NEW YORK—A Cubist-style design by Le Corbusier, woven into an Aubusson tapestry and titled Bogota, 1950, was the top lot at the Los Angeles Modern Auctions May 6 sale of modern art and design, earning $131,250 and outpacing its $40,000/60,000 estimate. Peter Loughrey, president of the auction house, noted that this sale “broke a world’s record for any textile by Le Corbusier.” The previous high was £61,250 ($98,298), for another work in the same edition of this design, set at a Sotheby’s London auction in 2010.
The auction was an up-and-down affair, with strong prices in many instances, like the Corbusier, but also with quite a few buy-ins. On the upside were works including George Rickey’s kinetic steel sculpture Tidal IV, 1962, which sold for $118,750, compared with an estimate of $100,000/150,000; Frederick Hammersley’s 1974–75 oil on linen titled Figure of Speech, which sold for $87,500, on an estimate of $30,000/50,000; and Roy Lichtenstein’s 1966 felt banner Thunderbolt, which sold for $87,500, compared with an estimate of $80,000/120,000.
Susan Rothenberg’s Self Portrait with Horse and Dog, ca. 2007, oil stick on canvas, sold for $75,000, compared with an estimate of $60,000/80,000, while Richard Pettibone’s 1964 acrylic titled Roy Lichtenstein. Tex. 1962, sold for $68,750, compared with an estimate of $40,000/60,000, and his 1965 acrylic titled Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Golf Ball,’ 1962, brought $43,750, compared with an estimate of $35,000/45,000. Also, a group of eight black-and-white photographs titled “Body/Object Series (8),” by Ann Hamilton, brought $53,125, on an estimate of $20,000/30,000.
There was robust demand at the sale for works by Karl Benjamin, including his 1965 oil on canvas #14, which sold for $58,750, compared with an estimate of $30,000/50,000, and his 1953 oil on canvas titled Yellow Landscape, which sold for $46,875, compared with an estimate of $25,000/35,000.
“There has been a buzz in my world about Benjamin for some time,” Loughrey said. “Prices have gone from $5,000 to $30,000 in about a year. He’s now seen as a major artist who has slipped under the radar.”
Two watercolors by Al Held also did well: the 1959 Voo, which sold for $31,250, compared with an estimate of $15,000/20,000, and Morre II, 1996, which sold for $17,500, compared with an estimate of $10,000/15,000.
Overall, the sale earned $2.94 million, just over the presale estimate of $2.92 million, and 343, or 67 percent, of the 507 lots found buyers. The largest buy-in of the auction was one of the most highly estimated lots, Chuck Close’s 2006 tapestry titled Self Portrait, which was estimated at $100,000/150,000.
Solid Results at Hindman Print Sale in Chicago
An undated Andy Warhol silkscreen, Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century, was the top lot at Leslie Hindman’s May 3 sale of prints and photographs, earning $97,600 and falling within the $80,000/120,000 estimate. Most of the highest-priced lots were sold within or near the estimates, including Pablo Picasso’s 1959 linocut Femme au Collier, which brought $46,360 on an estimate of $40,000/60,000, and Warhol’s 1965 color lithograph titled Liz, which realized $39,040, against an estimate of $25,000/35,000.
Henri Matisse’s lithograph Odalisque, 1925, sold for $36,600, on an estimate of $30,000/50,000, and Rembrandt’s undated Christ Healing the Sick sold for $24,400, on an estimate of $10,000/15,000. Salvador Dali’s undated suite of 10 prints, “Imagination and Objects of the Future,” fetched $21,960 (estimate: $8,000/12,000).
“The print market tends to be pretty straightforward, so there weren’t as many surprises as you sometimes see in a paintings and sculpture sale,” said Gretchen Burch of the Chicago-based auction house’s fine art department.
The auction earned a total of $682,200, meeting the $617,000/792,900 presale estimate. Of the 219 lots, 173, or 79 percent, were sold.
Among the buy-ins were Marc Chagall’s 1971 lithograph La Femme du Peintre, which was estimated at $20,000/40,000, and Mary Cassatt’s 1901 drypoint titled The Crocheting Lesson, which was estimated at $20,000/30,000.