burri’s 1956 painting, Sacco e Rosso. A defining example of Burri’s iconoclastic practice and the radical experimentation of European post-war art, Sacco e Rosso is a work of exceptional harmony and poignancy, its textures and chromatic variances deeply evocative of the traumas of the 20th century. Undoubtably Burri’s most prized works, the burlap paintings are exceptionally rare. Held in the same collection for over 30 years, the Sacco e Rosso is one of only 15 such works in existence, one of which is held in the permanent collection of the Tate Gallery in London. Emphasising its status as a defining piece of Italian post-war art, the work was once held in the personal collection of renowned art historian and Burri expert Cesare Brandi and comes to auction with an extensive exhibition history.
Salvatore Scarpitta’s Red Freight is a rare and arresting example of the Italian American artist’s iconic three-dimensional wrapped paintings that brought him international renown. Executed in 1961, it is composed of wide, sculptural bands of wine-red strips of canvas, wound in a sequence of alternating horizontal and diagonal directions like bandages across a body. The work captures the balance between tension, depth, and plasticity that characterises Scarpitta’s most powerful work. This painting achieved a world record for Scarpitta at the time in which it was last offered at auction.
Combining text and gestural mark-making in expressive passages of vibrant colour, Coping Mechanisms is a work of high intensity by young British artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Yearwood-Dan’s paintings record her observations on the key social issues of the day, prompted by her reflections on race, class, gender, and environmentalism. Focusing on tensions between nature and culture, her paintings and sculptures incorporate botanical motifs and forms in the creation of lush environments that are contemplative and visually compelling.
Characteristic of Anna Weyant’s studies of adolescent girlhood, the young Cynthia looks out at us with an inscrutable and disarmingly knowing gaze. Richly painted in porcelain tones, touched with blushes of rose and peach, the portrait demonstrates Weyant’s painterly skill and the careful balance between Old Master luxuriance and Surreal disquiet. Intensely luminous, Cynthia’s softened contours and muted palette are highly evocative of the technical perfection, and dramatic manipulation of light and compositional clarity sought by Early Netherlandish painters, illuminating Weyant’s distinct visual language.
Pencil Flipper belongs to a body of work produced in 2020 by American artist Rebecca Ness, documenting life during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. These paintings communicate universal feelings of isolation and the comfort of the everyday that were especially acute during this period of recent history. Working from photographs, Ness’ paintings are produced with remarkable attention to detail and inventive additions. The present work was included in Pieces of Mind, the artist’s 2020 exhibition with Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles.
LA based artist Austyn Weiner’s Working Through Not Knowing a Damn Thing About Any Thing is supercharged with a palette that references the richly saturated colours of her childhood in Miami. With a background in photography, Weiner’s work has a strong autobiographical narrative. The artist works across a wide range of mediums including oil paint, crayon, and charcoal, deconstructing physicality and feeling into sensual, erotically charged forms.
Following his auction debut in Phillips’ London Evening Sale earlier this year, is Brooklyn-based artist Doron Langberg’s 2018 painting Nir and Zach. Included in the group exhibition ZIG ZAG ZIG with New York’s DC Moore Gallery in 2018, the present work is a tender scene of domestic intimacy. Depicted in a moment of calm repose, the two figures find themselves comfortably alone, Nir absorbed by the book on his lap as Zach sleeps on a nearby sofa. Soaked in warm washes of rich colour, the painting’s inviting glow blurs the boundaries between material reality and memory, charging the work with emotional and psychological depth as the boundaries between interiority and environment dissolve.
Young contemporary artist and auction newcomer Julian Pace makes his auction debut with Kanye, painted in June 2021. Currently based in Los Angeles, rising star and self-taught artist Pace interrogates the play on absurd yet deep-rooted themes of celebrity worship, identity, and self-absorption in contemporary society through grand and imposing large-scale portraiture. Kanye portrays the rapper and celebrity Kanye West, rendered through Pace’s characteristically exaggerated proportions, bold angularity, and highly textured application of paint. Included in his recent exhibition Julian Pace: Some Paintings held at Simchowitz Gallery in October 2021, Pace’s portrait of the iconic American celebrity captures the graphic quality of his practice and the intersection of the traditional conventions of portraiture and mass media culture.
Further Leading Highlights
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic motifs of Yayoi Kusama’s incredible 70-year career, the polka-dot covered pumpkin combines the artist’s compulsive focus on infinity and repetition with a highly personal and self-reflective dimension. Kusama’s brilliantly patterned gourds are so closely connected to the artist that they function as a universal signature of the artist. Rendered in vibrant hues of rich, golden yellow and deep black, the pumpkin is joyously misshapen here, crowned with an unusual blue stalk and set against a background of tessellating green geometric shapes that draw immediate connections with the artist’s celebrated Infinity Net series.
One of the leading figurative painters of her generation, Elizabeth Peyton’s Evan at the Reading Festival 1993 is a stunningly tender portrait. Working primarily from photographs and printed media, Peyton is best known for her romantic portraits of rock stars, movie icons, and members of European Royalty, although the tone of her small-scale paintings moves far beyond celebrity adoration. Charged with emotion, these works collapse distinctions between realist painting and expressionist verve, and between the public performance of celebrity and the deeply personal relationships that we forge with them.
Mickalene Thomas’ As if You Read My Mind from the artist’s She Works Hard For The Money Pin-Up Series presents a radical vision of Black femininity, one that redefines desire and feminine sexuality on its own terms. Combining multiple textures in its construction, Thomas’s sensitivity to materials is well demonstrated here, delicate hand painted, and collaged areas bordered by the artist’s signature rhinestone details. These decorative elements also draw attention to certain connections between beauty and artifice, gender and performance that is foundational to Thomas’ practice.
Mark Bradford’s monumental Nodding Gunpowder was executed in 2013 and presented in the artist’s major presentation with White Cube in London the same year (estimate £2,000,000 - 3,000,000). A restrained palette of black, white, and grey focuses our attention on the expressive force of Bradford’s command of materials and line. A monumental expression of careful attention to the realities of urban life in America, and the complex interplay of class, race, and history that shape our social experience, Nodding Gunpowder is a masterful expression of the artist’s distinctive and socially anchored mode of abstraction. A sister work titled Riding the Cut Vein now resides in the permanent collection of the Tate Gallery in London.
Damien Hirst’s Five Antique Torsos initially presents itself as a piece of classical statuary. Playing with ideas of truth, authenticity, and narrative, the work in fact belongs to Hirst’s elaborate and complex meditation on the nature of art, authenticity, and the history of collecting. An example of this work was presented in the staggering 2017 exhibition, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale
Leading the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale on 13 October is Gunther Förg’s Untitled. Painted in 2004, during a period of great critical acclaim, Untitled centres around Förg’s unique brushstrokes and is representative of the series of works he completed which eventually evolved into his ‘Grid Paintings’ series. Further highlights of the Day Sale include Arnaldo Pomodoro’s bronze orb Sfera, Damien Hirst’s Crown in Petrified Honeycomb, and Yayoi Kusama’s psychedelic 1979 portrait Woman of Reminiscence. Additional sale highlights include works by Richard Prince, Share Hughes, and Howard Hodgkin.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Auction: 14 October 2022
Auction viewing: 5 - 14 October 2022
Location: 30 Berkeley Square
Click here for more information: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/UK010622
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale
Auction: 13 October 2022
Auction viewing: 5 - 14 October 2022
Location: 30 Berkeley Square
Click here for more information: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/UK010722