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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 15 September 2022

Post-War to Present

Highlighted by Philanthrophic Initiative:
Flourish: Art For The Future — Supporting A Cure For STXBP1 Disorders
and Collaboration with Galerie Myrtis:
Time, Space, Existence: Afro-futurist Visions

SAM GILLIAM (1933-2022)

Idylls I

signed and dated 'Sam Gilliam 70' (on the reverse); titled 'IDYLLS I' (on a label affixed to the reverse)

acrylic, metallic paint, crayon and synthetic cable on unstretched canvas

installation dimensions variable: 76 x 61 in. (193 x 154.9 cm.)

Executed in 1970.

Estimate: $600,000-800,000

NEW YORK – This fall, Christie’s is pleased to announce Post-War to Present: a live auction which  inaugurates the Fall season in New York, presenting a retrospective of top-quality works from today’s leading artistic voices and the most celebrated creative icons of the Post-War period. The auction will take place live at Rockefeller Center beginning at 10am on Thursday, September 29, 2022.

The sale touches on expressive highpoints in the lineage of Post-War and Contemporary Art, with seminal artworks by Sam Gilliam, Helen Frankenthaler, and Julie Mehretu. The Sam Gilliam, Idylls I (estimate: $600,000-800,000), marks the first time that a major 1970s drape by the artist has come to market in five years, since the last time the work appeared at auction and is expected to set a new benchmark for the series. The selection will also offer buyers with a unique opportunity to acquire work by genre-shaping artists who have redefined representation and the relationship between form and color with stellar examples by Alice Neel, Romare Bearden, Christina Quarles, and Stanley Whitney. Anchoring the sale are highlight works from the estate of the legendary Laura  Lee Stearns, including a seminal Vija Celmins, as well as  trio of major Josef Albers works from the collection of Ruth Frank. Select highlights will be on view at Christie’s Miami (The Buick Building, 3841 NE 2nd Ave) through September 15. The full sale will be on exhibition at Christie’s New York (20 Rockefeller Plaza) September 24 – 29.

Julian Ehrlich, Head of Sale, Post-War to Present, comments, “At Christie’s, we are elated to have the opportunity to steward artwork by the most talented Post-War and Contemporary artists, and our sale platform gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the artist’s crafting today’s discourse as well as the most formative, sometimes overlooked artists of the past. In particular, we are thrilled to put forward major abstract works by women artists and artists of color, which are primed to reset these respective markets. Further, this season’s Post-War to Present sale features an incredible array of offerings—including a fantastic selection of work in collaboration with Galerie Myrtis that will directly benefit the artists, and primary market work, assembled in partnership with Bridget Finn and FLOURISH to raise funds to end rare neurodevelopmental disease STXBP1.”

The sale includes an array of contemporary artworks that showcase the finest work from established and emerging artists, while raising funds for a rare and currently untreatable disease, and simultaneously challenging accepted notions of the auction world as a secondary marketplace. Among the highlights are a groundbreaking group of six artworks in collaboration with Myrtis Bedolla, Time, Space, Existence: Afro-Futurist Visions from Galerie Myrtis. Each of the six artists—Delita Martin, Larry Cook, M. Scott Johnson, Monica Ikegwu, Morel Doucet, and Tawny Chatmon— asserts agency over narratives of Black life, offering discourse into the socio-political concerns of African Americans, and paying tribute to the resiliency, creativity, and spirituality that have historically sustained Black people. Hand-chosen by gallerist Myrtis Bedolla, the selection of work stands in conversation with corresponding exhibition The Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined, currently on view at the Venice Biennale through November 27, 2022.

Gallerist and Curator Myrtis Bedolla remarks, “Blackness and the possibilities of its future are the impulses that drive the imaginations of African American artists who draw inspiration from Afrofuturism, Black existentialism, spirituality, and futurist thought to construct a Black universe of tomorrow. I am thrilled to be in collaboration with Christie’s in presenting a selection of works that exemplify the spirit of my curatorial approach and the Venice Biennale exhibition, The AfroFuturist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined, with artists directly benefiting from the sale.”

Another group in the sale will be sold to benefit FLOURISH: Art for the Future, an initiative by Bridget Finn of Reyes | Finn gallery — with sale proceeds funding research to cure STXBP1 disorders. Included in this selection are works by Jonas Wood, Eddie Martinez, Laura Owens, Derek Fordjour, KAWS, Dana Schutz, Robert Longo, Sam Moyer, Gina Beavers among other artistic luminaries. The works have been generously donated by the artists and their respective supporting galleries.

Bridget Finn, Gallerist and FLOURISH Founder, remarks, “Thank you to the artists. I'll be forever grateful to each of the artists who’ve given absolutely incredible works to support the STXBP1 Foundation. Their generosity and impassioned willingness to contribute truly masterful works to finding a cure for this disease is beyond moving.

“I also want to acknowledge every STXBP1 parent, rare disease parent and caregiver who wake up every day and find the strength to care and advocate for the needs of their child. We see you! To each of the STXBP1 children, you are pure love and relentless determination, this is for each of you.”

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.