Auctions | April 25, 2016

Early Lichtenstein Painting Among Highlights in Swann Galleries’ May Contemporary Art Auction

Lot-150-Lichtenstein copy.jpgNew York— On Thursday, May 12, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Contemporary Art, featuring works from Christo, Richard Diebenkorn, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and many others.

            The auction is headlined by several different works by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, including a 1951 oil on canvas painting, Indian, completed during the artist’s time living in Cleveland (estimate $60,000 to $90,000). During this period, Lichtenstein experimented with Native American-themed subjects in his paintings, drawings and prints, inspired by a book he borrowed from Professor Roy Harvey Pearce, whose collection this painting was originally in. Other works by Lichtenstein include his 1965 color screenprint Sweet Dreams, Baby! in his recognizable comic strip style ($60,000 to $90,000); and Sunrise, a silk panel from the same year ($40,000 to $60,000). Sunrise is one of only a handful of fabric panels known to have been created by the artist.

            Several works by Richard Diebenkorn are also in this sale, including multiple examples from his Folsom Street Variations series of color aquatints created in 1986. Folsom Street Variation I (Black) ($8,000 to $12,000) and Folsom Street Variation III (Primaries) are both printed on BFK Rives paper, and are similar the artist’s Ocean Park series of paintings, his best known works.

            Known primarily for his sculptures, artist David Smith also produced a number of prints. Smith bought his own etching press in the early 1940s and began to make small-scale etchings, only printing a few impressions of each. Such is the case with the only known artist’s proof of his 1946 etching Cyclists, which will be appearing at auction for the first time in 30 years at this sale ($20,000 to $30,000).

            Several works by Andy Warhol appear in the sale, including Portraits of the Artists, a set of 100 screenprinted polystyrene boxes in ten colors, 1967 ($20,000 to $30,000). Each box shows one of the ten artists featured in the portfolio Ten for Leo Castelli, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Leo Castelli Gallery. In addition to showing Warhol’s work, Castelli was also responsible for discovering artist Jasper Johns, whose color etching and aquatint work, Periscope, 1981, is also included in the sale ($15,000 to $20,000).

            Works by New York School artists are well represented, including Robert Motherwell, whose Orange Lyric, a 1989 aquatint with carborundum, printed in orange and black, is featured ($12,000 to $18,000). Works from other New York School artists Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Larry Rivers are also included.

            Several works by influential artist Alex Katz are present, like the artist’s large color screenprint, Tulips, 2014 ($20,000 to $30,000); and the complete set Brisk Day I, II and III, with one color aquatint, one color lithograph and one color woodcut, 1990 ($10,000 to $15,000). Other works by living artists include Edward Rusha’s 1970 color lithographs Crackers and Real Estate Opportunities, both from the artist’s Book Covers series ($10,000 to $15,000 and $8,000 to $12,000, respectively). Two pieces by Brazilian artist Arthur Luiz Piza, both 1959 mixed-media collages on wood mounted on canvas, are included in the sale. Titled Collage #13 and Collage #17, each piece is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Also included is Christo’s Look Magazine Empaqueté, a copy of Look magazine wrapped in Polyethelene with cord, mounted on a black wooden support, 1965 ($6,000 to $9,000).

The auction will be held Thursday, May 12, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Saturday, May 7 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, May 9 through Wednesday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated auction catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Swann President and Director of Prints & Drawings, Todd Weyman at 212-254-4710, extension 32 or

Image: Lot 150 Roy Lichtenstein, Indian, oil on canvas, 1951. Estimate $60,000 to $90,000.