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Peter’s Auction Pick of the Day: Lorser Feitelson, Untitled, 1964

February 19, 2014

The February 23, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction is fast approaching. This Sunday, the auction features Untitled (1964) (Lot 39), a large-scale oil and enamel on canvas from Los Angeles’ own Father of Hard Edge, Lorser Feitelson.

From Peter Loughery, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art:

Untilted is an embodiment of Lorser Feitelson’s Hard Edge style: large and dramatic, featuring strong colors and bold curves. In addition to its extensive exhibition history, including two retrospectives, this painting comes from a period in Feitelson’s career when the artist was developing a distinct ‘pure line’ approach.”

Lot-039-1-Untitled-Lorser-Feitelson-Feb-23-2014-Auction-Los-Angeles-Modern-Auctions-LAMA

Untitled (1964), Lorser Feitelson

Throughout the various genres of Feitelson’s career, the curves of the human body remained a constant subject in his works. His paintings in “Four Abstract Classicists” demonstrated a distinct Hard Edge aesthetic; his forms were characteristically round, sensual, and curiously figural.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Back top quarter of Untitled (1964), Lorser Feitelson

By 1963, his paintings became increasingly minimal studies of color and the interaction of forms and space. In Untitled (1964), his fascination with the human body is filtered through a microscope. Sketches from the early 60s depict specific areas of the human body such as hands and torsos, which led to paintings of undulating vertical lines that refer to the “angular gaps between fingers, the slope of a brow, and the curve of a hand.”

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Detail of label, Untitled (1964), Lorser Feitelson

This painting has been exhibited in numerous shows since the early 70s, including a Lorser Feitelson retrospective in Los Angeles in 1972 and a Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1980. It will also be featured in the forthcoming publications Eternal Recurrence written by Diane Moran (Spring 2014) and the Lorser Feitelson Catalogue Raisonné (Summer 2014).

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Detail of label, Untitled (1964), Lorser Feitelson

Continue reading the essay published in the February 23, 2014 auction catalogue:

Before he was known as the “Father of Hard Edge,” Lorser Feitelson (1898-1978) worked in contemporary movements throughout the early 20th century, namely Cubism and Post-Surrealism, and by the 1960s, his influence in the Los Angeles art scene was unmatched. His exposure to art began at an early age; Feitelson frequently visited New York City exhibits at institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Armory. He subsequently began sketching and painting on his own, displaying great command of the human form. As a teenager, he painted sophisticated Cubist works in his Greenwich Village studio and later exhibited Post-Surrealist compositions in New York and Paris. His work throughout the 1930s and early 1940s – dreamlike interpretations of the female figure – remained consistently abstract, earning him exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as a teaching position at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1944.

Beginning in the mid-1940s, Feitelson’s figural drawings foreshadow the later abstracted shapes that dominate his Hard Edge paintings. According to curator Michael Duncan, “By deriving his hard-edged forms from the shapes of the human body and the physical world, Feitelson demonstrated a rigorous abstract and conceptual distillation of figuration that was ahead of its time.” From there, his paintings became increasingly minimal studies of color and the interaction of forms and space – he was developing his Hard Edge aesthetic. Throughout this transition, however, his fascination with the human body is filtered through a microscope. Sketches from the early 60s depict specific areas of the human body such as hands and torsos, which led to paintings of undulating vertical lines that refer to the “angular gaps between fingers, the slope of a brow, and the curve of a hand.” In Untitled (1964), included in the Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg Retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1980, the primary form moves with a vermilion force encased in multilayered, contrasting pathways.

Lot Information:

Lot 39
Lorser Feitelson
Untitled
1964
Oil and enamel on canvas
Signed and dated “Lorser Feitelson/(June 1964)” verso; bears the inscription “Lorser Feitelson/60″ x 40″/June 1964/Enamel + oil on canvas/#50″ verso; retains Louis Stern Fine Arts, partial San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Laguna Beach Museum of Art labels verso
Canvas: 60″ x 40″; Frame: 60.5″ x 40.5”

Provenance: Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California; Private Collection, Las Vegas, Nevada (acquired directly from the above, c. 2003)

Exhibited: “Lorser Feitelson: A Retrospective Exhibition,” Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles, August 16-September 17, 1972; “Tribute to Henry Seldis,” Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, November 1-December 18, 1978; “Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective Exhibition,” traveling exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, October 2-November 16, 1980; The Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, UCLA, Los Angeles, March 17-May 3, 1981; “Lorser Feitelson and the Invention of Hard Edge Painting 1945-1965,” Louis Stern Fine Arts, Los Angeles, May 15-July 12, 2003

Illustrated: Tribute to Henry J. Seldis. Exhibition Catalogue. Laguna Beach: Laguna Beach Museum of Art, 1978. #25, p 13;Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg: A Retrospective Exhibition. Exhibition Catalogue. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1980. #59, p 51.

Literature: Lorser Feitelson: A Retrospective Exhibition. Exhibition Catalogue. Los Angeles: Municipal Art Gallery, 1972. np.

Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000

For more information, or details on how to bid, please contact a LAMA representative.

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