LAMA BLOG

Peter’s Auction Picks of the Day: Shades of Red

October 10, 2014

Taking in a bird’s eye view of the showroom from our loft offices, the variety of colors, materials, and genres in the 533 lots on offer at this Sunday’s Modern Art & Design Auction is impressive. One shade, that variously seductive, distressing, conspicuous hue of red, stands out amidst the crowd, and that is the topic of Peter’s Picks for today. For the October 12, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction, LAMA will be presenting work with the bold inclusion of the color red from esteemed, canonical artists such as Jeff Koons, John Altoon, Richard Pettibone, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Sam Gilliam, Matt Mullican, and Eero Saarinen.

From Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Art & Design:

Once an artist has spiked their work with red, all other colors become endangered species. The cardinal tint barges toward the eye, past all other politely waiting hues.

For example, hot pink dominates Richard Pettibone’s 1969 take on Andy Warhol’s “Most Wanted Men” series (Lot 330, comprised of three canvases). Here, two of the 20th Century’s great appropriators collide as Pettibone copies a work that is already a copy, meticulously reducing Warhol’s “original” both literally and symbolically. Our collective association with hot pink is curdled from 1950s girly frivolity to cruel irony. Pink seeps incongruously onto the faces of hardened criminals. The “Most Wanted” title becomes sexualized, turning thugs into rough trade pin-ups.

Modern Art and Design auction, October 12, 2014 Modern Art and Design auction, October 12, 2014 Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Top to bottom: Andy Warhol, “Most Wanted Men No. 12, Frank B.,” 1963 (pink)Andy Warhol, “Most Wanted Men No. 11, John Joseph H.,” 1963 (pink); and Andy Warhol “Most Wanted Men No. 2, John Victor G.,” 1963 (pink) (3 works), Richard Pettibone, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

Another shade of pink—cooler, more suggestive—is found in John Altoon’s Untitled, a pastel from 1962 (Lot 397). Recently exhibited in “The Astonishing Works of John Altoon” at the Nyehaus in New York, and on par with the works displayed in Altoon’s recent show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the artist further delves into puckish abstractions of private anatomy. Departing from the modest protestations of artists like O’Keefe, in Untitled, Altoon fully embraces the vaginal imagery on placid display.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Untitled (1962), John Altoon, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

 In Lot 225, Cosmology (Faith), from 1987, Matt Mullican embraces red’s sacred aspect—its role as a pan-cultural symbol for death and life, blood and ceremony, anger and import. An important member of the Pictures Generation, Mullican depicts art as language in its purest form. He ritually employs pictures and symbols to achieve a communion with things that cannot be spoken.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Cosmology (Faith) (1987), Matt Mullican, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

Finally, no mention of the fabulous shades of red on display in Sunday’s auction would be complete without tipping our cap to a handful of other crimson glories, beginning with the splashy tomato-hued “Pow” that gives Lichtenstein’s Sweet Dreams, Baby! its punch (Lot 314).

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Sweet Dreams, Baby! (11 Pop Artists Portfolio, Vol. III) (1965), Roy Lichtenstein
Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

And behold, Sam Gilliam’s brutal and vibrant Village Series #1, a sculpture from 1979 (Lot 259).

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Village Series #1 (1979), Sam Gilliam, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

On the joyful end of the spectrum are Eero Saarinen’s iconic Womb chair and ottoman (Lot 4)…

 Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Womb chair and ottoman (Designed 1947), Eero Saarinen, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

… the effervescent bubbles of Alexander Calder’s Systeme Solaire Dont un Blanc (Lot 371) from 1965…

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Systeme Solaire Dont un Blanc (1965), Alexander Calder, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

… and, finally, the shiny, literal rosiness that is Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Red) from 1995 (Lot 375).

