NEW YORK—Prints and multiples sales in late April yielded healthy results at Swann, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury & Company. Sotheby also held a two-day sale of prints and multiples April 26–27, as ARTnewsletter was published.
At Christie’s two-part series on April 24–25, a total of 388 works were offered and 335, or 86 percent, were sold. By value, the sale realized 89 percent. Overall, the sale took in $7.75 million.
A set of ten Andy Warhol screenprints of “Flowers,” 1970, was the top lot, realizing $266,500 and exceeding the $150,000/250,000 estimate. Work by Warhol typically does well in these auctions, and a number of his works drew the highest prices, including the 1964 color lithograph Liz, which sold for $164,500, compared with an estimate of $100,000/150,000, as well as a 1981 color screenprint Mickey Mouse, from his “Myths” series, which sold for $122,500, compared with an estimate of $70,000/100,000. A set of four screenprints titled Muhammad Ali, 1978, realized $116,500, on an estimate of $70,000/100,000, and the 1982, four-part dollar sign, or $, sold for $98,500, compared with an estimate of $60,000/80,000.
Among the other top lots were Roy Lichtenstein’s 1994, color relief print titled Two Nudes, from his “Nudes” series, which sold for $206,500, compared with an estimate of $80,000/120,000, and a set of 25 etchings by Marc Chagall that were included in Louis Aragon’s 1976 book Celui qui dit les Choses sans Rien dire, and which realized $146,500, compared with an estimate of $100,000/150,000.
Two multi-work lots by Joan Miró were in the top lots, including a set of 13 lithographs for the 1966 book Suites Pour Ubu Roi, which sold for $80,500, compared with an estimate of $70,000/100,000, and 22 pochoir reproductions after gouaches by the artist, featured in André Breton’s 1959 book Constellations, which sold for $74,500, compared with an estimate of $60,000/80,000.
Pablo Picasso’s Woman with a Floral Corsage, 1958, a lithograph, sold for $110,500, compared with an estimate of $80,000/120,000, and Josef Albers’s set of 12 screenprints “Homage to the Square,” 1967, sold for $74,500, on an estimate of $50,000/70,000.
Christie’s head of the prints department, Tudor Davies, said, “an excellent total and strong individual results reflect the ongoing strength of the prints and multiples market across many collecting categories.”
Other strong prices included $74,500 each for: Richard Hamilton’s 1972 color screenprint with collage titled Swinging London III (estimate: $50,000/70,000): Jasper Johns’s 1976 color lithograph Corpse and Mirror (estimate: $60,000/80,000): and Keith Haring’s 1988, plywood multiple in colors, Totem (estimate: $50,000/70,000).
Bellows Fight Scene Stars at Swann
At Swann’s sale on April 25, the top lot was George Bellows’s Dempsey and Firpo, 1923–24, a lithographic version of the iconic image, which brought $108,000, exceeding the $60,000/90,000 estimate. Throughout the auction, which included 83 Rembrandts, 19 Chagalls, 18 Whistlers, 22 Durers and 21 Picassos, buyers showed considerable discrimination, bidding up certain lots, while overlooking others, and paying prices below estimate when possible.
Among the other top lots were James McNeill Whistler’s group of six etchings, from the “Jubilee,” or “Naval Review” set, 1887, which sold for $78,000, compared with an estimate of $70,000/100,000, and his 1887 etching Palaces, Brussels, which sold for $33,600, compared with an estimate of $25,000/35,000.
An etching by George Stubbs titled A Lion Devouring a Horse, before 1788, sold for $69,600, compared with an estimate of $40,000/60,000, and a 1966 portfolio titled “Aube à l’Antipode,” containing seven etchings by René Magritte, sold for $62,400, compared with an estimate of $30,000/50,000.
Rembrandt’s etching The Flight into Egypt, ca. 1653, sold for $55,200, compared with an estimate of $60,000/90,000, and his 1635 etching The Great Jewish Bride realized $45,600, clearing the high end of the $20,000/30,000 estimate.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s color lithograph Young Girls Playing with a Ball, 1898–1900, sold for $50,400, compared with an estimate of $50,000/80,000, Durer’s 1498 woodcut The Babylonian Whore, sold for $40,800, compared with an estimate of $12,000/18,000, and Edward Hopper’s 1921 etching Night Shadows sold for $40,800, on an estimate of $25,000/35,000.
Overall, the sale earned $2.3 million, falling below the presale estimate of $2.75 million/4 million, with 333, or 76 percent, of the 440 lots on offer finding buyers.
Phillips sale on April 25, titled “Evening Editions,” brought in $3.3 million for 115 lots offered. By value and volume, the auction was 87 percent sold.
The top lot was a wooden sled by Joseph Beuys, with felt, belts, flashlight and rope, 1969, which had an estimate of $120,000/180,000 and sold for $314,500.
Also by Beuys, in the top lots, was Felt Suit, 1970, which sold for $96,100, on an estimate of $50,000/70,000.
Most of the remaining top lots were prints or sets of prints, such as Warhol’s Queen Elizabeth suite from “Reigning Queens” which brought $236,500, compared with an estimate of $100,000/250,000. Lichtenstein’s Reverie, from “11 Pop Artists” portfolio, volume II, 1965, sold for $110,500, compared with an estimate of $80,000/120,000.
And Six, Lithograph Series (After Untitled 1975), by Jasper Johns, sold for $92,500, compared with an estimate of $70,000/90,000.
“We were happy to see this sale cross the boundaries of the traditional print sale,” said Kelly Troester, co-director of modern and contemporary editions at Phillips.