Art Market

10 Standout Auction Lots on Artsy This Week: February 11, 2021

In this series, Artsy’s Curatorial and Editorial teams offer a look at the auction lots we’re currently watching on Artsy. This selection includes hidden gems, popular works with the most bids, and promising lots from the latest auctions.

Omar Victor Diop, Khady (2011)

Omar Victor Diop
Khady, 2011
Artsy for Equal Justice Initiative Benefit Auction
This regal photograph by Senegalese artist Omar Victor Diop is a strong example of how Diop celebrates Black identity through portraiture. The work is currently available as part of the Artsy for Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) benefit auction. Founded by Bryan Stevenson in 1989, EJI is a nonprofit providing legal representation to those who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. The benefit sale, which also includes works by , , , and , will run online through February 25th.

Keith Haring, Happy New Year New York City (1980s)

In the 1980s, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority would paste over expired subway advertisements with sheets of matte black paper. This surface provided the perfect canvas for the city’s burgeoning street artists, the most notable of whom was Keith Haring. With white chalk, Haring embellished subway stations with his signature graphic style. This particular drawing, currently on offer through Tate Ward’s “By Collectors For Collectors” sale, is emblematic of such works and speaks to Haring’s deep love for and connection to the city.

Carmen Herrera, Rojo y Negro (Red and Black) (1993)

Having only risen out of obscurity in recent decades, the now 105-year-old Cuban American artist Carmen Herrera didn’t sell her first painting until she was 89 years old. Since then, her geometric abstractions have gained worldwide acclaim, and Herrera has been recognized as a pioneering forebearer of Op art and Minimalism. This print by Herrera is currently available as part of Bonhams’s “Geometric Abstraction Prints & Multiples” sale.

Victor Vasarely, Moire Wave (B. 1789) (1980)

This silkscreened acrylic box by the Hungarian French artist Victor Vasarely is quite literally making waves at Bonhams’s “Geometric Abstraction Prints & Multiples” sale. This Op art cube has already attracted a number of bidders who have pushed its current price squarely past its high estimate. With more than a week still left in the auction, we can expect that bids on this work will continue to increase.

Leon Golub, Run (2002)

Leon Golub
Run, 2002
Part of Bonhams’s “Post-War & Contemporary Art” sale, this visceral drawing by Leon Golub has been receiving strong interest with bids already meeting the work’s low estimate. The intimately scaled piece, rendered in chalk and acrylic, is among Golub’s last; the artist passed away in 2004 at the age of 82.

Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.788, Hanging Sphere) (ca. 1960–69)

Given the excitement surrounding Ruth Asawa in the past year, this wire sculpture by the late Japanese American artist is likely to garner interest at Bonhams’s “Post War & Contemporary Art” sale. This small brass wire orb—at just 3.5 inches tall—has a low estimate of $35,000. Last July, one of the artist’s large hanging pieces sold for a record-breaking $5.3 million at Christie’s. With a slate of impressive auction results, a survey at David Zwirner, and a much-celebrated United States Postal Service stamp honoring her career, Asawa was one of Artsy’s most influential artists of 2020.

Brandon Thibodeaux, Path (2020)

Brandon Thibodeaux
Path, 2020
Houston Center for Photography Benefit Auction
Interest in this recent photograph by the Houston-based artist Brandon Thibodeaux has been high, with a flurry of bids sending the work’s price to nearly double its estimate. Part of the Houston Center for Photography’s 2021 benefit auction, the photograph is representative of Thibodeaux’s ongoing work documenting the American South in somber black-and-white images.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (1980)

Cindy Sherman
Houston Center for Photography Benefit Auction
This diptych by Cindy Sherman will be available as part of the live online bidding portion of Houston Center for Photography’s 2021 benefit auction, which starts on February 18th. The work’s starting bid is currently at $7,000, placing it within range of similar black-and-white self-portraits by the artist that have recently sold at auction.

Sonia Delaunay, Rhythm Colour no. 1076 (1939)

Part of Rago Auctions’s “Prints + Multiples” sale, this lithograph is already attracting interest ahead of the auction’s live bidding, which will take place on February 17th. The print is one of two works by the innovative artist that are available at the Rago auction; the other is an etching from much later in her career. A pioneer of Orphism—a radiant blend of Cubism and Futurism—Delaunay created works that were bold explorations of color and form. The two works for sale at Rago are a testament to that spirit of geometric experimentation.

Robert Rauschenberg, “LA Uncovered #5” from the L.A. Uncovered series (1998)

This screenprint by Robert Rauschenberg from his “L.A. Uncovered” series, printed in collaboration with Gemini G.E.L., is a product of the artist’s long-standing relationship with the legendary print studio. One of G.E.L.’s earliest collaborators, along with and , Rauschenberg made the studio a central part of his practice. This particular print is currently on offer as part of John Moran’s “Winter Modern and Contemporary” sale, with a starting bid of $3,000.
Beatrice Sapsford
Shannon Lee is Artsy’s Associate Editor.