Executed with graphic precision, rich colour and dramatic shadows, Richard Estes’ large-scale print from 1988, D Train, above, depicts the interior of a subway train, crossing the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn against the backdrop of the city’s iconic skyline.
Drawing on the bold calligraphic style that was a hallmark of his practice, Franz Kline’s striking 1950/51 work, Untitled, is rendered on an emblem of New York’s past — a page from a telephone book.
When it sold for $57.2 million at Christie’s in May 2016, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 Untitled became the artist's most expensive work sold at auction. Also depicting a human skull — one of the Brooklyn native’s recurrent motifs — the above work on paper, Untitled from 1980, is a vibrant prelude to the later record-breaking work and other large-scale paintings created in Basquiat’s breakthrough year, 1982.
Executed in 1961, Helen Frankenthaler’s Untitled coincided with the development of her unique Colour Field technique, solidifying her position as a leading figure of post-war New York painting.
André Kertész (1894-1985), United Nations, 1951. Stamped photographer’s credit, variously numbered and dated '2-23-51/18.' (on the reverse)
ferrotyped gelatin silver print
image: 9⅜ x 6½ in (23.9 x 16.6 cm). Sheet: 9⅜ x 6¾ in (23.9 x 17.2 cm). Estimate: $6,000-8,000. This lot is offered in MANHATTA, 10-17 October 2017, Online
A pioneering photographer and chronicler of New York life, André Kertész turns his lens on the United Nations headquarters, zooming in on the façade of the landmark building until the image approaches abstraction.
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning, originally from the Netherlands, became a crucial link between New York School painting and European modernism. In Untitled, a dynamic, colourful painting on paper, the artist fuses figuration and abstraction in his typically paradoxical style.
After fleeing Nazi Germany for the United States in 1939, Friedel Dzubas eventually settled in New York and shared a studio with Helen Frankenthaler, a fellow adherent of the Colour Field movement. With its dramatic palette and deep black passages, Traverse is a prime example of lyrical abstraction and Colour Field painting.
Images of New York: A Place Apart. Alexander Alland (1902-1989), Untitled, New York, c. 1945. Signed twice and variously numbered ‘Alexander Alland’ and stamped photographer's copyright credit (on the reverse). Gelatin silver print mounted on linen. Image/sheet: 9¾ x 8 in (24.8 x 20.4 cm), 10 x 8⅛ in (25.5 x 20.8 cm). Estimate: $2,000-3,000. This lot is offered in MANHATTA, 10-17 October 2017, Online
Alexander Alland, a Russian émigré, arrived almost penniless at Ellis Island in 1923 and became an active proponent of the social value of photography. In Untitled, children dive into the East River, the Williamsburg Bridge visible in the background. Like much of Alland’s work, the photograph offers a window onto life in post-war New York.
Ai Weiwei (b. 1957), Ai Weiwei: New York Photographs 1983-1993. Twelve archival pigment prints and exhibition catalogue in cloth-covered box, printed 2010. Each image: 5 x 11½ in (12.7 x 29.2 cm) or inverse. Each sheet: 10⅞ x 13⅞ in (27.6 x 35.2 cm). Box: 12⅞ x 15½ x 2½ in (32.7 x 39.4 x 6.4 cm). This work is number 10 from an edition of 38 plus 12 artist’s proofs. Estimate: $15,000-20,000. This lot is offered in MANHATTA, 10-17 October 2017, Online
Taken between 1983 and 1993, these photographs document a distinct New York era as seen through the eyes of Ai Weiwei, in those years a prominent member of a community of Chinese artists and intellectuals living in the East Village. The images depict poetry readings; riots in Tompkins Square Park; drag queens at Wigstock; and portraits of filmmaker Chen Kaige, composer Tan Dun and fellow artist Xu Bing. Ai Weiwei returned to live in China in 1993.