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With Estimate of $10 M. to $15 M., Lee Krasner Painting Could Break Artist Record at Sotheby’s

Lee Krasner, The Eye is the First Circle , 1960. Estimated between $10 million to $15 million.


At Sotheby’s contemporary art evening sale this May, Lee Krasner’s The Eye is the First Circle (1960) will hit the block with an estimate of $10 million to $15 million, meaning that if it sells, it is likely to demolish her current record of $5.5 million, which was set for Shattered Light (1954) at Christie’s New York in November of 2017.

The Eye is the First Circle, which measures 20 feet across, is part of Krasner’s “Umber” series of paintings, which she worked on in the years following the deaths of her mother and her husband, Jackson Pollock. It comes to auction at a pivotal time for the artist, who died in 1984 at the age of 75, as she is set to receive a retrospective at the Barbican in London next month, and is one of the stars of Mary Gabriel’s acclaimed recently published history of women Abstract Expressionists, Ninth Street Women.

Saara Pritchard, senior vice president and senior specialist of Sotheby’s contemporary art department, told ARTnews over email, “This painting represents a critical turning point for Krasner—a rebirth in a sense—as it was executed following a period of great personal loss and tragedy.” While “Krasner was always an integral figure within the New York school,” she added, it was with the “Umber” paintings that “she really stepped into the limelight as one of the leading Abstract Expressionists.”

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