Sotheby’s – Contemporary Art

April 28th, 2011 by

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sale on the evening of May 10th provides rare opportunities for collectors seeking extraordinary masterworks from the mid-20th century through to the 21st century.

Iconic works by Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons are the star offerings of the sale. The Pink Panther is the paramount work in Koons’ seminal and coveted Banality series and this exquisitely crafted porcelain sculpture is among the most important works of the late 20th century to come to auction. Pink Panther embodies Koons’ classic themes of popular culture and rarefied elitism, eroticism and naivety, all captured in luxuriant color and surface textures. This complex work is the artist’s proof for an edition of 3 with the other examples in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and a prominent American private collection. Sixteen Jackies is a testament to Warhol’s keen perception of the role of media in American popular culture, as captured in his selection of eight haunting images of President Kennedy’s wife in the week of his assassination in late 1963. In its full range of palette, grid format and image selection, this work is homage to the greatest of his multi-panel Jackies of 1964, The Week That Was. Warhol’s insight into the dissonance between the public and private face of celebrity, as well as the darkness underlying American prosperity, makes Sixteen Jackies a powerful memorial of the time.

Other notable works of Pop Art by Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann include major works from series such as Interiors, Bedroom Paintings and Great American Nude, while a more recent example of art rendered from popular culture and graphic sensibilities is Ed Ruscha’s Honey…I Twisted Through More Damned Traffic to Get Here from 1984. In counterpoint to these representational works are minimalist masterworks of color, form and shape, such as Concetto Spaziale (1965) by Lucio Fontana, Concorde Study (1955) by Ellsworth Kelly and Journey (1967) by Agnes Martin.

We are also thrilled to have superb works of more recent decades such as the sublimely beautiful “Untitled” (Aparición) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, the refined composition of Rhein I by Andreas Gursky and the richly enigmatic Shades by Mark Tansey. Eroica I by Jean-Michel Basquiat is both a summation of this great young talent and a presentiment of his tragic early death.