Warhol in China, $50 Million in Cars, $15 Calder: Hot Art
Both Sotheby’s (BID) and Christie’s are organizing exhibitions of his lower-priced works to generate private sales.
The auctioneers are promoting works on paper as well as suitable subjects: drawings and photos from Warhol’s trips to Asia and images of creatures revered in Chinese culture.
A folding screen depicting butterflies done in ink and watercolors is among the pieces included in Sotheby’s “From Warhol, With Love.” A ballpoint drawing called “Hong Kong, China, 1956,” shows a bustling shopping street. A drawing of a shoe is made with gold leaf.
Earlier this year, London-based Christie’s was granted a 30-year license to operate independently in China. Its Warhol exhibition will run Sept. 24-26 in Shanghai with 45 pieces consigned by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Prices range from $8,000 to $56,000. The preview of the major highlights heading to Shanghai opens in New York today.
“In our first online Warhol sale in February, 8 percent of bidders were Chinese, a higher percentage than we have previously seen,” said Amelia Manderscheid, Christie’s associate specialist on e-commerce for Warhol.
One of the highlights is a 1986 Komodo dragon, its head highlighted with green, against a red background. There is also a black-and-white 1982 photograph of two Chinese phone booths.
The first major automobile auction in New York in more than a decade will take place on Nov. 21 and feature cars valued at more than $50 million.
It’s organized by Sotheby’s and RM Auctions Inc., which is based in Blenheim, Ontario, and sold $360 million of collectible cars last year.
“We are going to be looking at 25 to 30 cars. They exemplify the finest designs of their time,” said Ian Kelleher, RM Auctions’ car specialist, in a telephone interview.
Before the sale, the cars will be displayed on the 10th floor at Sotheby’s York Avenue headquarters.
One of the highlights is a 1956 Aston Martin “Supersonic,” expected to bring $1.5 million to $2 million. It was driven by American grand-prix racer Harry Schell and owned by Gail Whitney Vanderbilt and her husband, Richard Cowell, a record-setting water skier.
A futuristic, orange Lincoln made by Italian coach-builder Felice Mario Boano with 1955 chassis has an estimated sale price of $1.5 million to $2 million.
A cream-colored 1938 Talbot-Lago cabriolet made by French coach-builders Figoni et Falaschi is estimated at $7 million to $8.5 million.
When Philadelphia resident Norma Ifill paid $15 for a striking brass necklace at a flea market eight years ago, she had no idea it was by Alexander Calder.
“This guy had it in a box on the ground,” Ifill said in a telephone interview. “I thought it looked so tribal. I wore it about four-five times max and every time I wore it, people always admired it. I can’t believe I had a Calder necklace all this time and had no idea.”
In 2008, Ifill saw a similar piece in a free local newspaper, announcing the Philadelphia Art Museum’s “Calder Jewelry” exhibition. She contacted Elisabeth Agro, the show’s curator, who encouraged the woman to show it to the Calder Foundation in New York.
The foundation discovered that the necklace was in a Calder exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, said Saara Pritchard, head of Christie’s First Open sale where the work will be offered with $200,000 to $300,000 estimate.
“I’ve had good buys, but nothing like this,” said Ifill.
First Open will also include works by hot young artists Oscar Murillo and Tauba Auerbach.
London-based Colombian Murillo will be represented by an 8-foot-tall canvas made last year with spray paint and dirt and estimated at $50,000 to $70,000. The 27-year-old’s last sale at Christie’s, in June, resulted in a $389,199 auction record, almost 10 times the presale estimate.
Auerbach’s small trompe l’oeil “Untitled Folded Painting” (2010) is estimated at $250,000 to $350,000; a Mark Rothko 1944-45 ink and gouache on paper carries the same estimate. Another Auerbach painting from 2010 fetched $775,525 in June, a record for the artist, who was born in 1981.
The First Open auction will take place on Sept. 26 in New York.
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