Icons of 20th Century and Contemporary Art Lead Phillips’ November Day Sale in New York
Women in Abstraction to be Showcased in the Auction on 16 November, With Helen Frankenthaler’s Saturday Night Leading the Sale
Auction to Also Feature Works by Gerhard Richter, George Condo, Elizabeth Peyton, and Lucy Bull
NEW YORK – 31 OCTOBER 2022 – Phillips is proud to announce highlights from the November Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. Taking place on 16 November, following the Evening Sale the day prior, and featuring 313 lots, the sale showcases a wide range of works across a multitude of mediums, spanning a century of significant contributions to the art historical canon. Leading the Morning Session is Helen Frankenthaler’s Saturday Night, while Jonas Wood’s GG London NPP #1 serves as the top lot for the Afternoon Session.
Annie Dolan and Patrizia Koenig, Co-Heads of the Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, New York, said, “We are delighted to present Phillips’ November Day Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art – a sale that has become a highly anticipated moment in the auction calendar, recognizing works by truly exceptional artists across the category. This season, the auction shines a spotlight on the theme of Women in Abstraction, featuring over 20 artists who work in the mode of abstraction. Spanning 10 decades and three continents, the Day Sale includes works by Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Vivian Springford and Emily Mason in the Morning Session, with Lucy Bull, Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Tauba Auerbach, Mary Weatherford and Amy Sillman featured in the Afternoon Session.”
The Morning Session is led by Helen Frankenthaler's large scale Saturday Night from 1985. Housed in the same private New York collection since it was acquired from André Emmerich Gallery in 1986, this work showcases Frankenthaler’s creation of pictorial space with a subtle yet complex rendering of color, providing insight into a critical year in her life. John Elderfield described 1985 as a year which saw “the artist at the height of her powers.” The seven-foot-tall painting boasts a deep, soak-stained purple backdrop to sweeping, pearlescent brushstrokes. Frankenthaler is one of the most sought-after artists on the market right now, and Phillips is thrilled to be offering this work as the top lot of the Day Sales.
The Morning Session also includes works from important collections such as those from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad. Following the success of the sale of the Estate’s ceramic works in the June Design auctions in New York last spring, Phillips is excited to be able to include important paintings and sculpture from the collection of Philadelphia lawyer Jack Bershad and his wife Helen Bershad, who was an artist in her own right. Leading the section are an expressive early Helen Frankenthaler painting, Brown Bird, 1959, and an exquisite Louise Nevelson 1975 white sculpture from the Dawn’s Landscape series.
Also featured in the sale is a selection of sculptures from an Important Private Collector Being Sold to Benefit the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. This includes Barbara Hepworth's Three Forms (Winter Rocks) from 1965, one of the first of approximately 60 sculptures she carved in slate between the 1960s and 1970s. Inspired by the landscape of St. Ives, the three organic forms are differently sized and imperfect in shape, but proportionally spaced and smooth in surface, demonstrating Hepworth’s always harmonious arrangements. The importance of “three” in Hepworth’s practice began as early as the 1930s, and she continued making variations of three-part compositions throughout her career.
Other notable lots include Bob Thompson’s The Family, 1961, kicking off the Morning Session. This work comes to market concurrent with the artist’s celebrated retrospective currently on view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles – the first museum exhibition dedicated to the late artist’s work in over two decades. Works by other previously under-recognized 20th century artists including Richard Mayhew, Norman Lewis, and Ernie Barnes, who all feature prominently in the sale.
The Morning Session also features Pop masterworks in painting and sculpture, such as Andy Warhol’s Mineola Motorcycle (positive), 1985-1986 and George Segal’s The Dancers, 1971-1982. Another example from the bronze edition of Segal’s The Dancers holds the artist’s auction world record, achieved in 2014.
The Afternoon Session is led by Jonas Wood’s GG London NPP #1 from Wood’s celebrated Notepads series. Exemplifying the artist’s sophisticated use of color and line, the present work sees Wood using enlarged letterhead stationery as the background for his monumental painting. Standing nearly 8 feet high, GG London NPP #1 presents the viewer with a whimsical still-life of patterned vessels. Floating decontextualized in space without gravity, the plants are evocative of the organic shapes and hyperbolic lines in Calder’s mobiles and Henri Matisse’s cut outs.
Painted in 1996, George Condo’s Barney belongs to the discrete series of portraits with which the artist first introduced his beloved species of “antipodal beings” – strange but disarming creatures characterized by bulging eyes, ballooning cheeks, and bulbous noses. With these works Condo ushered in a new phase in his artistic practice. Fusing painterly virtuosity with wit and imagination, here he constructs a portrait that brilliantly fuses the grand tradition of Old Master painting with playful allusions to contemporary American culture.
Composed with assured brushstrokes and a vivid, jewel-bright palette, Elizabeth Peyton’s Burkhard Riemschneider is a luminous portrait from one of the finest figurative painters of her generation. Painted in 1995, it depicts the eponymous gallerist and as such is an important example amongst several paintings Peyton made of art world figures. Intimately scaled, but possessing immense emotional power, this painting exhibits Peyton’s genius as a colorist as the work’s subject glows with a seeming effortlessness against a backdrop awash in peach and coral.
Additional top lots include Albert Oehlen’s Untitled, 1992, which was included in the artist’s first major institutional exhibition at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg in 1994-1995 and is a powerful example from the period in which the German artist pioneered his “post-non-representational” abstract mode. Raymond Pettibon’s Untitled (The lake of blood…), 2000, is a definitive example of the artist’s iconic Surfer series and comes to auction in the heels of the auction record Phillips set for the artist in November 2021.
A testament to Phillips’ reputation as the auction house for emerging art, the Afternoon session includes auction debuts by Devan Shimoyama and Alannah Farrell, as well as works by highly sought-after artists Lucy Bull, Emily Mae Smith, Cristina BanBan, and Jenna Gribbon. It also includes a work by Dominique Fung, whom Phillips successfully introduced to auction in May 2022, and Michaela Yearwood-Dan, for whom Phillips achieved a record at the London Evening Sale in October.
Additional highlights include Lina Iris Viktor’s Constellations VI from 2018, which represents the first time a work by the artist has been at auction since April 2021 when Phillips debuted another work from the series with great success in London. Coinciding with Wolfgang Tillman’s solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the offering of Greifbar 27 presents an opportunity to acquire a work from the artist’s sought-after Freischwimmer series. Similarly, Angel Otero’s Figuring You Out, 2015, comes to auction alongside the artist’s first solo show at Hauser & Wirth New York, taking place this Fall.
Auction: 16 November 2022
Auction viewing: 31 October – 15 November
Location: 432 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Click here for more information on the Morning Session: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/NY010822
Click here for more information on the Afternoon Session: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/NY010922
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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.