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    Sale 1999

    Post -War And Contemporary Art Afternoon Session

    14 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 354

    Christo (b. 1935)

    Wrapped Portrait of Holly

    Price Realised  

    Christo (b. 1935)
    Wrapped Portrait of Holly
    signed, inscribed and dated 'For Holly Christo October 1966' (on the reverse)
    oil and graphite on canvas wrapped in polyethylene, rope, cord, twine and panel (portrait by Javacheff)
    46 x 36 in. (116.8 x 91.4 cm.)
    Executed in 1966.


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    To be included in the forthcoming Christo Catalogue Raisonné being prepared by Daniel Varenne, Geneva.

    Christo, in his formative years known by his given name of Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, was trained as a classical portrait painter in Bulgaria and then escaped to Paris, where he met his wife Jeanne Claude. He was an artist who made a living painting portraits. Holly and Horace Solomon began to collect art from Leo Castelli, Dick Bellemy, Sidney Janis, and Dwan Gallery; they established long lasting friendships with artists and art dealers. Holly collected Christo's wrapped objects such as an iron, a lantern, books/magazines, oil barrels, and his first storefront titled, "Yellow Storefront," which was a part of the Solomon's apartment foyer at 444 East 57th Street.

    As a young avant garde artist, who had very little support and very few collectors, Christo received a large amount of support from Holly and Horace. They bought young artists in breadth and depth and commissioned significant portraits as a way of furthering that support. The admiration and appreciation of the Solomon's support is reflected in these portraits of her.

    Christo made three portraits of Holly Solomon in 1966. Two smaller versions served as studies for this large portrait. This work is rendered with fine marks and a beautifully articulated surface that can be read through the plastic wrapping and rope. Holly wears a navy jumpsuit in the painting, a radical sophisticated fashion statement for an uptown woman, or any woman in New York society at that time for that matter. Her forward thinking/dressing in a tough chic manner portrayed her as belonging to a new feminism of the Nineteen-Sixties - a strong-minded independent hard-working and successful woman of the Sixties. Not your typical uptown "wife." The painting always hung in the Solomon family library, surrounded by books in an intellectual context. It emanates her power and force as well as her beauty. The painting is an extraordinary example of Christo's work in his famed wrapped style. Christo also completed a life-size sculptural portrait of Horace Solomon wearing a tuxedo.

    Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Horace and Holly Solomon Collection
    Estate of Holly Solomon


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of Holly Solomon


    Literature

    A. Tolnay, Christo & Jeanne Claude: Early Works 1958-1969, Köln, 2001, p. 78 (illustrated). LIFE, June 5, 1970, p. 74 (illustrated in color).


    Exhibited

    Berlin, A. Tolnay, Christo & Jeanne Claude: Early Works 1958-1969, Köln, 2001, p. 78 (illustrated).