See also : French sculpture Klein Rothko Rothko 1957-70 Bacon < 1963 Jewels Pink diamond
1960 Small False Start by Johns
2022 for sale on November 9 by Christie's
waiting for catalogue
Bombshell tonight @ChristiesInc: Paul Allen's art collection coming to market this Fall pegged at $1 billion. CEO Guillaume Cerutti said this Summer that strong demand remained in the market. Now he has the supply he needs to meet that demand. Here's Allen's Jasper Johns. pic.twitter.com/LnNGhCNGj3— LiveArt (@artmarket) August 26, 2022
2019 SOLD for $ 50M by Sotheby's
In the following year, while the paintings were nearly completed, Rothko abruptly breaks the contract and returns to Seagram the money that had been paid in advance. He did not give a clear explanation of this decision. The artist was indeed known as temperamental, but we may especially question why he had accepted this contract that went against his social ideas.
The sequence that led to this anger, however, has a plausible hypothesis. Between acceptance and rejection of the contract, Rothko made a tour of Europe. While admiring Michelangelo in Florence, he understands the major role of the place where an artwork is exhibited. He has a too great opinion of his own art to become a mere restaurant decorator.
On May 16, 2019, Sotheby's sold for $ 50M from a lower estimate of $ 35M a 175 x 127 cm oil on canvas painted in 1960, lot 12.
This composition is a hybrid between the dialogue of dark colors, here a burgundy rectangle and a maroon rectangle, and a creamy white rectangle at the bottom of the image. Such an extreme opposition is rare in Rothko's art. It can be compared to a Dark over Light painted in 1954, sold for $ 30.7M by Christie's on May 17, 2018, lot 34 B, for which the rational explanation was the simulation of a window of light to snap the viewer up to this work.
In 1962 John and Dominique de Menil discover the expressive power of the dark hues of Rothko's Seagram style. From 1965 they sponsor a place of meditation that is much better suited to the artist than a luxury restaurant and which will become the Rothko Chapel.
Please watch the two videos shared by Sotheby's, in the categories First Look and Expert Voices.
2022 SOLD for $ 48M by Sotheby's
An opus is directly inspired by the dark colors of twilight. The artist recognized the highly emotional moment of mystery, threat and frustration that occur all at once in a nightfall. The scarcity of his trials in that theme assesses that it was a technical challenge and an enthusiastic achievement. It also announces the systematic use of the most subtle dark tones in the meditative period of the Rothko chapel.
That Untitled, a nearly square oil on canvas 180 x 190 cm, was sold for $ 48M from a lower estimate of $ 35M for sale by Sotheby's on May 17, 2022, lot 8. This experimental work had never before been exhibited publicly. It was treasured in the Macklowe collection since 1983.
The signature rectangles in black and in dark maroon look visually mingled over a deep cobalt blue background.
Other examples reintroduce the burning orange red of the sunset.
1960 Seated Figure by Bacon
2014 SOLD for $ 45M by Christie's
The model is famous : the portrait of Innocent X by Velazquez. As a precaution, Bacon would not see the original artwork for not altering his creative impetus. For over fifteen years, he executed about fifty paintings on this theme. The earliest were screaming their incompetence at offering a better world.
Around 1960, Bacon's popes become silent, as tragic as the screaming characters. The colors are brushed in powerful gestures that make the face unreadable and unidentifiable. He will proceed in the same way for some portraits of his friends in Soho. The throne becomes neutral but the atmosphere in red and crimson maintains the original message of political absurdity.
A Seated figure, oil on canvas 153 x 119 cm painted in 1960, was sold for $ 45M by Christie's on November 12, 2014, lot 45. This opus is directly inspired from Velazquez by the petrified position of the character and by its dominant red.
(previous sale 1960) The Princie Diamond
2013 SOLD for $ 39.3M by Christie's
This diamond has not been seen publicly since 1960. It was then bought £ 46K at auction by Van Cleef & Arpels, who named it the Princie Diamond by friendship with the young prince of Baroda.
