Bill Bass collection, Chicago
By descent to the present owner
Property from the Estate of Bill Bass, Chicago
Christie's is honored to present a selection of significant works from the Estate of Bill Bass. This outstanding collection, which includes many extraordinary works which are fresh to the market, was built up by Mr. Bass, a passionate Chicago based collector who amassed an exceptional collection of work by artists he admired.
The collection includes important examples of work by some of the giants of twentieth century art including Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Tom Wesselmann, Richard Estes and Chuck Close.
Josef Albers's Adobe (Variant): New Mexico Black-Pink is an important example of the artist's deliberate use of equal quantities of different pigment in a single composition. This would become the central theme of his Variant paintings. Albers was known to ask people what color they felt they saw in greatest quantity in works such as Adobe (Variant): New Mexico Black-Pink and he was delighted to get different answers as there was no right or wrong response because everything depended upon individual perception. A most important lesson on color, the present lot is a prime example of the artist as alchemist. Together with Related A these works were exhibited at the now famous Josef Albers retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1988.
Wesselmann's Study for Face #4 is a prelude to one of the most famous images in post-war American art. Wesselmann's fascination with, and sheet delight in, the female body is clear in this homage to female sexuality, a factor heightened by the close-up of the face in ecstasy.
Also included in the collection is a superb abstract Calder gouache from the 1960s, a precious collage by Claes Oldenburg, and a wonderful example from the late minimalist master, Kenneth Noland, entitled Magenta Haze.
Bill Bass concentrated on collecting works from artists he knew personally or felt a great affinity with and many of these pieces were obtained directly from dealers and are new to the market. We are pleased to be able to bring many of these pieces to the market for the first time and to allow them to pass to a new generation of connoisseur.