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POST WAR AND CONTEMPORARY (EVENING SALE)

by Christie's


67 lots with images

May 14, 2002

20 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY, 10020 USA

Phone: (212) 636-2000

Fax: (212) 636-2399

Email: info@christies.com

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

Lot 1: Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

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Description: Fifteen One Dollar Bills signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 1962' (on the reverse) ink and pencil on Japanese rice paper 211/4 x 29 in. (53.9 x 73.7 cm.) Executed in 1962. PROVENANCE Judith Goldberg Fine Art, New York Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 10 November 1988, lot 174 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner NOTES Fig. 1 Andy Warhol, Untitled (Roll of Bills), 1962, pencil on paper, Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT.

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Jasper Johns (b. 1930)

Lot 2: Jasper Johns (b. 1930)

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Description: Summer signed 'J Johns' (lower left), inscribed 'WORKING PROOF (LITHO & ETCHING) WITH ADDITIONS IN WATERCOLOR + CRAYON' (lower center), dated '1985 +90' (lower right); signed and dated 'J. Johns 1985 + '90' (on the reverse) watercolor and crayon over lithograph and etching image size: 91/2 x 121/2 in. (24.2 x 31.8 cm.) sheet size: 15 x 18 in. (38.1 x 45.7 cm.) Executed in 1985-1990; this work is unique. PROVENANCE Brooke Alexander Editions, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner LITERATURE ULAE, The Prints of Jasper Johns 1960-1993: A catalogue raisonn‚, New York, 1994, no. 234 (etching illustrated) EXHIBITION New York, Brooke Alexander Editions; San Diego Museum of Art, and Madrid, Galeria Weber, Alexander y Cobo, Jasper Johns: The Seasons, November 1991-November 1992 NOTES Executed in 1985 Summer is a unique hand painted version of the first of Johns' epic cycle of paintings of the seasons which preoccupied the artist for much of 1985-6 and aimed to represent the changing epochs of his life. Johns began work on the large-scale painting Summer towards the end of 1984 at his new studio in St. Martin and completed it in 1985. " Summer was the first," he explained, and "was actually influenced by this place (St Martin), because when I began the painting I didn't have in mind that I was going to do four paintings. In a certain way Summer is connected to this place in terms of its imagery. It was definitely this house. The hummingbird was in that tree, things of that sort." (cited in Jasper Johns, exh. cat. MoMA, New York, 1996, p. 338). Much of the inspiration behind the iconography of Summer stems from two works by Picasso. The latter's main influence relates to Johns' use of his own shadow falling onto wood or brickwork in each painting and derives from Picasso's 1953 painting entitled The Shadow. The other clear source is Picasso's 1936 painting Minotaur Moving his House - a mythological self-portrait in which Picasso created an autobiographical allegory of an important period of personal transition. Borrowing both the stars and perhaps the wheel of the Minotaur's cart, in Summer Picasso's pregnant horse has been replaced by a seahorse - one of the few male animals capable of bearing offspring. Other powerfully suggestive autobiographical elements also appear in the work including the Stars and Stripes with which Johns made his name and the Mona Lisa - a direct reference to the notion of art as icon as well as to Leonardo da Vinci and Marcel Duchamp. Fig. 1 Pablo Picasso, Minotaur Moving His House, 1936, oil on canvas, private collection.

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Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

Lot 3: Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

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Description: Yellow Vase signed and dated 'rf Lichtenstein' (on the reverse) painted and printed paper collage, tape and pencil on board 331/4 x 54 7/8 in. (84.5 x 139.5 cm.) Executed in 1990. PROVENANCE Leo Castelli Gallery, New York Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris Galerie Beyeler, Basel Hans Strelow Galerie, D쳌sseldorf Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1991 EXHIBITION Basel, Galerie Beyeler and Paris, Daniel Templon Gallery, Collage, 1991 Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Roy Lichtenstein Frank Stella, March-May 1991, no. 21 (illustrated) Galerie Dusseldorf, Hans Strelow, Lichtenstein, September-November 1991 SALESROOM NOTICE Please note the correct medium is printed and painted paper collage, tape, and pencil on board.

