Published: November 19, 2002
Twentieth Century Fine Art Achieves $1.05 Million on the West Coast
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – Butterfields set multiple records for Twentieth Century fine art on the evening of October 15, the auction simulcast to the Internet. The 156-lot sale, comprising modern and contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture, achieved more than $1,055,000.
Postwar American and early Twentieth Century European art produced the strongest prices of the evening. A record price was set for a 1970s work on paper by Helen Frankenthaler. Her acrylic on paperboard abstraction “Holidays #3,” executed in December 1975, sold for $35,250. Butterfields also achieved a new record for a David Park ink on paper. A buyer paid $26,437 for a 1950s ink wash on paper “Seated Man,” a preparatory study for “Interior,” an important work shown in the landmark 1957 Oakland Museum’s “Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting” exhibition.
One of the sale’s top lots was Tsuguharu Leonard Foujita’s tempera on panel painting “Untitled (A young girl with doll),” 1950, which sold within estimate for $52,875. An Antoni Clavé still life brought $29,375, while the auction’s top lot was a double-sided oil on canvas by Clyfford Still. Still’s portrait of Harald Logan and “Untitled (Abstraction),” circa 1937-41, sold for $58,750. In the Pop art category, Roy Lichtenstein’s “Study For Eccentric Scientist,” 1964, a colored pencil drawing on paperboard from the artist’s most sought-after period, brought $52,875.
From an Arizona estate came an oil on canvas “Jeune Femme au Écharpe Jaune” by Marie Laurencin that sold for $29,375. The same price was paid for Gabriele Münter’s “Dorfkirche in Froschhausen,” 1908, an oil on paperboard. Bidder competition was seen for a Paul Klee ink on paper “Ordnung an Stelle von Glück” from 1929, and for “Tête,” a Picasso colored crayon on paper from 1959 that sold for $11,750. This same price was paid for an interesting Salvador Dali lot comprising an original Dali collage, audiotapes and newspaper clippings related to the 1966 “Happening with Salvador Dali” at the Lincoln Center in New York. Three Michele Cascella paintings each sold, as did two Bernard Buffet oil on linen works.
From the estate of famed Broadway costume designer Miles White came a set of three ink and color on paper costume sketches he executed for the Ziegfeld Follies around 1943. They sold for $2,820. The Tony Award-winning designer was a friend of Andy Warhol and while Warhol’s haunting “Portrait of Miles White,” circa 1961, did not find a buyer, five Warhol sketches gifted to White each sold within estimate.
The diverse offering of late Twentieth Century sculpture produced strong results. Harry Bertoia’s “Sound Sculpture,” circa 1970, a Beryllium copper and bronze tabletop piece, sold above estimate at $29,375. A ceramic glazed 1981 “Self-Portrait” by Robert Arneson doubled its estimate selling at $9,400, while a buyer paid $23,500 for a bold, angular bronze by Arnaldo Pomodoro Colpo d’Ala A Bioccioni, 1982 ($15/20,000). Four Beniamino Bufano bronzes each sold, one setting an at-auction record for the artist’s work. Bidding was far from a snail’s pace for “Large Snail,” a two-foot high bronze, which sold above estimate at $18,800.
In the Latin American session, a world record price was set for a beautiful Fernando Amorsolo work on paper. A buyer paid $10,575 for the Filipino artist’s watercolor and graphite on paper “Untitled (Market Scene with horse and carriage),” 1925, likely a preparatory study for an early Amorsolo painting ($2/3,000). A large, iconic David Alfaro Siqueiros portrait, “Campesino Mexicano,” 1960, brought $35,250 while “La Platica,” 1956, a Ricardo Martinez oil on canvas depicting a trio of men smoking, sold within estimate at $12,925.
Several Diego Rivera watercolors, including two early landscapes that once hung in Charlecote House, Baltimore, were offered to the crowded auction room, many selling to competitive bids.
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