John Baldessari

(b. 1931)
Lot 49
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Blue
Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000
Price Realized: $7,500
September 30, 2018
Lot 213
John Baldessari
A Suite of Five Lithographs from Tristram Shandy
Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Price Realized: $12,500
June 10, 2018
Lot 214
John Baldessari
Double Play: Feelings (from Artists for Obama)
Estimate: $1,500 - $2,000
Price Realized: $2,000
June 10, 2018
Lot 58
John Baldessari
Visionaire 64 Art Portfolio Platinum
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $3,125
February 25, 2018
Lot 207
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Palm Trees and Building (with Vikings)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $3,750
October 22, 2017
Lot 20
John Baldessari
Millennium Piece (with Pink Cup)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $1,875
March 5, 2017
Lot 21
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Double Motorcyclists and Landscape (Icelandic 2003)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $4,375
March 5, 2017
Lot 132
John Baldessari
Leg, Straw, Diver (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $4,375
October 9, 2016
Lot 133
John Baldessari
Two Trucks/Two Decisions (on Bridge)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $3,125
October 9, 2016
Lot 123
John Baldessari
Pure Beauty
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $3,150
May 22, 2016
Lot 124
John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $5,937
May 22, 2016
Lot 200
John Baldessari
Two Whales (With People)
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $5,625
February 21, 2016
Lot 201
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Palm Trees and Building (with Vikings)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $6,875
February 21, 2016
Lot 202
John Baldessari
Large Door (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $4,062
February 21, 2016
Lot 209
John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $8,750
October 11, 2015
Lot 211
John Baldessari
Six Colorful Gags (Male)
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $5,625
October 11, 2015
Lot 212
John Baldessari
Two Figures: One Leaping (Orange); One Reacting (with Blue and Green)
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $4,062
October 11, 2015
Lot 213
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Double Motorcyclists and Landscape (Icelandic 2003)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $3,125
October 11, 2015
Lot 214
John Baldessari
Raised Eyebrows/Furrowed Foreheads: Figure with Globe
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $2,500
October 11, 2015
Lot 48
John Baldessari
Night and Day You are the One (Magenta/Orange)
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Price Realized: $20,000
May 17, 2015
Lot 49
John Baldessari
Two Opponents (Blue and Yellow)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $3,437
May 17, 2015
Lot 50
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Palm Trees and Building (with Vikings)
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $5,937
May 17, 2015
Lot 51
John Baldessari
Kiss, Hair, Hands (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $3,750
May 17, 2015
Lot 52
John Baldessari
Two Hands (with Distant Figure)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $5,312
May 17, 2015
Lot 59
John Baldessari
National City Portfolio
Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Price Realized: $62,500
March 1, 2015
Lot 60
John Baldessari
Two Boats (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $6,875
March 1, 2015
Lot 61
John Baldessari
Leg, Straw, Diver (from Hegel's Cellar Portfolio)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $4,375
March 1, 2015
Lot 62
John Baldessari
Two Unfinished Letters
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $4,687
March 1, 2015
Lot 63
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Double Motorcyclists and Landscape (Icelandic 2003)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $5,000
March 1, 2015
Lot 435
John Baldessari
Three Moments
Estimate: $6,000 - $9,000
Price Realized: $53,125
October 12, 2014
Lot 436
John Baldessari
Man, Dog (Blue), Canoe/Shark Fins (One Yellow), Capsized Boat
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $8,125
October 12, 2014
Lot 437
John Baldessari
Brain/Cloud (With Seascape and Palm Tree)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $11,250
October 12, 2014
Lot 438
John Baldessari
Two Hands (With Distant Figure)
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $6,875
October 12, 2014
Lot 287
John Baldessari
Hand and/or Feet: Chair and Books/Plate and Egg
Estimate: $3,500 - $4,500
Price Realized: $5,312
May 18, 2014
Lot 288
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Red
Estimate: $6,000 - $9,000
Price Realized: $10,000
May 18, 2014
Lot 289
John Baldessari
The Overlap Series: Double Motorcyclists and Landscape (Icelandic 2003)
Estimate: $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized: $6,875
May 18, 2014
Lot 457
John Baldessari
Paradise
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Price Realized: $7,500
October 13, 2013
Lot 458
John Baldessari
Man, Dog (Blue), Canoe/Shark Fins (One Yellow), Capsized Boat
Estimate: $4,500 - $5,500
Price Realized: $6,250
October 13, 2013
Lot 226
John Baldessari
Keys (with Intrusion) (from A French Horn Player, A Square Blue Moon, and Other Subjects series)
Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000
Price Realized: $4,687
May 19, 2013
Lot 227
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Orange
Estimate: $6,000 - $9,000
Price Realized: $6,250
May 19, 2013
Lot 15
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (with Two Persons) Blue
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $7,500
October 7, 2012
Lot 16
John Baldessari
Object (with flaw)
Estimate: $14,000 - $16,000
Price Realized: $16,250
October 7, 2012
Lot 17
John Baldessari
Juggler's Hand (With Diver)
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $6,562
October 7, 2012
Lot 64
John Baldessari
Two Whales (with People)
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $8,125
December 11, 2011
Lot 65
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (with Two Persons) Green
Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000
Price Realized: $12,500
December 11, 2011
Lot 160
John Baldessari
8th and D, National City
Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000
Price Realized: $287,875
October 9, 2011
Lot 161
John Baldessari
Sleep While You Grow Rich
Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000
Price Realized: $183,750
October 9, 2011
Lot 18
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Red
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $8,125
June 26, 2011
Lot 19
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Yellow
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $6,250
June 26, 2011
Lot 20
John Baldessari
Untitled
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,375
June 26, 2011
Lot 72
John Baldessari
Stonehenge (With Two Persons) Red
Estimate: $4,000 - $5,000
Price Realized: $8,268
October 17, 2010
Lot 143
John Baldessari
Jacob's Ladder
Estimate: $6,000 - $7,000
Price Realized: $9,800
May 23, 2010
Lot 34
John Baldessari
Throwing three balls to get get a straight line (best of thirty-six attempts)
Estimate: $400 - $500
Price Realized: $1,225
December 6, 2009
Lot 539
John Baldessari
Two Figures: One leaping (orange), one reacting (blue and green)
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized: $5,400
June 7, 2009
Lot 452
John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-six Attempts)
Estimate: $800 - $1,000
Price Realized: $2,280
June 29, 2008
Lot 98
John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-six Attempts)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,500
February 10, 2008
Lot 16
John Baldessari
Choosing: Green Beans, and Throwing A Ball Once To Get Three Melodies And Fifteen Chords (2)
Estimate: $800 - $1,000
Price Realized: $1,680
October 14, 2007
Lot 17
John Baldessari
Tristram Shandy
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $3,300
October 14, 2007
Lot 95
John Baldessari
Untitled (snake)
Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized: $1,200
June 18, 2006