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Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

Lot 4: Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

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Description: Four-foot Flowers signed and dedicated 'to Roy L. Andy Warhol' (on the reverse) synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas 48 x 48 in. (122 x 122 cm.) Painted in 1964. PROVENANCE Roy and Dorothy Lichtenstein, New York, gift from the artist Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, gift from the above Ronald Feldman Fine Art, New York Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 10 December 1998, lot 549 Acquired at the above sale by the previous owner NOTES Once owned by Roy Lichtenstein and later donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Four-foot Flowers is a rare four-color version from the celebrated series of flower paintings that Warhol painted for his first show at the Leo Castelli gallery in November 1964. The flower paintings were derived from a color photograph of hibiscus blossoms that were printed as a two page fold-out in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography. Wrongly identified by homophobic critics as "pansies", Warhol's four hibiscus flower heads have been cropped from the original image and through the repositioning of one of the flowers - by rotating it through 180 degrees - transcribed by Warhol into a square format. The square format of the paintings particularly satisfied Warhol because its regular shape allowed the flower paintings to be hung "any side up." "I like painting on a square", he later said, " because you don't have to decide whether it should be longer-longer or shorter-shorter or longer-shorter: it's just a square."(cited in D. Bourdon, Warhol, New York, 1989. p. 191). The flat, lurid tones of the four separate colors of this painting were subsequently printed over the background creating the sensation that they are floating above a photographic netherworld of undergrowth. They are "like cut-out gouaches by Matisse set adrift on Monet's lily pond." (cited in Ibid. p. 191). Seeming like new cosmetic shades from an Avon lady's catalogue, the man-made colours of the four flowers of this work deliberately mock the romanticism and sense of pantheist wonder usually associated with paintings of flowers by subordinating their colour and imagery to a simple mechanical process. The manufactured look of Warhol's flowers emphasizes the process by which they have come into being and their ability to be mass-produced. The flower paintings hereby announce Warhol's synthetic vision of the universe. Having moved in his use of imagery from the supermarket to celebrity and its flip-side in disaster, the flower paintings extract the kitsch and the plastic from man's vision of natural beauty and present the mechanical under-side of popular taste. Fig. 1 Source photograph of hibiscus flowers from Modern Photography.

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Jeff Koons (b. 1945)

Lot 5: Jeff Koons (b. 1945)

