RELEASE: FIRST OPEN SALE OF POST-WAR & CONTEMPORARY ART

MAJOR WORKS FROM MOST SOUGHT-AFTER CUTTING-EDGE ARTISTS ON THE MARKET Tauba Auerbach, Nate Lowman, Kerry James Marshall, Oscar Murillo and Sterling Ruby among others

New York

New York - Christie’s First Open Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on September 26th will offer an exciting selection of more than 400 works of painting, photography and sculpture. The sale invites both new and established collectors to explore key pieces by emerging artists and lesser-known works by established 20th century figures. Highlights of the sale include an important ink and gouache on paper by Mark Rothko — unseen on the market for almost 20 years— major paintings by Oscar Murillo and Kerry James Marshall, an impressive diptych by Andreas Gursky and a stunning trompe l'oeil by Tauba Auerbach. All works will be exhibited before the auction at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries from September 21-25.

Untitled, 2012 from The Colombian-born, London-based artist Oscar Murillo (illustrated on the first page), will be one of the highlight of the sale. From his solo projects at the Independent art fair in New York and FIAC in Paris, to his exhibition of large-scale canvases created on-site at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Oscar Murillo consistently impressed viewers with the intense force of his practice. The world auction record for a work by the artist was fetched last June at Christie’s in London with a work sold for $389,199, ten times its pre-sale estimate. Extremely rare on the market, the works are highly sought-after by art collectors.

Exploring the traditional distinctions between content, dimension and image, Tauba Auerbach's cerebral compositions challenge our conventional perceptual expectations. Elegant and intriguing, Untitled FOLD XVIII emanates a distinctive luminosity, capturing the gentle rays of light across what appears at first to be a pure white folds of cloth, lined with creases. Upon closer inspection, Untitled FOLD XVIII (illustrated on the first page) reveals itself to be a masterful, modern example of trompe l'oeil. Painted in 2010, Untitled Folded Painting dates from the same year Auerbach exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, New York; Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin; and The Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Andreas Gursky's Pyongyang II, with its grand, panoramic scale and spectacle, remains one of the photographer’s most accomplished works. The only diptych from a series of five photographs that Gursky produced following his trip to North Korea in 2007, the work illustrates one of the most impressive human spectacles of the contemporary, geopolitical world.  In Pyongyang II, Gursky has expertly captured the highly choreographed performances that mark the beginning of the Arirang Festival in Pyongyang each spring. Held once a year to celebrate the birthday of North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung, the Arirang Festival is celebrated with tightly choreographed performances and mass games, including a throng of more than 50,000 people. These events take place against a backdrop of 30,000 school children that each flips a series of colored cards in perfect unison to produce a myriad of changing images. Gursky illuminates the moment in which these giant images rotate from doves of peace to the guns of war, as the hands of thousands of individuals undertake this monumental task.

Kerry James Marshall’s Keeping the Culture painted in 2010, illustrates the artist’s interest in new family dynamics, transformed by technological progress, but also his reverence for traditional culture. Keeping the Culture pays homage to the past, letting us appreciate the importance of positive actions in order to promote an optimistic vision of the future, and celebrating traditional and spiritual values that will stand true for generations to come. Marshall was born in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama, and was educated at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, from which he received a BFA, and an honorary doctorate (1999). Keeping the Culture (estimate: $ 150,000-200,000) has become one of Kerry James Marshall's most iconic and important works as it reflects the experience of a generation and creates a bittersweet and complex vision of the modern African-American experience.

A major solo exhibition, titled Kerry James Marshall: Painting and Other Stuff will open this fall in Antwerp and travel to Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Denmark, the Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (MNCARS), Madrid next year.

Through his varied practice Sterling Ruby conducts an assault on materials and social structures, referencing subjects that include marginalized societies, maximum-security prisons, modernist architecture, artefacts and antiquities, graffiti, bodybuilders, the mechanisms of warfare, cults and urban gangs.

As a pioneer of German Neo-Expressionist painting, Georg Baselitz’s works evokes disquieting subjects rendered feverishly as a means of confronting the realities of the modern age and explores what it is to be German and a German artist in a postwar world. Drei Streifen Mantel (Remix) painted in 2007 is part of what the artist calls his "remix" paintings, in which he revisits his earlier works and repaints them, in a style that embraces the decorative and illustrative.

POST-WAR 

Highlighting the Post-War selection is Rothko’s important early work, Untitled, (illustrated on the first page) estimated at $200,000-300,000. Though Rothko never identified himself as a Surrealist, many of his works of the mid-1940s contain the biomorphic forms, symbols, and emblems favored by the mid-century group. The gyrating, swirling figures are reminiscent of the graceful calligraphic drawings of Masson and Matta. This work, unseen on the market for almost 20 years, was at once in the collection of Hedda Sterne, the only woman in a group of artists who were dubbed "The Irascibles".

A FORTUNATE DISCOVERY: A CALDER AT $15  

Eight years ago, a self-proclaimed “flea market junkie” made her annual trip from her native Philadelphia to the famous Brooklyn Flea. While browsing a booth on Atlantic Avenue, the woman spotted a $15 brass, spiraled necklace held in a box on the pavement, amidst a jumble of trinkets and curios. Three years later in 2008, she saw another unusual necklace on the cover of Philadelphia Weekly to announce the Philadelphia Art Museum’s new exhibit, “Calder Jewelry.” She kept the clipping in order to commission a copy, unaware of the link between her own necklace and that in the ad. Five years later, her friend pointed out the similarity and persuaded her to contact a specialist. She met with Elisabeth Agro, the Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts, who had organized the 2008 exhibition. Convinced of its authenticity, Agro encouraged the woman to show it to the Calder Foundation in New York, where it was in fact given an archive registration number. The necklace will be offered in the First Open Sale of Post War and Contemporary Art, estimated at a value of $200,000-300,000.

 

Note to Editors: Christie’s hold the overall world record prices for Alexander Calder, along with the top prices for any outdoor sculpture, hanging mobile, standing mobile and jewelry by the artist: a Necklace dated 1939, was sold at Christie's New York: in May12, 2011 for the record price of  $602,500.

Viewing:      21-25 September 2013

Auction:      26 September 2013

Christie’s New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza

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