The range of artworks on offer reminds us that red, the color of lipstick and fire extinguishers, can be both alluring and alarming.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Balloon Dog (Red) (1995), Jeff Koons, Modern Art & Design Auction, October 12, 2014

Lot 330
Richard Pettibone
Andy Warhol,”Most Wanted Men”
1969
Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas in artist’s frame
Each signed, dated, and titled in black ballpoint pen verso
Canvas: 4.25″ x 7.25″;
Frame: 4.375″ x 7.5″;
Canvas: 4.125″ x 7.25″;
Frame: 4.375″ x 7.5″;
Canvas (irreg.): 6.25″ x 6.75″;
Frame: 6.5″ x 7″
Comprised of Andy Warhol, “Most Wanted Men No. 12, Frank B.,” 1963 (pink), Andy Warhol, “Most Wanted Men No. 11, John Joseph H.,” 1963 (pink), and Andy Warhol “Most Wanted Men No. 2, John Victor G.,” 1963 (pink) (3 works)

Exhibited: “L’oeuvre re-produite: aspects de l’art du XXe siècle,” Abbaye Saint-André, Centre d’art contemporain, Meymac, August 31-December 1, 1991; “In Your Face,” The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, October 17, 1998-January 17, 1999; “Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Frances Young Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, April 30, 2005-May 28, 2006

Illustrated: Berry, Ian, and Michael Duncan. Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective. Exhibition Catalogue. Saratoga Springs: Frances Young Tang Museum, 2005. p 69, #62-64.

Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000

Lot 371
Alexander Calder
Systeme Solaire Dont un Blanc
1965
Gouache on paper
Signed and dated lower right sheet
Image/sheet: 29.5″ x 42.5″;
Frame: 36″ x 49″
Calder Foundation #A11377
Provenance: Galerie Maeght, Paris, France; Edgardo Acosta Gallery, Beverly Hills, California (acquired directly from the above, 1969);
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet, Los Angeles, California, March 18, 1980, Lot 531)
Estimate: $80,000 – $100,000

Lot 314
Roy Lichtenstein
Sweet Dreams, Baby! (11 Pop Artists Portfolio, Vol. III)
1965
Color screenprint on paper
#22 of 50 proofs numbered in Roman numerals aside from the edition of 200
Published by Original Editions, New York
Signed in pencil lower right; edition inscribed in Roman numerals lower left
Image: 35.5″ x 25.5″;
Sheet: 37.5″ x 27.5″;
Frame: 39.5″ x 29.5″
Provenance: John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, California;
Private Collection, United States (acquired directly from the above, 1971)
Literature: Bianchini, Paul. Roy Lichtenstein: Drawings and Prints. New York: Chelsea House, 1969. p 220, #11; Corlett, Mary Lee. The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1948-1993. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 2002. #39.
Estimate: $70,000 – $90,000

Lot 397
John Altoon
Untitled
1962
Pastel on board
Image/sheet (vis.): 55″ x 40″;
Frame: 60.25″ x 45″
Provenance: The Estate of John Altoon;
Nicholas Wilder Gallery, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, c 1970s);
Private Collection, United States (acquired directly from the above, c 1980s)
Exhibited: “The Astonishing Works of John Altoon,” NYEHAUS, New York, May 7-June 19, 2010
Illustrated: Nye, Tim. The Astonishing Works of John Altoon. Exhibition Catalogue. New York: The Monacelli Press, 2010. #88.
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

Lot 225
Matt Mullican
Cosmology (Faith)
1987
Oil stick on canvas
Retains Krygier Landau Contemporary Art Gallery label verso
Canvas: 48″ x 48″
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Lot 259
Sam Gilliam
Village Series #1
1979
Japanese rice paper, aniline dye, polymer dip, and string in Plexiglas box
Signed and dated with title on Plexiglas box; retains Middendorf/Lane Gallery label
Sheet: 7.25″ x 18″ x 3.5″
Together with note from the artist
Provenance: Private Collection, Washington, DC;
Thence by descent
Estimate: $5,000 – $8,000

Lot 375
Jeff Koons
Balloon Dog (Red)
1995
Cast porcelain with red reflective finish
#24 of unknown edition size
Published by VOICE: Venice/Oakwood Inner City Enterprise, Los Angeles
Signed on VOICE label verso; edition and date verso
10.75″ diameter
Estimate: $5,000 – $7,000

Lot 4
Eero Saarinen
Womb chair and ottoman (2)
Designed 1947
Model nos. 70 (chair) and 74 (ottoman)
Knoll Associates
Chair: 34.5″ x 38.5″ x 38″;
Ottoman: 17″ x 25″ x 19.5″
Literature: Lutz, Brian. Knoll: A Modernist Universe. New York: Rizzoli, 2010. p 116.
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000

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

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