10 Standout Auction Lots on Artsy This Week: August 19, 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. Browse all of the auctions on Artsy, including lots by artists you follow, here.
Shepard Fairey, A CHAMPION OF JUSTICE (2021)
This portrait of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Shepard Fairey is based on a photograph by Ruvén Afanador. Fairey portrays the legendary Supreme Court justice in his iconic red, white, and blue color scheme with snippets of newspaper headlines filling her robe. Fairey also includes a quote by Ginsberg in the upper right corner of the composition that reads: “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.” This print has already exceeded its high estimate with 11 bids in Heritage’s Fairey-focused sale, “In Focus: OBEY.”
Salvador Dalí, Canto 1, from Inferno (ca. 1960–64)
In honor of poet Dante Alighieri’s 700th birthday, the Italian government commissioned Salvador Dalí to create 100 illustrations for a commemorative edition of The Divine Comedy. Though the government eventually revoked support for the project after public outcry, Dalí moved forward and worked with a French publisher to have 100 wood engravings made to represent each of the Comedy’s cantos. Available in Heritage’s “In Focus: Dalí” auction with a starting bid of $12,000, Canto 1, from Inferno takes its title from the book of the same name. The piece, which Dalí embellished with ink drawings, portrays the moment Dante diverges from his straightforward path and heads toward the dark and unknown forest.
Imi Knoebel, Face 2 Ed. (2002–13)
German post-war artist Imi Knoebel is known for abstract, minimal compositions that incorporate a variety of media. Almost exclusively focusing on rectangular shapes and their warped possibilities, Knoebel also employs a bright color palette, diverging from his early-career interest in monochrome. This turquoise, orange, green, and red collage painting is for sale in “Artsy x Forum Auctions: Post-War and Contemporary Art under $24,000” with a current bid of $5,500.
Betty Woodman, Alessandro’s Room (2013)
Betty Woodman is best known for her ceramic sculptures and involvement in the Pattern and Decoration movement in the 1970s and ’80s. The late artist experimented with form, creating work that toyed with our visual perceptions of everyday objects. Alessandro’s Room, a stunning and ambitious triptych, is a colorful woodcut and lithograph with chine collé and collage depicting an abstracted still-life scene. The print is available from $8,500 in “Artsy x Forum Auctions: Post-War and Contemporary Art under $24,000.”
Graciela Iturbide, Casa de Frida Kahlo, Coyoacán, México (2007)
The distinct black-and-white photographs by Mexican artist Graciela Iturbide reflect the quiet history, intimate details, and livelihoods of indigenous people throughout Mexico. This image, for sale in the Contemporary Arts Center’s “FastForward Benefit Auction” with a starting bid of $2,000, is a snapshot of Frida Kahlo’s bedroom in Casa Azul. Iturbide’s focus is on one corner of the room, where a large ceramic vessel with human appendages sits next to a thin glass vase with one flower and one leaf, conveying a poetic sense of emptiness.
Ansel Adams, Dawn, Autumn Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee (1948)
Famed for his photographs of the American wilderness, Ansel Adams was a technical photographer, intent on manipulating light, shadow, and form into precise compositions. In 1932, Adams helped to form the San Francisco Bay Area collective Group f/64, which consisted of 11 West Coast photographers committed to a practice of “pure photography.” Adams also played an essential role in establishing the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art. This photograph of a forest in the Great Smoky Mountains is available in Bonhams’s “Photographs Summer Edition” auction with a starting bid of $8,500.
Henry Hudson, Horizon Line No. 10 (2021)
This painting by British artist Henry Hudson is a medley of unconventional media: plasticine (oil-based modeling clay), chalk, pigment, and white glue come together on aluminium board to create a fiery skyline. Hudson is known for experimenting with material, particularly plasticine, to render natural environments in bold colors and textures. Horizon Line No. 10 is currently available from $6,500 in “Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Benefit Auction.” Hudson’s work is currently featured in Unit London’s group exhibition “Rites of Passage.”
Philip Colbert, Lobster at Sea (Red) (2021)
Reflecting on his art practice, contemporary pop artist Philip Colbert said, “I became an artist when I became a Lobster.” The recurring motif of a cherry-red lobster appears in all of Colbert’s work—though its color changes at times—and functions as an avatar for the artist, who offers satirical critiques on our internet-obsessed culture. This large-scale tondo is for sale in “Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation Benefit Auction,” with a starting bid of $26,000.
Keith Haring, Untitled (Subway Drawing) (1980s)
The tattered edges of this Keith Haring subway drawing speaks to its removal from its original context: a 1980s NYC subway station. Drawn with chalk on black paper, the work features Haring’s signature barking dogs and an acrobatic tower of human figures. The composition, with the written text “NYC” in the upper left corner and “USA” written within a spaceship in the upper right, hints at Haring’s critique of American exceptionalism. Untitled (Subway Drawing) is now available in the auction “Tate Ward: By Collectors For Collectors” with a starting bid of £30,000.
David Yarrow, First Down (2020)
To capture this majestic image of a lion mid-leap, David Yarrow used a wide-angle lens from a cage located in a river inside lion territory. Yarrow, a photographer and conservationist, frequently travels to isolated locations to photograph underappreciated corners of the natural world. Available in “Tusk Lion Trail: Live Benefit Auction,” First Down represents the exquisite quality and dedication Yarrow applies to his photography practice.