Published: May 15, 2015
The top lot of the auction was Alexander Calder’s “The Mountain,” a 1960 painted sheet metal and wire sculpture that sold over estimate at 845,000. © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
NEW YORK CITY —Pop-art and Op-art works elicited high demand at Bonhams’ 33-lot Post-War and Contemporary art auction May 12, which raised more than $3.5 million.
Robert Indiana’s renowned work, “LOVE” outstripped expectations and fetched $653,000, racing past its high estimate of $250,000. The winning bid was placed in the room after a prolonged bidding war. The image is one of Indiana’s most recognizable and ubiquitous even half a century after its creation.
The auction’s top-selling lot was Alexander Calder’s sculpture, “The Mountain,” 1960, that sold for $845,000, past the high estimate. Calder shows his mastery of line and balance in this work by creating a sculpture that crafts a landscape out of form and air. It was by 1934, after producing a series of wire works and developing his mobiles, that Calder began constructing self-supporting, abstract sculptures – nicknamed ‘stabiles’ by Jean Arp– of which “The Mountain” is a fine example.
Victor Vasarely’s hypnotic optical works sold well: “OND-III,” a 1968 acrylic on canvas, achieved $251,000, more than doubling its high estimate and “Attam,” a 1979 acrylic work realized $155,000, also well over estimate.
Jeremy Goldsmith, Bonhams’ director of Post-War and Contemporary Art, said, “We saw competitive bidding for Robert Indiana’s ‘LOVE’ painting, which brilliantly illustrates the strength and depth of the market for iconic Pop-Art. Furthermore, the energetic bidding that realized prices well over the high estimates for works by Victor Vasarely demonstrated a renewed and revitalized interest in the artist and Op-Art in general.”
Rounding out the sale were Josef Albers’ “Homage to the Square: ‘Suspended’,” a 1953 work by Josef Albers that represents the artist’s 25-year examination of color and its optical and compositional components, which realized $485,000, and a stainless steel and aluminum sculpture by Frank Stella, “Lejak,” at $102,500, that went well past estimate. The sculpture is from his “Bali” series.
Bonhams’ next Post-War and Contemporary art sale will be in London in July.
For more information, www.Bonhams.com or 212-644-9001.
Robert Indiana’s “LOVE,” a 1965 oil on canvas, achieved $653,000.
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