• Post-War & Contemporary Mornin auction at Christies

    Sale 2220

    Post-War & Contemporary Morning Session

    11 November 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 166

    Milton Resnick (1917-2004)


    Price Realised  


    Milton Resnick (1917-2004)
    signed and dated 'Resnick 61' (lower left); signed and dated again 'Resnick 1961' (on the reverse) signed again and titled '"GHOST" Milton Resnick (on the stretcher)
    oil on canvas
    104 x 188 in. (264.1 x 477.5 cm.)
    Painted in 1961.

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    "In a way, the marks on a Resnick painting are replacements for marks that are not there: for the "ghost" that he speaks of having to paint out, or the color that he later speaks of having to "kill." There is a whiff of atavistic or Old Testament magic about this replacement or "killing" of one set of marks by another, as though the painting we see were a stand-in for another one that (like the name of Yahweh) cannot be "Spoken," or had been sacrificed through an act of faith...His impossible, Edenic ideal was that all visible phenomena must become nameless in order to truly be seen."(ex. cat., Milton Resnick: a Question of Seeing Paintings 1959-1963, Cheim & Read, New York, 2008, n.p.)


    Howard Wise Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1961

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of Jack J. Dreyfus, Jr.

    Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and successful Wall Street investors of the previous century, Jack J. Dreyfus Jr. brought the mutual fund to the general public.
    He founded Dreyfus & Co. in the 1940s, and directed an inspired marketing campaign in the early 1950s that turned the brokerage firm into a resounding success. The frequently-aired television commercial showing a fierce lion emerging from a subway station and calmly walking into the modern Dreyfus offices at 2 Broadway accompanied by the first movement of Saint-Saëns "The Carnival of the Animals" brought thousands of new investors to the stock market. The Life Magazine article "Jack Dreyfus, Maverick Wizard behind the Wall Street Lion," published in 1964, described him as "the most singular and effective personality to appear in Wall Street since the days of Joseph Kennedy and Bernard Baruch."

    Jack Dreyfus was born in Montgomery, Alabama to Ida Lewis and Jonas Dreyfus. His father, a candy wholesaler, was unfailingly supportive of Jack's endeavors and he generously helped fund the pivotal Dreyfus Fund advertising campaign. Under his father's tutelage, Dreyfus also became an accomplished golfer. He considered the sport more of an exercise in mental discipline than a game and at 16 he was both club champion and city champion of Montgomery.

    Later in life Dreyfus turned his ardor for sports to horseracing. At his Florida Estate he successfully bred, trained and raced a large number of thoroughbreds, including Beau Purple and Blessing Angelica. He was twice chairman of the New York Horse Racing Association and won the Turf Writers Award for Best Breeder.

    In 1970 Dreyfus sold his company in order to focus on promoting the benefits of the anti-epileptic drug Dilantin. He established the Dreyfus Health Foundation which explored other potential medical benefits of the drug and published numerous books on the subject.

    Christie's is honored to be entrusted with the sale of property from the Estate of Jack Dreyfus. His keen power of observation and appreciation of quality are reflected in the works of art he collected throughout his life. In addition to the magnificent works by Matisse and Kandisky offered in our Impressionist and Modern evening sale; Christie's is pleased to offer a fine selection of classic Post-War paintings including a monumental painting by the Abstract Expressionist Milton Resnick and a classic and masterful work by Larry Rivers, bridging the divide between Pop art and Abstract Expressionism.


    New York, Robert Miller Gallery, Milton Resnick Paintings 1957-1960 From the Collection of Howard and Barbara Wise, June 1988.