On Sunday, LAMA set a new company record, selling a single work for the highest price in the company’s 23-year history; Richard Prince’s Bedtime Story (1988) from the seminal Monochromatic Jokes paintings series realized $1.585 million. LAMA additionally set world auction records for artists and designers Mary Corse, Fred Eversley, John Lautner, James Gill, Steve Roden, and Joe Brainard. LAMA realized $5 million in total auction sales on February 21, selling 116% of the 419 lots by value. “Record-setting prices have convinced some important collectors to act locally instead of sending works to New York, which used to be the norm,” stated Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art. “The Richard Prince sale underscores our growing strength in the field of contemporary art and demonstrates LAMA’s ability to offer West Coast collectors expanded opportunities to buy and sell.”
James Gill emerged as a phenomenon in the Los Angeles art scene of the early 1960s, where he drew a following from members of the Hollywood community as well as the attention of established patrons of the East Coast art world. The use of bright colors and serial imagery drawn often from celebrity culture and the news media prompted many to define Gill as a Pop artist, yet his blurred painterly technique also won him comparisons to Francis Bacon. In 1972, still at the height of fame, Gill retreated from the public eye, eventually returning to his native town of San Angelo, Texas.