Published: October 4, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Santa Fe Art Auction
SANTA FE, N.M. – From a private New Mexico collection, Sam Francis (1923-1994) etching and aquatint, “Le stagioni: La pioggia d’oro,” 1984, brought $16,250, the top seller in Santa Fe Art Auction’s September 24 sale of art, design and photography. Edition 2 of 30, the work was signed and editioned lower right “Sam Francis 2/30” published by 2RC Edizioni d’Arte, Rome, and printed by Vigna Antoniniana, Rome, with its blindstamps It measured 38¾ by 78½ inches. It was won by a local Santa Fe collector.
The event was the auction house’s annual contemporary sale of art, design, furniture and photography. There were 257 lots and the sale totaled $290,000 with a 71 percent sell-through rate.
A charcoal and pastel on paper by Ian Ingram (b 1974), “Eight Falling on Thirty,” 2012, surpassed its $8,000 high estimate to sell for $14,640. Ian Ingram’s portraits are larger than life, this one measuring 39 by 27½ inches. His subjects are carefully observed and rendered with great detail, portraying both his subjects and their work with an unflinching eye. Signed lower right with an artist’s cipher, the work came from a private New Mexico collection.
A group of three works by Betty Parsons (1900-1982) collected $10,370. “Indian Fruit,” 1966; “Brown Day,” 1970; and “Stone Fish” were rendered in acrylic on stone or paper. Regarded as one of the most influential and dynamic figures of the American avant-garde, Parsons was an artist, art dealer and collector known for her early promotion of Abstract Expressionism. The three works came out of a private New Mexico collection.
Another Abstract Expressionism heavy-hitter, Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) was represented in the sale by “Broome Street at Night,”: 1987, which was bid to $9,375 against a $4/6,000 estimate. The etching aquatint and drypoint, edition 40 of 68, was signed and dated lower right “frankenthaler 87” and was from a private New Mexico collection. It measured 27 by 28¼ inches.
Modern design came to the fore with a Georg Jensen, circa 1930-50, Cactus pattern flatware set. Fetching $6,710, the seven-piece sterling silver and stainless steel service for 12 totaled 84 pieces. The Cactus collection from Georg Jensen was designed in 1930 by Gundorph Albertus. Each element in this set was signed with impressed manufacturer’s mark. The line is amply discussed in Janet Drucker’s Georg Jensen: A Tradition of Splendid Silver, ppg. 265, 278 (2001)
Bringing the same price was Paul Thek’s (1933-1988) “Avoid Caesar and Stylistic Decisions,” a diptych from 1979. The ballpoint pen and watercolor on paper was signed and dated lower left/right: “Thek / ’79” and each sheet measured 9¾ by 7-3/8 inches. American painter, sculptor and installation artist, Thek was active in both the United States and Europe, exhibiting several installations and sculptural works over the course of his life.
It could very well illustrate the cover of a mystery novel or poster for a film noir. Erin Cone’s (1976) dramatic oil on canvas, “Eclipse,” portraying a female figure, back to the viewer, head slightly turned in a chiaroscuro play of shadow and light, left the gallery at $5,612. Signed lower right and measuring 46 by 44 by 1¼ inches, it came from a private New York City collection with provenance to Hudson Galleries.
Earning slightly less, $5,500 was an acrylic on linen allegory by Georges Mazilu (b 1951). “La Tentation (The Temptation)” combining realism with fiction by juxtaposing a human woman beside an elf-like creature features stoic characters’ expressions with a chair and berry allowing viewers to determine their own understanding of the underlying narrative. It was signed lower right, inscribed verso: “George Mazilu / La tentation” and measured 25¼ by 20¾ inches.
After the sale, Gillian Blitch, the firm’s president and chief executive officer commented, “We were delighted to see robust interest in the contemporary art and design sale, along with some strong results. This sale definitely brought in a great deal of foot traffic to our Railyard showrooms, as well as our typical online visitors. We see our collector base constantly broadening as we diversify sales to showcase artists such as Paolo Soleri, Ben Goo, Constance de Jong, Ian Ingram and Sam Francis, who open our doors to a refreshing new demographic in an increasingly dynamic and exciting art market.”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. On November 4-5 – the peak of the calendar schedule – Santa Fe Art Auction will present its 29th Annual Live Signature Sale – approximately 400 lots, featuring more selections from the Georgia and Charles Loloma collection as well as Edward Curtis items from the Christopher Cardozo collection, among others. For more information, 505-954-5858 or www.santafeartauction.com.
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