About The Artist

Often associated with Minimalism and Conceptualism—with elements of Surrealism, Pop Art, and Dadaism thrown in for good measure—John Baldessari’s work exceeds these strict parameters, which, in the artist’s own words, can be “a little bit boring.” Ironically, it was boredom that sent Baldessari’s practice flying. Baldessari didn’t start out working in photomontage, the medium for which he is now best known. His early practice focused on painting in a largely gestural style. Frustrated and bored with that what he saw as the tedious constraints of that idiom, Baldessari scrapped it early on in his career, turning his efforts instead to “phototext” works that muddy the distinction between photography and painting, questioning the relationship between visual and verbal language.

“I’ve often thought of myself as a frustrated writer,” Baldessari once conceded. “I consider a word and an image of equal weight, and a lot of my work comes out of that kind of thinking.” The California-based artist, whose practice encompasses just about every possible media—including paintings, film, prints, billboards, artist’s books, performance, photomontage, and installation—has long been wrestling with the so-called “Laocoön debate” that pits images and words against one another. The latter, so the ancient argument goes, are a static and spatial art, while the former purportedly belong to the realm of the dynamic and temporal—a tidy distinction that many theorists and artists have not always found particularly convenient or legitimate. Baldessari clearly belongs to the camp that doesn’t quite see the distinction as clear-cut, repeatedly asserting the arbitrariness of categories in his works and writings.

Over the course of his long career, Baldessari has expressed a deep infatuation with the relationship between semantics and visual language, irreverently toying with and reevaluating the strict verdict that a massive chasm forever separates word and image. His self-referencing, tongue-in-cheek photomontages often incorporate sardonic tidbits of punny text with found and reappropriated images in novel, unexpected ways that impart a delirious spontaneity to the visual elements, and, more often than not, induce a heady dose of cognitive dissonance. The effect is largely due to the unique approach Baldessari takes when placing images and text next to one another in unorthodox and, ultimately, destabilizing, combinations that defy expectations of how these two codes operate, both on their own and together.

Although textual elements have gradually vanished from Baldessari’s work since the early 1970s as he has focused more exclusively on collage, the essential, underlying questions that drove his earlier work remain. His work continues to address the ways in which various visual and verbal codes impart and destabilize, enable and undermine, convey and obscure communication and meaning. “Words and imagery are both magical conveyors of meaning,” he once explained. “Sometimes I think a word can deal with an emotion better, and sometimes I believe an image can say it better. I’m ambivalent about prioritizing an image over a word. I build meaning in my art like a writer builds meaning from putting the right two words together. When you get it just right, it ignites meaning.”

Baldessari’s work has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions and in over 1000 group exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including a major retrospective in 1990 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and a career-spanning exhibition, John Baldessari: Pure Beauty, opened in 2009 at London’s Tate Modern, traveling from there to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has received honorary degrees from the California College of the Arts, the National University of Ireland, San Diego State University, Otis College of Art and Design, and Parsons School of Design. His awards and honors include the 2014 National Medal of Arts Award, the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, awarded by La Biennale di Venezia and the City of Goslar Kaiserring in 2012. Baldessari continues to work and create art in Venice, California.

 

Avgikos, Jan. “Stating the Obvious.” John Baldessari: National City. Ed. Hugh M. Davies and Andrea Hales. San Diego: Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 1996. 18-21. Print.

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