FRANKLIN, Mass. – It’s fitting that the top two lots in Woodshed Art Auctions’ internet only fine art auction held February 1st were claimed by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Not only were the two arguably the kings of the New York Pop Art scene of the 1980s, they currently occupy first and second place for most ever paid for an artwork by an American artist at auction.
Warhol held the record for several years when his 1963 canvas titled Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) sold for $104.5 million at an auction held in 2013 at Sotheby’s in New York. But in May of last year, Basquiat’s enormous and powerful untitled skull painting sold for a staggering $110.54 million, also thru Sotheby’s. The buyer was the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
Those nosebleed prices weren’t attained in the Woodshed auction, but they were respectable for attributions. The Basquiat, coincidentally, was also an untitled skull, similar to its larger, more famous cousin, but diminutive (12 inches by 22 inches, unframed). The signed oil on canvas sold to a bidder in Greece for $37,500. Basquiat died from a drug overdose in 1988. He was only 27.
The Warhol was a gouache on paper of the iconic Apple Macintosh logo, done around 1985 and signed front and back, verso marked with reference numbers and framed. It was possibly a color study for an Apple advertising commission. The playful and vivid painting, 16 ½ inches square, sold to a bidder in China for $36,000. Warhol died following gallbladder surgery in 1987, at 58.
“Several websites for Apple fans spread the news about the Warhol Apple Macintosh study, and to our pleasant surprise many of the bidders on that piece bid on other lots too,” remarked Bruce Wood of Woodshed Art Auctions. The Private Art Collections & Estates Discoveries Auction consisted of 142 lots of modestly priced artworks from consignors in many countries worldwide.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium, which was 25 percent for LiveAuctioneers.com and 20 percent for the Woodshed Art Auctions website, www.woodshedartauctions.com. Bidding thru the website was just introduced.
Andy Warhol appeared more than once in the sale. A mixed media (acrylic, silkscreen and ink) on paper of the famous Coca-Cola Bottle, attributed to Warhol and signed front and back, rose to $25,200. Also, an ink on buff-colored drawing paper attributed to Warhol, revealing his quirky ongoing preoccupation with ladies’ shoes in his earlier 1950s illustrations, topped out at $9,600.
Finally, a mixed media painting on white mould-made paper attributed to Warhol, depicting the actor Dennis Hopper, pencil signed, 16 ¼ inches by 11 ½ inches, unframed, fetched $5,700. And who doesn’t love Banksy, the anonymous British graffiti artist and political activist? A spray paint on cardboard attributed to Banksy, titled go back to bed, signed in stencil, realized $10,200.
An oil on canvas mounted onto board, signed by and attributed to Jane Peterson (Am., 1876-1965), titled Boats in Gloucester Harbor, in a frame, was the sale’s third top lot, selling for $26,400. An abstract composition, gouache and graphite on paper attributed to Stuart Davis (Am., 1892-1964), signed in graphite under the 18 inch by 25 ¼ inch image, garnered $9,600.
An oil on canvas abstract black and white painting attributed to Sam Francis (Am., 1923-1994), the profound Abstract Expressionist, signed lower left, 22 ½ inches by 21 inches framed, breezed to $9,600. Also, an oil on canvas painting attributed to Cuban artist Wifredo Lam (1902-1982), signed upper right and verso, framed in a three-inch gold frame with black liner, sold for $6,875.
Salvador Dali (Sp., 1904-1989) also made multiple appearances in the sale. Artworks done in the manner of the irrepressible Surrealist included an ink and gouache drawing on paper, unframed, titled Figures in Landscape, signed front and back ($2,400, to a Belgian bidder); and an oil on linen canvas titled Dream, unframed, 13 ¾ inches by 11 ¾ inches ($4,062, to a Florida bidder).
A study for the painting La Pastorale attributed to Henri Matisse (Fr., 1869-1954), the original of which was stolen by a lone thief from the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris in 2010, went for $4,200. Also, an unframed painting attributed to the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1970), 8 inches by 10 inches, with a COA from Gallery 64 in Belfast, Ireland, rose to $3,600.
An untitled oil and acrylic on paper attributed to Mark Rothko (Am., 1903-1970), signed verso and measuring 14 inches by 11 inches, went to a determined bidder for $6,000. Guy Carleton Wiggins (Am., 1883-1962), famous for his snowy New York City streetscapes, was represented in the sale by an oil on paperboard titled Washington Square Winter, signed and titled ($4,687).
An untitled painting attributed to the renowned American artist Norman Rockwell (1894-1989), likely a work for an unpublished story and capturing the poses, facial expressions and good-natured humor that made him famous, realized $5,000; while a watercolor and pencil on paper done in the manner of Agnes Martin (1912-2004), titled Geometric Composition, made $4,375.
An oil on canvas Interior Scene attributed to the noted African American artist H.O. Tanner (1859-1937), signed lower right and framed, 25 ½ inches by 24 ¾ inches, sold to a bidder in Tennessee for $3,750. Also, Study for a Woman Reading, an oil on canvas attributed to the American post-impressionist painter John Whorf (1903-1959), signed, commanded $1,140.
A tempera on paper signed and attributed to the Belgian artist Georges Remi (1920-1983), who wrote under the pen name Herge, brought $5,000. The work, titled Tintin and Milou (Snowy), was for The Adventures of Tintin, the beloved children’s series of 24 comic albums created by Herge. Also, an abstract oil painting on paper attributed to Dutch artist Karel Appel (1921-2006), signed upper right and in a white gold gilded frame, was sold to a bidder in Portugal for $2,500.
Woodshed Art Auctions is a family-owned art gallery specializing in oil painting restoration and live and online art auctions, celebrating its 50th anniversary. The firm is always accepting quality artworks for future auctions. To inquire about consigning a single piece or an entire collection, you may call Bruce Wood at 508-533-6277; or, e-mail him at email@example.com.
For more information about Woodshed Art Auctions and the firm’s calendar of upcoming online-only fine art auctions, please visit www.woodshedartauctions.com.
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About Woodshed Art Auctions
Woodshed Art Auctions conducts online-only fine art sales, usually featuring the most famous names in all of fine art. Most of the works in the sales are attributions.