LAMA BLOG

Peter’s Auction Pick of the Day: Portfolios

May 13, 2019

Portfolios are unique in that they reveal their artist’s development of and experimentation with a theme. It is as if the artist offers the viewer multiple courses for artistic action for a single prompt. In the May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction, LAMA is proud to feature three distinguished portfolios from Ken Price, John Baldessari, and Patrick Caulfield.






Ken Price, Heat Wave, 1995
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Heat Wave (1995) is a deluxe suite of images, each individually signed and editioned, from Charles Bukowski’s book of poems by the same title. Ken Price noted in several interviews that drawing and illustration are natural bedfellows with sculpture as both practices entail the real and imagined creation of mass and the negotiation of the space surrounding it. While the artist was obsessed with detail, his drawings maintain a low-definition, comic-like style that encourages the viewer to read their own experiences, or as is the case here the content of Bukowski’s text, into Price’s imagined spaces.


John Baldessari, Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line, 1973
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Fascinated by the exchanges between visual and linguistic ‘meaning-making’ John Baldessari, created the exercise documented by Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts) (1973), as a study of the function of fabricated rules and arbitrary goals within the organizing structure of a game. As a set the thirteen images reveal Baldessari’s process and signal duration, independently however, each frame performs as an abstract musing. This intra-work relationship draws attention the nature context and the relativity of the image even when sourced from an ‘objective’ medium such as photography.


Patrick Caulfield, White Ware Prints Portfolio, 1990
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Modernizing the traditional still life genre, British painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield described his practice as that of a ‘formal artist.’ White Ware Prints Portfolio (1990) showcases Caulfield’s propensity for capturing vessel-like structures in his characteristically reductive manner. While many are quick to label Caulfield as a  Pop artist, works such as those in this set reveal a sincerity and sense of isolation that run counter to the ironic reflection of artifice championed by artists such as Warhol and Lichtenstein. Because this portfolio lacks Caulfield’s signature references to the materiality of his medium, its emotional heft is particularly loud and renders the collection very valuable in locating Caulfield’s artistic ethos outside of the popular trends that surrounded him.


LOT INFORMATION

Lot 142
Ken Price
Heat Wave
1995
The complete signed deluxe portfolio of 15 color screenprints on Arches paper
#14 of 26
Published by Black Sparrow Graphic Arts, Santa Rosa; printed by T.J. Owens, Healdsburg
Each signed and dated in graphite lower right margin beneath image; edition lower left; each retains publisher’s blind stamps; facsimile of artist’s signature on justification page with lettered edition inscribed in red ink
Text by Charles Bukowski
Together with original packaging and CD
Sheets each: 14″ x 11″ (some with alternate orientation); Portfolio case: 15″ x 12.625″ x 1″
(Sheets each: 36 x 28 cm)

This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)

Estimate: $6,000–8,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Lot 152
John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)
1973
The complete portfolio of 15 loose sheets; 13 sheets offset lithographs
From the edition of 2,000
Published by Galleria Toselli, Milan; printed by Gimpolo Prearo, Milan
Together with original slip case
This example includes an additional photolithograph, making 13 photolithographs in total (the set typically is comprised of 12 photolithographs)
Images each: 7″ x 10″; Sheets each: 9.625″ x 12.625″; Frame: 47″ x 59.5″; (Images each: 18 x 25 cm)

Estimate: $2,000–3,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

Lot 249
Patrick Caulfield
White Ware Prints Portfolio
1990
The complete portfolio of eight screenprints on paper
Each: #3 of 45
Published by Waddington Galleries, London; printed by Advanced Graphics, London
Each signed with edition in graphite lower right margin beneath image; each initialed, titled, dated, and numbered from 5239 to 5246 in graphite verso
Images each: 31.25″ x 21″; Sheets each: 42.125″ x 32″; (Images each: 79 x 53 cm)

This work is being sold to fund new artwork for UCLA’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, along with much needed repairs and upkeep of artwork in the collection.
Provenance  James Corcoran, Los Angeles, California; UCLA Health (gifted directly from the above)
Literature Caulfield: The Complete Prints 1964-1999. K. Dempsey. 1999. #75-82.

Estimate: $6,000–8,000
May 19, 2019 Modern Art and Design Auction

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