10 Standout Auction Lots on Artsy This Week: September 2, 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.
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (1980)
This untitled Robert Rauschenberg collage, part of his “Signal” series, strikes a delicate balance between texture, form, and color. Available for bidding from $100,000 in the Artsy x Poly “Post-War and Contemporary Masters” auction, the collage includes solvent transfers of wartime images, polka-dotted and striped fabrics mounted on plywood, and a white Avon comb—an element that nods to Rauschenberg’s distinct practice of incorporating found objects and everyday materials into his work. Each component is carefully placed within a perfectly square frame, which reflects the square shape of nautical signal flags that inspired this series.
Andy Warhol, $ (1982)
Part of Andy Warhol’s iconic “Dollar Sign” series, $ features a single dollar sign with two vertical lines rendered in navy and orange against a white background. The amplified dollar sign speaks to Warhol’s critiques of American consumerism as it reflects the outsize value placed on aesthetic objects. An edition of 60, $ was inspired by the United States’s cultural infatuation with wealth and status in the early 1980s. The work, a prime example of Warhol’s uncanny ability to push the boundaries of what art could be, is for sale in the Artsy x Poly “Post-War and Contemporary Masters” auction from $60,000.
After Jean-Michel Basquiat, Boxer Rebellion (executed 1982–83; printed 2018)
This Boxer Rebellion edition, the original of which was made by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1982–83, is an impressive screenprint referencing the anti-foreign uprising that occurred in China from 1899 to 1901. Though the work takes its name from the turn-of-the-century rebellion, Basquiat also references Black athletes, class struggle, and the sport of boxing through depictions of late 20th-century boxers. Blending English text, Chinese characters, and drawing in his signature graffiti style, Basquiat constructed an enigmatic work, editions of which have sold for over $55,000. This edition is now available with a starting bid of $40,000 in the Artsy x Poly “Post-War and Contemporary Masters” auction.
Helmut Newton, Veruschka, Nice (1975; printed ca. 1984)
Celebrated for his erotic, black-and-white fashion photographs, Helmut Newton captured images of women in provocative, alluring poses. This edition of Veruschka, Nice is available in the Artsy x Forum “Titans of Photography” auction from $30,000, and depicts a female model draped in a leather and fur coat, open at the front to reveal the model’s hand gingerly covering her genitals. With hair peeking out from her palm, the model appears unbothered, exuding confidence as she stares directly at the camera.
Julie Cockburn, The Diviner (2019)
In Julie Cockburn’s work The Diviner, hand-embroidered squares bedeck the visage of a man whose identity remains anonymous. Cockburn, who once declared “no image is safe after it enters my studio,” regularly alters found photographic portraits to create compositions rife with playful curiosity. In this work, Cockburn supplements the threaded pixels with inkjet shadows, enhancing the distance between the portrait’s original subject and its current state. The Diviner is available in the Artsy x Forum “Titans of Photography” auction with a starting bid of $4,000.
Wolfgang Tillmans, JAL II (2016)
With JAL II, Wolfgang Tillmans revisits JAL (1997), a near-identical photograph he had taken almost two decades earlier. Both photographs depict two jets emerging from the wing of a plane; in the 1997 work, however, the Japan Airlines logo is visible on the wing tip, while the 2016 work shows no commercial markings in this area of the plane’s exterior. Available in Bonhams’s “Post-War & Contemporary Art X Made in California” auction with a starting bid of $65,000, JAL II challenges our sense of time and space, and reveals Tillmans’s careful attention to the breadth of his life’s work.
Radcliffe Bailey, Day of Soumbedioune in Dakar (2008)
In Radcliffe Bailey’s monumental multimedia work Day of Soumbedioune in Dakar, Soumbédioune, a fishing neighborhood in Senegal’s capital of Dakar, is rendered in abstract detail. Made with acrylic, glitter, and collaged paper on canvas, this piece highlights the business of everyday life in Soumbédioune, with special emphasis on the colorful pirogues that populate the water. Day of Soumbedioune in Dakar is available from $30,000 in Bonhams’s “Post-War & Contemporary Art X Made in California” auction.
Nick Knight, Bianca Jagger, Human Rights Campaigner (2021)
This portrait of Nicaraguan human rights advocate Bianca Jagger was created for The View Magazine’s exhibition “Someone’s Daughter,” a group show taking place September 8th through 12th at Photo London. The exhibition presents portraits of former female prisoners, as well as professional women who have been impacted by the carceral system. Taken by British photographer Nick Knight, Bianca Jagger, Human Rights Campaigner is available in “The View: Benefit Auction 2021” with a starting price of £12,000.
Olga de Amaral, Sol Blanco 6 (1993)
Shimmering like fish scales in the light, Sol Blanco 6 is constructed from linen, gesso, acrylic, Japanese paper, graphite, and gold leaf. Colombian artist Olga de Amaral, who is driven primarily by emotion, brings this disparate set of materials together in harmony. The work references de Amaral’s native Colombian landscapes in addition to pre-Columbian gold artifacts. Bids for Sol Blanco 6 begin at $25,000 in Bonhams’s “Post-War & Contemporary Art X Made in California” auction.
Benjamin Senior, Hoop and Heron (2016)
A heron and a bright blue peacock crowd around a young girl’s ankles in Benjamin Senior’s painting Hoop and Heron. The girl, who holds a hula-hoop over her head, appears to be preparing for an exercise or routine. The bulbous topiary on the left suggests a pristine park or garden. Senior elevates the tension between the girl and her surroundings by juxtaposing a manicured environment with a playful, and potentially boisterous, child. Hoop and Heron is available from $2,000 in John Moran Auctioneers’s “Summer Modern & Contemporary” sale.