RELEASE: 10YEARS First Open/NYC Post War and Contemporary Art - New York

New York

New York – Since its launch ten years ago in March 2005 in New York, Christie's First Open sales have become a fixture on the global contemporary art circuit, providing the perfect venue for new and seasoned collectors to discover emerging artists and to explore lesser-known works by well-established names. In 2013, an additional Summer Edition was added to the calendar as well as an online component, and last year First Open became global with sales implemented in London and Hong Kong.

 The September First Open sale includes 370 paintings, drawings and sculptures by blue-chip post-war artists such as Dan Flavin, Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Theodoros Stamos and Andy Warhol among others, alongside top works by today’s contemporary stars including Walead Beshty, Dan Colen, George Condo, Alex Israel, Oscar Murillo, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt, Gerhard Richter and Jonas Wood. The auction will be preceded by a public exhibition at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries from September 26th to September 29th.

Han-I Wang, specialist in charge of the First Open sale speaks about a few lots:

Georg Baselitz’s Peasant Petitioners meeting V. I. Lenin (Serov) belongs to a series of paintings executed in homage to the German Expressionist artists from the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The Expressionists had created vanguard paintings characterized by primitivizing tendencies and experimental color combinations. In the present painting, their lineage is clear in the figures' spectral bodies and mask-like faces, as well as in the composition's vigorous stylization and gestural brushwork. With its inverted image of peasant petitioners and striking chromatic palette against a plain background, Peasant Petitioners meeting V. I. Lenin (Serov) superbly demonstrates Baselitz’ brilliant subversion of conventional models of perception as well as his particular insight into the Post-War Europe. By drawing attention to the painted surface and establishing a dialectic between abstraction and representation, Baselitz invites the viewer to reappraise the figurative motif as painted object.

Georg Baselitz (b. 1938), Peasant Petitioners meeting V. I. Lenin (Serov), oil on canvas. Painted in 1999. Estimate: $200,000-300,000

Jean-Paul Riopelle stands out as a unique figure in the abstract art scene of the 1950s. A product of France, the USA, and Canada, from whence stem his roots, the artist has retained his singularity. In 1957, aged 34, he abandoned the reflexes of his early years for a more composed style of painting that revealed a new maturity as clearly demonstrated in Le Puits hanté. Imbued with poetry, Riopelle's painting prefers not to provide all of the keys to its reading, or at least not to limit itself to the single register of abstract landscapes to which it is often consigned.

Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), Le Puit hanté, oil on canvas, painted in 1957. Estimate: $70,000-100,000

Alexander Calder (1898-1976), A Necklace. Estimate: $150,000-200,000 | A Bracelet with Charms. Estimate: $80,000-120,000 | A Bracelet- Cuff. Estimate: $70,000-100,000 | A Ring. Estimate: $30,000-40,000

Although well-known for his iconic mobile and monumental outdoor sculptures, Alexander Calder also possessed an exception talent for working on a more intimate scale and throughout this career produced exquisite pieces of jewelry such as the ones from the Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection to be offered in the sale. In Necklace the work displays the same sense of artistic formality and sense of grace that is contained in his larger-scaled works.  As his grandson Alexander S. C. Rower observed, “Never satisfied with superfluous decoration, Calder used jewelry as an alternative way of communicating his artistic ideals, He developed a direct process using honestly industrial materials such as a brass and steel wire that he bent, twist, hammered and riveted in an immediate way.”

Dan Colen is an artist who is known for his multidisciplinary practice primarily incorporating appropriated low-cultural ephemera in his art making. In Happy Accidents the artist is paying tribute to the abstract expressionist school –the linear motion of the gum material draws clear reference to the splashing technique typically found in works by the Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock. Coined as ‘Warhol’s Child’ by New York magazine Dan Colen typifies the downtown art scene in the 2000s and his works resonate and speak well to collectors of the younger generation. Colen is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York City.

Dan Colen (b.1979), Happy Accidents, gum on canvas, executed in 2010. Estimate: $150,000-250,000

Alex Israel’s Untitled (Flat), 2013, comes from the artist’s series of Flats, with the title referring to the backgrounds in theatre or film sets. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Alex Israel’s oeuvre reflects and comments upon the Hollywood dream and reality, and the city remains one of the main subjects of his artistic output. The present work has a shimmering oval surface as the colors blend together, creating a heavenly rendition.

Alex Israel (b.1982), Untitled, acrylic on stucco, wood and aluminum frame, executed in 2013. Estimate $ 150,000-200,000

Jonas Wood is one of the most exciting artists of our generation. His works provide an interesting angle by making every day subject matter look better than ever. Wood draws direct stylistic references from masters such as Henry Rousseau, David Henry and Alice Neel where the reality has been strictly flattened onto the canvas without any further disguise. Wood’s works have a very genuine sensibility that appeals to a wide range of audiences.

Jonas Wood (b.1977), Basketball, acrylic on paper, executed in 2008, Estimate: $6,000-8,000


Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), Abstraction, crayon and India ink on paper, 13 7/8 x 21 7/8 in. Executed in 1948. Estimate: $15,000-20,000

Brent Wadden (B. 1979), with gold, hand-woven fibers, wool, cotton and acrylic on canvas 15 1/2 x 23 in. Estimate: $8,000-12,000

Yoshitomo Nara (B. 1959), Untitled, colored pencil on envelope, 13 3/4 x 9 1.2 in. Drawn in 2003. Estimate: $30,000-40,000

Accompanying the First Open live sale will be an online sale which will give the opportunity for collectors worldwide to bid from September 25th to October 6th exclusively online at Among the highlights to be sold, the online selection will include an exquisite drawing by Yoshimoto Nara (estimate: $30,000-40,000), whose work continues to break records in our online sales. For the Post-War art connoisseur, a rare work of paper by American abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann dated 1948 will be estimated $25,000-35,000.  Looking for young hot contemporary artists? The sale will offer great works  by Michael Manning with Number Three, an acrylic and digital print on canvas (estimate: $18,000-25,000) and With Gold, one of the famous woven painting by Brent Wadden (estimate: $8,000-12,000).  All works will be on view at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries or by appointment outside of the public viewing times.


Auction: Wednesday 30 September 2015 at 9:30 am and 2 pm

Viewing: 26 – 29 September 2015


Starts on September 25th at noon and closes October 6th at noon

Viewing: 26 – 29 September 2015


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*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.