Peter’s Post-Auction Picks
Amidst the bustle of auction day even the most fabulous lots can go overlooked. LAMA’s February 25th Modern Art and Design Auction included a number of exceptional pieces that managed to dodge the gavel. Luckily, these pieces will still be available at a “Buy Now” price for a short period. The “Buy Now” price includes the Buyer’s Premium, and all sales are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Peter Loughrey, LAMA’s Director of Modern Design & Fine Art, has selected six superb pieces that deserve another look post-auction. These stellar works are likely to disappear from the market after this week, so strike while the iron is hot. No bidding is required. Each of the following pieces are available for acquisition at a fixed price.
Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Sandbox), c. 1960
February 25, 2018 Modern Art & Design Auction
An iconic Joseph Cornell shadow box is still to be snatched up. Taking a cue from Marcel Duchamp’s infamous “readymades,” and Kurt Schwitters’ unique, boxed Dada collages, Cornell’s c. 1960 work Untitled (Sandbox) is a classic example of this important American artist’s practice, which has since influenced several generations of artists working in various mediums across the globe. LAMA acquired this particular work by Cornell from its original owner. Like many of Cornell’s works, this piece is intended to be handled and activated, so as to spontaneously generate new arrangements and associations of meaning. The individual components in this assemblage — metal rings, balls, and loose sand with a smiling moon face affixed in the corner—collide and disappear in a kaleidoscope-like way when handled to produce endless variations, both visually and audibly, with each interaction.
Part painting, part sculpture, Llyn Foulkes superb oil, acrylic, and mixed-media on wood panel work Landscape #23 (1996) is a definitive illustration of this Los Angeles-based artist and musician’s oeuvre, which includes paintings, installations, and tableaux that often dish up scathing social commentary. To create this work, Foulkes first painted the landscape and then carved away the support and frame to create a sculptural element, a practice that he has continually refined over the years.
Another work still to be snapped up is Alexis Smith’s excellent 1979 work, Choice Quality, a subtle but powerful piece constructed from an unlikely assemblage of objects consisting of a Camel cigarette pack and a mirror on painted wood. This pioneering artist often gathered materials from swap meets and thrift stores, with a focus on maps, movie posters, and other found objects. She would also employ quotes from American writers and poets such as Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac, and Raymond Chandler to create alternative narratives. True to form, Choice Quality has a kind of pulp-cinematic quality to it that bridges assemblage and conceptual art. The fact that the word “choice” printed on the cigarette package is not reflected as mirrored writing, but still reads “choice” in the reflection — is a potent statement on the part of this artist. Even on reflection choice remains a constant.
Three exceptional design pieces also slipped through the cracks during last Sunday’s auction. Evans Clark’s eye-catching c. 1949 Room divider is a remarkable piece that captures the spirit of mid-century modern design, with its seamless integration of form and functionality, clean lines, and fluid silhouette. Another exceptional piece of furniture still up for grabs is Hans J. Wegner’s 1965 Office Group desk. This piece is a terrific example of Wegner’s pioneering work, which united quality and comfort to ultimately make the words “Danish” and “modern design” virtually synonymous. Wendell Castle’s 2008 stainless steel Abilene rocking chair will also remain available at a fixed price for a short period. With its organic, biomorphic form that is at once whimsical and graceful, this elegant but bold sculptural piece is a later work produced by this important American artist and designer who is often dubbed the “founding father” of the Art Furniture Movement.
Wood and glass box construction with sand, string, metal balls, and found objects
Signed to paper label on underside
9″ x 15.75″ x 1.5″
Estimate: $40,000 – 60,000
Oil, acrylic, and mixed-media on wood panel
Signed, titled, and dated verso
Panel: 14″ x 17.75″; Frame: 15.125″ x 19″
Estimate: $20,000 – 30,000
BY NOW PRICE: $25,000 (including buyer’s premium)
Hans J. Wegner
Office Group desk
Johannes Hansen, designed 1965
28″ x 64.5″ x 34″
Literature: Georg Jensen. Manufacturer cat. N.d. N.pag.
Estimate: $2,500 – 3,500
BY NOW PRICE: $3,125 (including buyer’s premium)
Glenn of California, designed c. 1949
Open: 60″ x 64″ x 8″
Estimate: $5,000 – 7,000
BY NOW PRICE: $6,250 (including buyer’s premium)
Camel cigarette pack and mirror on painted wood
2.375″ x 7.25″ x 6.25″
Provenance: L.A. Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Private Collection, Santa Barbara, California (acquired directly from the above, 1980)
Exhibited: “Significant Others: Collections of Artists,” Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, August-September 1998
Estimate: $3,000 – 5,000
BY NOW PRICE: $3,750 (including buyer’s premium)
Abilene rocking chair
Studio, executed 2008
#4 of 8
Signed and dated with edition to underside
30.5″ x 29″ x 52″
Provenance: Barry Friedman, Ltd., New York, New York; Private Collection, Los Angeles, California
Estimate: $80,000 – 120,000
BY NOW PRICE: $100,000 (including buyer’s premium)