Its true color revealed by the 2013 sale, fancy intense pink, is a pleasant surprise, because this is one of the best and rarest colors. The 24.78 carats Graff Pink, sold CHF 45.4M (1.85 million US $ per carat) by Sotheby's in 2010 has the same color.
The provenance of the Princie was not revealed in 1960. The press release from Christie's tells that the seller was the Nizam of Hyderabad himself, which supports the hypothesis that this diamond had been extracted from Golconda. Unfortunately, its VS2 clarity is not excellent. The Graff Pink, VVS2, is better by two grades.
1960 Anthropométrie de l'Epoque Bleue
2022 SOLD for £ 27M by Christie's
He is also the first artist of the void. He reaches his ultimate goal in 1959 with his empty room painted in white in Iris Clert's gallery. He had created a work of art beyond the visible.
Yves Klein is passionate about his patented IKB saturated blue which is one of his privileged accesses to the metaphysical universe. The risk from strictly monochrome works is to exclude the human beings. In 1958 at a private party, he commissioned a naked woman to coat herself in IKB and to jiggle on a canvas placed on the ground for creating a full monochrome without using a brush.
In the following year Klein watched Arman who was throwing previously inked objects on a white surface. Yves Klein again imagines replacing these objects with naked women. The process tested in 1958 is not sufficient. A private ritual invoking vital energy will motivate the performers as well as the attendants.
The first event takes place on February 23, 1960 in Klein's studio in Montparnasse. He coats with IKB his first living paintbrush, his collaborator Rotraut Uecker whom he will marry two years later. Restany, who is present, enthusiastically states : "These are the anthropométries of the blue period". Klein is delighted with this designation.
The artist perseveres. On February 27 at the same location, a photographer is invited to report. Executed on that day by Elena, a young woman who had worked au pair for Arman, the work cataloged under the reference ANT 132 is visible on the wall in several photos.
ANT 132 is made up of two well separated imprints, shifted from one another for providing an illusion of taking flight, anticipating the October 1960 selfie photomontage of the Leap into the void. This IKB on paper laid down on canvas 150 x 96 cm was sold for £ 6.3M by Sotheby's on February 11, 2020, lot 21.
On March 9, Klein applies a similar process in a gallery of the rue Saint-Honoré. In this happening for a public of guests, he appears in a tuxedo with a role of master of ceremonies and of musical conductor. The video from that event shows that several applications were needed for each woman to print her painted body on the canvas.
These new paintings are executed without a touching of the surface by the artist, like Manzoni with the Achromes. The role of the artist is to conceive and direct the creation. The later technique with a flamethrower applies a similar conception.
To realize an Anthropométrie, only the trunk and thighs are coated so that the use of a woman as a brush is not related to conscious thought. The blue shades which are left by them are an immaterial intermediary between bodily and spiritual. Klein manages to explain that his approach is not erotic despite the nudity of the models. He sees in it the expression of a primordial force freed from thought.
A few early anthropométries by Klein have the full title Anthropométrie de l'Epoque Bleue. ANT 124 is one of them. Executed in February 1960 on paper laid down on canvas, it precedes the March 9 happening that received the same title.
ANT 124 is one of the most ambitious by its size, 155 x 317 cm, by the number and position of the imprints, and by the refinement of the colors.
The eight imprints, arguably made by the same woman, form an aerial dance by their various heights on the canvas, made by changing the height of the pedestal. The ultramarine IKB imprints appear in a striking contract over a sky blue background. The effect is indeed reminiscent of La Danse by another master of the colors, Henri Matisse. The ghostly Hiroshima from 1961 also uses IKB over sky blue.
ANT 124 was sold for £ 27M by Christie's on June 28, 2022, lot 31.