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Description: Cherubs insized with signature, number and date '3/3 91 Jeff Koons J FUX' (on the underside of her left wing) polychromed wood overall: 48 x 431/2 x 19 in. (121.9 x 110.5 x 48.3 cm.) Executed in 1991. This work is number three from an edition of three plus one artist's proof. PROVENANCE Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London LITERATURE J. Koons and R. Rosenblum, The Jeff Koons Handbook, London 1992, pp. 128-129 (illustrated) A. Muthesius, Jeff Koons, Cologne 1992, p. 159 (illustrated) EXHIBITION Lausanne, Galerie Lehmann, Made In Heaven, May-June 1991 (another example exhibited) Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum; Aarhus, Kunstmuseum; and Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Jeff Koons, January 1992-April 1993, p.64 (illustrated; another example exhibited) San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Jeff Koons, December 1992-February 1993, pl. 60 (illustrated; another example exhibited) NOTES Few contemporary artists have elicited as much outrage over their work, as Jeff Koons, and yet his ingeniously mischievous exploitation of consumer culture can also be considered the quintessential art of our time. Equal parts visual allure and intellectual conundrum, Koons' work is undeniably provocative, forcing us to confront the simulated realities of our world. With his strategies of simultaneous attraction and repulsion, irritation and delight, celebration and critique, his art is the embodiment of the inevitable contradictions of contemporary life. Throughout his career, Koons has mixed the banal with "high" art subject matter, thus begging the questions: Whereas "high" art has always defined itself in opposition to the "low", what happens when the high becomes low? And similarly, what happens when the low aspires to be high? This, of course, hearkens back to Duchamp and his readymades. Famous works like Fountain initiated art's exploration of such issues, and Koons' work definitely marks a critical point in Duchamp's subsequent legacy. But Cherubs is not a readymade. Instead, this work is an amalgam of gift shop aesthetics. The result is an exaggeration of an already exaggerated devotional object, a further kitch-ification of kitsch. What is the effect of this? Whereas Koons has used found objects in the past, here he creates something anew. And yet, in this near-grotesquery of cuteness, we recognize the real-life objects that serve as their source. Any judgement we make on these overstatements would therefore have to be applied to the real commodities on which they are based. These questions circulate around the Cherubs, challenging the categories by which we classify things--both in art and in life. However, the reference is not just to modern-day kitsch, rather Cherubs has a very definite art historical context as well. Its most immediate reference might be the well-known putti at the bottom Raphael's The Sistine Madonna, 1512-13. Probably the most famous detail of a work in the history of art, this cuddly pair has been over-reproduced to the point that a work of high art has become kitch, adorning countless posters, t-shirts, and Valentines. With their rosy cheeks, pastel curlicues, and floral forms, Cherubs also incorporates the Rococo and Baroque styles from which these two angels derive. Ultimately, as with many of Koons' works, the implications apply not only to general notions of commodification, but to issues of class. Koons himself explains: "If somebody walks into a church and they're hungry and they do not feel secure with their own economic position in the world, they're not in a position to have a spiritual experience. So the church uses the Baroque and the Rococo, you just go in there and you feel like you're participating in social mobility. This is how the Baroque and the Rococo were used; so that the public felt their needs were being met. I've always tried to do the same thing with my work" (quoted in Jeff Koons, exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1992, n.p.). One of Koons' basic points is to capture the style of traditionally "low" culture, merge it with "high" art, and thus disrupt both labels. The most important precedents for this kind of loving send-up are the early-sixties Pop masterpieces of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, such as Lichtenstein's The Kiss, 1962. But rather than imitating comic books, Koons here aims his caustic imagination at religion. The work therefore deals both with mass imagery at large and with the objects upon which we cast our faith. As Koons states, "I've always tried to use materialism to seduce the viewer and to try to meet the needs of the viewer, just like every church uses materialism. Every industry uses it, but the church is the great master and a great manipulator of materialism." Cherubs is part of the artist's Made in Heaven series, a body of images that depict he and his wife Cicciolina in large-scale sex scenes. Cherubs is in effect an alternate version of this group of work as it depicts a heavenly young boy and a girl sharing spiritual love which is expressed in a more innocent and childlike way. Of course, the aggressively confrontational Made in Heaven series appears to be the utter opposite of a work of such sweet sentimentality like Cherubs . And yet, maybe Koons is locating the seemingly opposite desires that these works embody--sex and faith--in a similar place. "To me," Koons claims in reference to works like Made in Heaven, "Cicciolina is the Eternal Virgin. She's been able to remove guilt and shame from her life, and because of this she is a great liberator. I'm trying to go through moral crisis myself to the highest degree that I can, to remove moral crisis from the visual vocabulary of the viewer, so that when somebody sees my work, the only thing that they see is the Sacred Heart of Jesus." Our first reaction, of course, is to not take him seriously. He is just being ironic. And yet, we wonder what would it be like to look at and enjoy objects like Cherubs without the overlay of kitsch. And this is exactly what Koons is getting at: "I [am] telling the Bourgeois to embrace the things that it likes, the things it responds to. For example, when you were a young child and you went to your grandmother's place and she had this little knickknack, that's inside you, that's a part of you. Embrace that, don't try to erase it because you're in some social standing now and you're ambitious and you're trying to become a new upper class.".

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