The credit for the photograph of the Seagram building is as follows:
Ezra Stoller copyright Esto.
THE SEAGRAM PRINT COLLECTION
Christie's is honored to be offering selections from the Seagram corporate collection in a series of sales this spring and summer.
The famed Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson on Park Avenue in New York City is a work of art itself and is widely regarded as the finest post-war skyscraper. This early office tower is what others aspired to be in the second half of the Twentieth Century. With its utilitarianism and refined elegance in the bronze and travertine building materials, one finds order and clarity in a bustling stretch of working Manhattan. Phyllis Lambert, daughter of the Seagram founder, Samuel Bronfman, was instrumental in securing these architects for the project and initiating the company's art collection in 1957. Interspersed throughout this catalogue are iconic prints by Modern European and Post-War American artists acquired over 40 years by Lambert and New York curators for Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc.
The Seagram collection encompassed many different areas in addition to prints, including important 20th Century paintings by Rothko, Rivers and other artists, 300 drinking vessels, and drawings by sculptors amongst others. The collection also contains important pieces shown in public areas that have come to be instantly recognizable associations with the landmark building. Picasso's stage curtain, Le Tricorne, is at the end of the procession coming into the building from Park Avenue entering into The Four Seasons restaurant. The hanging sculptures by Richard Lippold (donated to The Landmark Conservancy by Seagram) over the bar and windows have become classic mid-century modern design elements unique to their environment. The vision extended to outside the building as well, where the Seagram Plaza played host to important temporary exhibitions of sculpture.
The print collection, like the other groups, was created to surround the employees with the same standard of excellence on the walls as the building itself. Its challenge was to illuminate aspects of our culture and to increase employees' interest in the areas covered by the collection. Most of the prints were purchased directly from the artists or their publishers at the time of publication.
The wide-ranging artists and styles provide a slice of printmaking history from the 20th Century with emphasis on the 1950-1970's. The collection incorporates a classic group of mid-1950's European lithographs from Picasso (ceramics also), Braque and Dubuffet purchased at the time of the building's opening. It then shifts to examples of American Pop imagery from the 1960's with pieces by Lichtenstein, Dine, Rivers and Warhol. In the 1970's the focus becomes the clean minimal lines of LeWitt, Kelly, Marden, Mangold and Judd (see detail on cover). This large and wonderful graphic group should inspire the next owners as it did the many people who have already lived with them.
Morning Session at 10AM [Lots 401-590]
Ninteenth Century Prints [Lots 401-421]
PROPERTY FROM THE SEAGRAM COLLECTION