Le Rose du Bleu (RE 22)
2012 SOLD for £ 23.5M by Christie's
Thus began around 1959 the series of RE (Reliefs Eponges) : transforming his panels into sculpture, the artist stages sponges and pebbles on a flat surface in a composition that remains beautifully monochrome.
In that RE series, Klein proposes a cosmic meaning. A sponge is shaped like an asteroid which was not altered by an atmosphere.
His monochromes are the elements of a trinity. His colors were the IKB, the madder pink and the gold. More appealing than the three classical primary colors, these colors express separately the properties of the universe before being mixed by the action of water and fire.
He then creates a new world full of these strange figures pushing him in the following of the mineral landscapes of Tanguy. But Tanguy died in 1955, and the space conquest had meanwhile generated its imaginary craters and lifeless rocks.
In 1961 in Krefeld, an exhibition demonstrates the clash of colors of Klein's trinity by attributing a different room to each color. Two artworks made in 1960 are particularly highlighted. Both were made in dry synthetic resin, natural sponges and pebbles on board.
The blue room is dominated by Archisponge, 200 x 165 cm, which was sold by Sotheby's in 2008.
On June 27, 2012, Christie's sold for £ 23.5M the masterpiece of the pink room, 199 x 153 x 16 cm, lot 9. Its mysterious title, Le Rose du Bleu, does not doubt the purity of the madder pigment but reveals that the artist attempts a unified vision of his Pink with the immaterial symbol of his basic Blue.
Please watch the video prepared by Christie's.
Archisponge (RE 11)
2008 SOLD for $ 21.4M by Sotheby's
This artwork on panel 200 x 165 cm executed in 1960 in IKB, sponges and pebbles had been the masterpiece of the blue room in the 1961 Krefeld exhibition. That central room was flanked by the pink and gold rooms. Le Rose du bleu, of same size and technique as the Archisponge, was the flagship the pink room.
The artist had of course be the designer of that arrangement. Nevertheless his proposal for a performance of his own Symphonie Monotone Silence during the opening day was not retained.
1960-1966 Flag by Johns
2010 SOLD for $ 28.6M by Christie's
Leo Castelli, who was the dealer for Johns, had kept a Flag of 1958. His son just sold it to Steven Cohen in a private sale for a price that could be about $ 110 million.
A Flag painted between 1960 and 1966 was sold by Christie's for $ 28.6M on May 11, 2010. Measuring 43 x 66 cm, it is twice smaller than the Castelli-Cohen specimen.
The technique of encaustic and newspaper on canvas creates a unique texture to these works, such as to fascinate the observer as much as a Rothko can do.
2015 SOLD for $ 21.4M by Christie's
At first this leads to nothing. Elaine de Kooning narrated the click. In 1948 Willem projects on a wall the image of a chair made by Franz. With the poor episcope of that time the geometry is jostled and the lines are bogged down. Franz is thrilled by this abstract projection of his ordinary figurative drawing.
Franz is neither a theoretician nor a surrealist. The lines of his projection compose a two-dimensional space to which an apparent impulse brings a three-dimensional illusion. Franz's painstaking work should not have been equated with the spontaneity of the Action painting of which he is often considered a leader. The rhythm of jazz is a fantasy that sometimes fits into his own style. On the other hand the jagged edges of his stripes bring him closer to Still and Rothko.
Steeplechase, oil on canvas 204 x 165 cm painted in 1960, was sold for $ 21.4M by Christie's on May 13, 2015, lot 45 B. Indeed a real steeplechase invoves a pattern of raised beams that was quite suitable for inspiring the artist. Some of the broad oblique black lines generated a light shadow.
2017 SOLD for $ 20M by Christie's
The worn beams in deep black of his abstract mechanics are underlined in a slightly larger scale by a subtle light gray projection that could have been generated by the outdated episcope.
In the opposite of the Steeplechase from the same year, the light projection is here clearly reconstructing the black pattern in its full form.