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Auction Description for Sotheby's: Contemporary Art - Part I

Contemporary Art - Part I

by Sotheby's


58 lots

May 8, 1996

1334 York Avenue

at 72nd Street

New York, NY, 10021 USA

Phone: 00 1 212 606 7000

Fax: 0141 204 2502

Email: info@sothebys.com

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Lot 1: Sam Francis (1923-1994)

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Description: UNTITLED signed and dated 55 by the artist on the reverse watercolor on paper 221/4 by 173/4 in. 56.5 by 45.1 cm. Provenance: Robert Elkon Gallery, New York Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1981 Exhibited: New York, Robert Elkon Gallery, Sam Francis: The Fifties, 1979, cat. no. 13 Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, Sam Francis: The Fifties, 1980, cat. no. 10, illustrated.

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Lot 2: Mark Tobey (1890-1976)

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Description: DORMITION OF THE VIRGIN signed tempera on board 17 by 13 in. 43.2 by 33 cm. Painted in 1945. Dormition of the Virgin is an eloquent expression of Tobey"s religious convictions. A follower of the Ba"hai faith, Tobey believed in the premise that certain universal truths underlie all religions. The subject of this work is drawn from Eastern Orthodox tradition: the Virgin asleep, envisioning herself bearing the Son of God. As Tobey explained, "For a long time I have been interested in icon painting and Byzantine painting in general. In the Dormition of the Virgin (her deathless sleep) I have used some forms in improvisation similar to musicians using a motif by earlier or contemporary musicians. I had more or less only a feeling of earlier paintings upon and into which I built a modern complex structure"" (Art News, January 1-14, 1946, p. 22). Stylistically, Dormition of the Virgin is related to the Byzantine concept of depicting many scenes, times and incidents simultaneously. Tobey describes the work as follows: "The outline of the floating Virgin in coral color rises above a similar form below which is but a shadowy idea of her earthly existence. The rectangular masses of figures to the left and the right give the idea of a more mundane existence. The multiple space bounded by white lines symbolizes higher states of consciousness. The small draped figure in the upper right is again the Virgin within these dimensions known only to herself"" (Art News, January 1-14, 1946, p. 22). Provenance: Reverend and Mrs. Josiah R. Bartlett (acquired directly from the artist in 1945) Exhibited: New York, Willard Gallery, Mark Tobey, 1945, cat. no. 18 New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Modern Religious Paintings, 1946, illustrated in color on the cover San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Mark Tobey: A Retrospective, 1951 Literature: Art News, January 1-14, 1946, illustrated in color on the cover Kenneth Rexroth, "Mark Tobey of Seattle, Washington,"" Art News 50, May 1951, p. 19, illustrated in color William Seitz, Abstract Expressionist Paintings in America, Cambridge, 1983, cat. no. 258, illustrated in color (upside down) Property from the Collection of Helen W. Benjamin.

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Lot 3: David Smith (1906-1965)

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Description: STILL LIFE CONSTRUCTION signed and dated 1938 iron overall: 14 by 151/4 by 8 in. 35.6 by 38.7 by 20.3 cm. Provenance: Estate of the artist Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York Acquired by the late owner from the above in 1967 Exhibited: Cambridge, Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum; Washington, D.C., Gallery of Modern Art, David Smith 1906-1965: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1966-1967 cat. no. 3, p. 38, illustrated New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, David Smith-Eight Early Works: 1935-1938, 1967, cat. no. 8, illustrated Literature: Rosalind E. Krauss, The Sculpture of David Smith: A Catalogue Raisonne, New York, 1977, p. 13, cat. no. 87, illustrated.

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Lot 4: Willem de Kooning (b. 1904)

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Description: WOMAN signed; dedicated on sheet joined to top edge graphite and pastel on paper 161/4 by 111/4 in. 41.3 by 28.6 cm. Executed circa 1951. Provenance: Allan Stone Gallery, New York Exhibited: Minneapolis, Walker Art Center; Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada; Washington, D.C., Phillips Collection; Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Willem de Kooning: Drawings and Sculptures, 1975, cat. no. 44 New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Berlin, Akademie der Kunste; Paris, Musee National d"Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Willem de Kooning: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, 1983-1984, cat. no. 41, p. 49, illustrated Newport Beach, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Figurative Fifties: New York Figurative Expressionism, 1989 St. Paul, Minnesota Museum of Art, American Art: The Fifties Through the Seventies - Museum of Modern Art and Area Collections, 1991.

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Lot 5: Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

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Description: UNTITLED painted metal hanging mobile overall: 60 by 32 by 34 in. 152.4 by 81.3 by 86.4 cm. Executed in 1950. Provenance: Estate of James A. de Tomasi Perls Galleries, New York Property of an East Coast Foundation.

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