Keith Haring’s 85-foot mural “Untitled (The Church of the Ascension Grace House Mural)” (c.1983/84) achieved $3,860,075 at Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on November 13. It was the first Haring mural ever to come to auction and it was originally painted in the stairwell of Grace House, a former convent and home of the Catholic Youth Organization in Manhattan. Other highlights from the sale include Helen Frankenthaler’s “Mica” (1981), which sold for $487,575; Louise Nevelson’s “Rain Forest Column XVIII” (1962), which sold for $225,075; and Sam Francis’s “Of the Rope Star (SFF:636)” (1973–1974), which sold for $237,575. The sale achieved a total of $6,626,300.
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Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on November 11 totaled $191,911,500. Among the most surprising results was a surmoulage (please Google that) of Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio)” (1913/1972) which realized $16.2M at auction, far exceeding its $3.8M–$4.5M estimate. René Magritte’s “Le seize septembre” (1957) sold for $19,570,000.
At Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York, Ed Ruscha‘s “Hurting the Word Radio #2” (1964) sold for an unbelievable $52,485,000. New auction records were also set for Ellsworth Kelly, with “Red Curve VII” (1982) selling for $9,809,000; Alma Thomas, with “A Fantastic Sunset” (1970) hammering at $2,655,000; and Charles White, for his “Banner for Willie J” (1976) fetching $1,215,000. The November 13 sale totaled $325,259,750.
Some of the highlights of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale on November 13 included Claude Monet’s “Étretat, Coucher de Soleil” (1883) at $3,020,000, Alfred Sisley’s “La Seine au Bas-Meudon” (c.1878–79) at $1,004,000, and Francisco Toledo’s “A Meu Xubi” (1973) at $1,040,000.
Phillips‘ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale realized $40.2 Million with some highlights being Josef Albers‘s “Homage to the Square: Silent Gray” (1955), which was estimated at $400,000–600,000 and realized $1,316,000, and Larry Poons’s “Jessica’s Hartford” (1965), which was sold for $1,150,000. Works by Jaume Plensa, Maria Lassnig, Elizabeth Murray, Sascha Braunig, and others achieved auction records. Plensa for “Twins I and II” (2009) at $1,130,000; Lassnig for “Competition III” (2000) at $704,000; Murray for “2. B.! (1990) at $200,000; and Braunig’s “Ponytail” (2011) at $45,000.
A first edition of Sir Isaac Newton‘s Opticks (1704) sold for $40,000 at Swann Galleries‘s October 24’s Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books sale. A first edition of Galileo’s 1649 dialogue on the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems, establishing the validity of heliocentricity, realized $16,900, and a second edition Georg Agricola’s De re metallica (1561) on the first systematic treatise on mining and metallurgy, fetched $10,000. While Niccolò Circignani’s 1585 publication with 31 engraved plates of Christian martyrdom scenes by Giovanni Battista Cavalieri, based on frescoes in the church of S. Stefano Rotondo in Rome, hammered at $8,125. The auction sale’s total was $479,387, which exceeded the estimates of $260,060–$407,240.
The Bern Museum of Fine Art is selling a painting by Édouard Manet, which was one of the 1,500 works it inherited from Cornelius Gurlitt, who had a significant collection that included Nazi-looted art. The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo has agreed to purchase “Ships at Sea in Stormy Weather” (1873) for $4,000,000. The sale was reputedly necessary to cover the costs of managing the Gurlitt collection.