New York - Christie’s is honored to announce the upcoming sale of an outstanding American private collection: The Schulhof Collection. This exquisite and thoughtfully composed private collection includes a wonderful range of Modern, Post-War and Contemporary works of art that reflect the taste and passion of the highly regarded collectors, Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof. The selection of more than 60 works, which will be offered across several sale categories this fall, is estimated to realize $30 million and includes artists such as Joan Miro, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Richard Serra, Robert Ryman, Robert Indiana, Sol Lewitt, Joseph Albers, Yves Klein, Pierre Soulages, Cy Twombly amongst others. As significant donors, the Schulhofs have gifted a portion of their collection to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. The collection will have its own designated gallery in the Museum and grounds, which will be revealed during the Biennale opening in 2013.
A special public preview of the collection will take place on September 22-23 at the Schulhof home in Kings Point, Long Island. A selection of highlights will then travel on a world tour, first stopping in London, then Paris and San Francisco, before arriving in New York for a special exhibition in advance of the fall sales season.
Laura Paulson, Christie’s Deputy Chairman and International Director for Post-War and Contemporary Art, declared: “It is an honor to present this exquisite collection which reflects the unique, inquisitive and pioneering eye of Hannelore and Rudolf Schulhof. The Schulhof’s were actively collecting some of the most important American and European artists well before they were recognized, and developed strong relationships with the artist they collected which enabled them to acquire some of their very best works. The collection perfectly chronicles the international developments in 20th century art, which are rarely seen in American collections. ”
POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY ART
14-15 November 2012
The Schulhofs have been praised as collectors for the refinement and discernment with which they brought together art from both the European and the American continents, collecting American Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, European paintings and drawings from the Post-War period.
The deeply spiritual nature of Agnes Martin’s work captivated Mrs. Hannelore Schulhof’s imagination from the moment she first encountered the artist’s work at New York’s Elkon Gallery. The two women shared a passionate belief that art had an almost divine ability to transpose the rigid boundaries of its physicality and connect with something deep within the human soul. It is unsurprising then that the Schulhof’s amassed a remarkable collection of works that spans the full scope of the artist’s career, including both paintings and works on paper. Ever since that first encounter with Agnes Martin’s work, Mrs. Schulhof was entranced by the artist’s subtle version of Abstraction, an admiration that would last for many years. She often fondly recalled the story of their first meeting when Martin approached her at a gallery and asked, “Do you have any of my paintings?” “Yes, ten of them,” Hannelore replied, “Then you must be Mrs Schulhof!” Martin responded. Two important paintings will be part of the evening sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art: Untitled #20, a luminous glow of pink and blue bands from 1974 and Untitled #7 an enigmatic painting from1981 (estimate: $2-3 million each). Both paintings stand as a victorious tribute to the work of an artist who spent her career trying to capture the true essence of human existence. Her paintings transcend the purely visual and extend their reach deep into the soul.
Richard Serra Schulhof’s Curve was commissioned by Mr. and Mrs. Schulhof directly from the artist, and Serra — who focuses on the experience of sculpture in the place where it resides — visited the Schulhof’s house in Kings Point, New York to select the appropriate site. He was attracted to a quiet part of the garden and produced a work which interacted flawlessly with its environment. Serra’s fondness for this gracefully arcing form would be demonstrated in several of his most important public commissions. Fabricated in Serra’s favored medium of COR-TEN steel, Schulhof’s Curve’s has intimate proportions (44 x 447 x 89 in.) which allow the work to be experienced on a much more personal and intimate scale (estimate : $ 2,500,000-3,500,000).
While Ellsworth Kelly is perhaps best known for his abstract paintings--canvases with sharply delineated areas of bold, flat color laid out in pure geometric shapes--the sculptures he has made throughout his career explore many of the same issues regarding form and space. The stainless steel sculpture Untitled executed in 1987, is typical of Kelly's work, extremely minimal, evoking a form without any type of decoration - form in its simplest sense, (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000).
The pair became especially close to certain European artists such as the Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida. The collection counts four works by the artist including two bronzes, a clay sculpture and a work on paper. The poetic and often metaphysical titles that Chillida gave his works reflect closely the aesthetic aims he had for his work and the deep sense of almost mystical or transcendent beauty that they evoke. With its simple and compressed construction of form branching out into space in a seemingly natural development, Enclume de Reve XII, 1954-62, (estimate: $450,000-550,000) is a powerful example of Chillida’s work.
While the art acquired with passion by Hannelore and Rudolf Schulhof is almost entirely abstract, the collection also embraces other art movements. Such artistic styles include: Pop Art from Robert Indiana, with a LOVE Sculpture from the sixties and a set of Numbers paintings. Conceptual Art is represented with works from On Kawara, and Daniel Buren. Also included is a colorful celebration of Parisian life embodied by Jean Dubuffet’s La Congratule, 1962, one of the artist’s most vibrant street scenes and an important part of his Paris Circus series, (estimate: $600,000-800,000), which illustrate the large scope of their taste.
IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN ART
8 November 2012
An additional work on paper from the Collection will be offered in a dedicated section of the November 8 Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale in New York. Dating from1976, Untitled was executed at a time when Joan Miró was pursuing the joint influences of recent American art and of Japanese calligraphy in his own uniquely poetic and gestural style of painting. A visit to Japan in 1966 allowed Miró to meet with Japanese calligraphers, whose influence is clearly on view in Untitled, (estimate: $400,000-600,000).
Another work from this section is Aug 64 (Stonehead), a beautiful abstract carved relief by the British artist Ben Nicholson. The reliefs, for which Nicholson is known, are rarely straightforward evocations of a place as mentioned in the title; they are objects whose color, form and texture are to be appreciated for themselves and for what they suggest to each individual viewer. They are a means of conveying an experience or awareness, not the representation of something. this requires a special sort of aesthetic contemplation in the spectator who, if properly attuned, will enter into Nicholson's idea and so share with him a highly-charged piece living reality, (estimate: $120,000-180,000).
Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof
The Schulhof name is one that has resonated in the international art community for over sixty years and that signifies to serious collectors the passion, thoughtful eye and exceptional taste of two of the greatest collectors of their time.
Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof were well known during their lifetimes for their prowess as collectors and their patronage of the arts community. The pair met in Vienna when Europe was on the brink of World War II and were lucky to escape the Nazi occupation to marry in Brussels in 1940. Hannelore and her family, the Bucks, were able to obtain travel on the Rex, the last ship out of Europe in 1940, and Rudolph was also fortunate enough to obtain a visa into the United States through Canada. After a brief separation the young couple was reunited in New York and Rudolph joined the Buck family business of greeting cards and art reproductions. The Schulhofs established their home in Kings Point, Long Island, the area that would remain their home for the rest of their lives.
Friendship with artists
Hannelore and Rudolph shared a love of art, and soon after moving to Kings Point they met several other young collectors and were encouraged to start a collection of their own. A pivotal moment in shaping their philosophy occurred when they met famed art dealer Justin Thannhauser. The couple had their heart set on a work by Georges Rouault, but the price was too high. Thannhauser encouraged them to “Look at the art of your own time,” advice that resonated and shaped the vision of the collection going forward. The Schulhofs spent a great deal of time exploring Contemporary galleries in New York and Milan and soon befriended many artists of their time including Afro, Alberto Burri and Giuseppe Santomaso. Both Hannelore and Rudolph believed firmly that it was more satisfying to acquire works from artists they knew, because a relationship with the artist helped place every work within a greater context. If they could not meet or buy directly from the artists, they put their faith in the gallerists who knew their artists most closely. Over time, Hannelore and Rudolph grew to count many important artists as friends and acquaintances. Calder, Marini and Miró were amongst the more established artists in their circle. However, the pair was especially close with younger artists such as Pol Bury, Louise Nevelson and Eduardo Chillida. The couple even hosted Pol Bury’s wedding at their Kings Point home in 1970.
The vision and philanthropic legacy of Hannelore and Rudolph Schulhof
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Schulhof Collection is the fact that Hannelore and Rudolph kept every work they ever bought, speaking to the immense amount of thought they put into each acquisition and their intense personal connection with every object throughout their lives. Art was an integral part of their everyday lives, from the works that hung in their homes and the renowned sculpture on the grounds of their Kings Point home. Their outreach in the arts community was also legendary: the Guggenheim, Whitney, Brooklyn Museum, National Gallery in Washington, Israel Museum in Jerusalem and the American Federation of the Arts all benefitted from the Schulhof’s generosity. The Schulhof’s commitment to their favorite art institutions was best demonstrated through their very generous donation of works from their collection to both the Israel Museum and the Guggenheim in Venice. Hannelore and Rudolph had long-standing relationships with both intuitions and even a personal connection to Peggy Guggenheim herself. They met at a Venice Biennale in the late 1950s while touring the collection in the Guggenheim home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Peggy Guggenheim was impressed by Hannelore’s knowledge of Giuseppe Santomaso and they formed a warm friendship that would last many years. The Schulhof Collection will have its own designated gallery in the Museum and grounds, and will form a significant part of the permanent collection, an extraordinary gift to the Guggenheim and Venice.
Exhibition in situ
Kings Point - 22-23 September 2012
Special Previews and Tours of Selected Highlights
London - 6-11 October 2012
Paris - 17-19 October 2012
San Francisco - 24-27 October 2012
New York - 16-29 October 2012
New York - 10-13 November 2012
Impressionist and Modern Art Works on Paper - 8 November 2012
Post-War and Contemporary Art, Evening Sale - 14 November 2012
Post-War and Contemporary Art, Day Sale - 15 November 2012
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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.