Unique Works by M.F. Husain and Christo Made Auction Debuts at Swann Galleries May 16


New York—Swann Galleries’ May 16 auction of Contemporary Art offered an exciting selection of unique works and multiples by well-known artists working in the late 20th century through the present day.

The sale’s top lot was a late 1960s Untitled painting of a horse by Maqbool Fida Husain, the modernist Indian painter. A grand and powerful piece, the painting exhibited the finest qualities of Husain’s celebrated horses: sweeping, bold brushstrokes, a chiseled white horse with rich black contours brilliantly set against a muted background. It brought $144,000* in its auction debut.


Also appearing at auction for the first time was a two-part collage of fabric, thread, color pencils, color crayons, charcoal and maps by Christo for Wrapped Reichstag, his 1995 Berlin installation. The project took Christo and wife Jeanne-Claude three decades to plan and execute, and this diptych contained annotations, construction notes and dates. It sold for $66,000.

There were several fine examples of Andy Warhol prints, and one set a new auction record: General Custer, color screenprint, 1986 achieved $40,800. Other Warhol highlights included iconic portraits of Mao, color screenprint, 1972, $40,800; Liz, offset color lithograph, 1964, $38,400 and Geronimo, color screenprint, 1986, $21,600, while Flowers, offset color lithograph, 1964, sold for $24,000; New England Clam Chowder, color screenprint, 1969, $19,200 and After the Party, color screenprint, 1979, $14,400.

A triptych by Yves Klein set a new auction record. Monochrome und Feuer (Triptych), set of three prints, one with gold leaf, 1961, brought $36,000; and Wayne Thiebaud’s Toy Counter, color screenprint, 1970-71, set a record at $10,800.

Willem de Kooning’s Figures in Landscape VI, offset color lithograph, 1980, sold for $14,400, and Robert Motherwell’s Red Sea I, color aquatint and etching, 1976, $13,200.

Keith Haring’s Double Man, color lithograph, 1986, also brought $13,200; while Jasper Johns’s Device, color lithograph, 1971-72, $12,000, and Roy Lichtenstein’s Crak!, offset color lithograph, 1963-64, $11,400.

Desirable portfolios included Richard Estes’s Urban Landscapes No. 3, with eight color screenprints, 1981, $12,000; and 1¢ Life, deluxe portfolio with 62 color lithographs by artists including Sam Francis, Robert Indiana, Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Warhol, Tom Wesselman and others, 1964, $22,800.

For complete auction results, an illustrated catalogue, with prices realized on request, can be purchased for $35 from Swann Auction Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com.

To propose consignments to upcoming auctions of Contemporary Art, please contact Todd Weyman at (212) 254-4710, extension 32, or via e-mail at tweyman@swanngalleries.com 

*All prices include buyer’s premium.

First image: Maqbool Fida Husain, Untitled (Horse), oil on canvas, late 1960s. Sold for $144,000 (including buyer's premium).

Second image: Christo, Wrapped Reichstag (Project for Berlin) Diptych, two-part mixed media collage, 1980. Sold for $66,000 (including buyer's premium).

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