Auctions | October 26, 2016

Ellsworth Kelly and Andy Warhol Lead Swann Galleries' Contemporary Art Auction

2431-161 copy.jpgNew York— On Tuesday, November 15, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Contemporary Art, featuring works by Chuck Close, Christo, Richard Diebenkorn, Claes Oldenburg and Cy Twombly, among others.

Prime works by Pop Art king Andy Warhol include the iconic 1964 screenprint of Elizabeth Taylor, aptly titled Liz, as well as the screenprint Campbell’s Soup I: Green Pea, 1968 ($30,000 to $50,000 and $15,000 to $20,000, respectively). Also available is a sheet of sixty unpeeled Banana Stickers (The Velvet Underground & Nico), 1967, the largest amount of intact stickers related to the landmark collaboration between Warhol and The Velvet Underground ever seen at auction, estimated to sell between $8,000 to $12,000.

Abstract Expressionist masters are well represented. An excellent work from Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic series titled Lament for Lorca, 1981-82, is estimated at $10,000 to $15,000. Willem de Kooning’s first lithograph with printer Irwin Hollander, Woman at Clearwater Beach, 1971, is also present. According to Hollander, the work was inspired by the artist’s “trip to Japan…the seeing and feeling of calligraphy, sumi brush and Zen”—it is expected to realize $8,000 to $12,000. There is also a run of moody works by Adolph Gottlieb.

Bridging print and sculpture is Jean Dubuffet’s Parcours, 1981, an unusual scrolled screenprint on silk. The work is housed in the original wooden box, also printed by Dubuffet in the same black and white figures as seen in the scroll ($8,000 to $12,000). Another printed objet d’art is one of a special limited Taschen edition of Ai Wei Wei: The Artist Activist, 2014. Each of the rare copies is wrapped in silk and presented on a fitted marble bookstand. The present copy is signed twice by the artist and estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.

Women, often overlooked in contemporary art, are well represented in this sale. A variety of prints by famed colorfield artist Helen Frankenthaler includes Solar Imp, a 2001 color screenprint featured on the cover of the auction catalogue ($5,000 to $8,000). Also available is a run of lithographs by second-generation Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell, as well as prints by Louise Bourgois and Louise Nevelson, including a circa 1935 pencil drawing by Nevelson titled Seated Nude and estimated to sell between $1,500 and $2,500. There are also three prints by Elizabeth Catlett each valued at $2,000 to $3,000, and works by Alice Baber, Sylvie Baumgartner, Vija Clemens, Alice Neel, Irene Rice Pereira, Bridget Riley and Dorothea Rockburne.

Graphic prints by Sol LeWitt abound, in addition to his 1991 original gouache painting Cube, valued at $10,000 to $15,000. Additional Geometric Abstractionists include Sean Scully and Frank Stella. A recent work reminiscent of these earlier artists, Christopher Wool’s Untitled, 2003, is an extremely scarce complete set of digital prints in shades of gray ($25,000 to $35,000). Also available is a pencil drawing by Ellsworth Kelly, Milkweed, 1969, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000, as well as a selection of his limited-edition prints.

In addition to popular favorites Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Alex Katz and Roy Lichtenstein, there is a selection of prints by Wayne Thiebaud featuring his iconic candies and treats, as well as two rare landscapes: Freeway Curve, color aquatint and etching, 1979-80 and River and Farm, color direct gravure with drypoint, 2002 ($6,000 to $9,000 and $3,000 to $5,000, respectively). 

A superb impression of Lucian Freud’s scarce 2003 etching After Constable’s Elm, and Brice Marden’s Cold Mountain Series, Zen Studies 2, etching and aquatint, 1991, are each estimated at $25,000 to $35,000.

There is a large contingent of Latin American artists in the sale following increased interest last spring, notably Acid-Wave, 1967, a multimedia acrylic and wood painting by Omar Rayo ($20,000 to $30,000). A selection of works by Jesús Rafael Soto is led by his 1975-76 painted wood and metal sculpture, Homenaje al humano, expected to sell between $10,000 and $15,000. Argentinian artist Enio Iommi is represented by an aluminum and marble sculpture Sin Titulo, circa 1970s ($8,000 to $12,000).

The auction will be held Tuesday, November 15, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, November 12 from noon to 5 pm; Monday, November 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Tuesday, November 15 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 Vice President and Director of Prints & Drawings, Todd Weyman at 212-254-4710, extension 32 or

Image: Lot 161 Ellsworth Kelly, Milkweed, pencil, 1969. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.