1972 A Nest for Two Boys
2018 SOLD for $ 90M including premium
David sees by chance on the floor of his studio the conjunction of two photographs that can constitute a scene : a swimmer under water and a standing boy watching something in the distance. The relationship between two men has always been one of his favorite themes. He has just found a way to express his affair with Peter.
It is not so easy for this hypersensitive artist. He destroys a first version. The sudden break between the lovers occurs around that time. In the spring of 1972 David leaves with two assistants to take photographs in a house of director Tony Richardson named Le Nid du Duc in the countryside above Saint-Tropez. During the summer of 1969 David and Peter had spent a few happy days at that place.
A photograph of the swimmer suits him. It will not be a self-portrait in the picture. For the properly dressed observer who will be standing up by the pool, he finds in his archives some photographs of the real Peter, as if David now agreed to entrust Peter to an unidentifiable swimmer.
The acrylic on canvas 213 x 305 cm painted in 1972 is titled Portrait of an Artist and subtitled Pool with Two Figures. The swimmer is under water and Peter is at the edge of the pool. Although Peter's gaze is directed towards the swimmer, communication between them is impossible.
In 1974 a biopic titled A Bigger Splash tells the story of the breaking up of David and Peter. David plays his own role. The film incorporates sequences that had been shot during the preparation of the Portrait of an Artist. The mix of emotion and real intimacy makes A Bigger Splash a cult film of the gay communities, to the point of shocking David himself. He will change his mind later.
This painting will be sold by Christie's in New York on November 15 as lot 9 C. The press release of September 13 announces an estimate in the region of $ 80M. Please watch the video prepared by the auction house including sequences from the movie.
The low resolution image is shared by Wikimedia for fair use.
1972 From Marilyn to Mao
2015 SOLD for $ 48M including premium
After 1964 Warhol significantly reduces his activity as a painter to try to become an idol for others through the show business. It was not his best idea. His trend toward the underground went against such a purpose and his temperament certainly did not favor his acceptance in the jet set.
Pushed by Bischofberger, Warhol is back to painting in 1972. He needs a new star able to match Marilyn. He hesitates on Einstein and chooses Mao.
Mao by Warhol is an American political message. Nixon announced his candidacy for a presidential re-election just before his trip to China. When shaking hands with Mao, Nixon appears as a statesman of the same importance as the Great Helmsman. This does not please Warhol.
As for Marilyn, Warhol chooses an ancient image. Unlike Marilyn, Mao's image was universally known before Warhol reused it : held up since 1949 by millions of Chinese, it illustrates the Little Red Book. It is a thorn to Nixon : watch this undemocratic idol that Americans are now invited to admire. In five sizes and all colors, the Maos of Warhol, in their official dignity, do not express any feeling.
Warhol is still working in screen print and acrylic, but his technique has changed. The brushstroke is visible, contributing to the energy of the artwork. Again, Warhol was wrong. This new process is taking too long and his art is gradually less cared when he extends the series.
The first Mao by Warhol, achieved without the help of an assistant, is indeed the best painting in that theme. This picture 208 x 145 cm is for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 11, lot 11(11-11-11). The press release of October 2 announced an estimate in the region of $ 40M.
1972 A Tri-Colored Mao
2017 SOLD for $ 32.4M including premium
Andy chooses the only picture in the world that has been distributed in hundreds of millions of copies : the official three-color portrait of Mao Zedong which among other uses illustrates the Little Red Book. Mao succeeded for the popular imagery the unlimited multiplication that Andy had dreamed with his Marilyn's. The historic handshake between Mao and Nixon early in the same year may be just a coincidence.
Andy painted eleven similar Mao's in 1972, 208 cm high with a slightly variable width. The lines and the proportions in relation to the frame are comparable to the official image with the exception of the shadow that invades the left cheek and the chin. The artist changed the color of the tunic and of the background.
A brilliant and carefully executed picture considered as the prototype of that series, 208 x 145 cm, was sold for $ 48M including premium by Sotheby's on November 11, 2015. A Mao 208 x 155 cm was sold for $ 17.4M including premium by Christie's on November 15, 2006. On November 16 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Mao 208 x 152 cm, lot 45 estimated $ 30M.
In the following year Warhol multiplies his Mao's with smaller formats and new color variants. Mao's head, proportionally smaller, has lost the dignity of the official portrait. One of them with a dark red tunic and a black background was sold for $ 13.5M including premium by Phillips de Pury on November 15, 2012 and for $ 14.5M including premium by Sotheby's on May 12, 2015.
1972 De Kooning kneads the Man in his Own Image
2014 SOLD for $ 29.3M including premium
Suddenly in 1969, de Kooning decided to become a sculptor. He kneaded the clay with energy and passion, creating a turbulent texture reminiscent of Giacometti. His first theme remains his masterpiece as a sculptor : the Clamdigger.
The Clamdigger is searching in sand to extract the shells. His gesture gathers the symbols of creation: sea water, clay, primitive animal, man. It has even been suggested that the Clamdigger by de Kooning is a self-portrait. The texture mimics the lapping waves.
This sculpture 1.51 m high was edited in bronze in 1972 in seven copies plus three artist's proofs. On November 12 in New York, Christie's sells the artist's proof that de Kooning had installed at the entrance to his studio. The statue remained up to now with his descendants. It is estimated $ 25M, lot 21.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's.
1972 George in Movement
2018 SOLD for £ 20M including premium
The body and soul of the deceased are lost forever but the memory remains, threatened by oblivion. A triptych preserved at the Tate Gallery shows the man amputated of various organs before his collapse on the central panel.
On October 4 in London, Christie's sells Figure in Movement, oil on canvas 198 x 148 cm painted in 1972, lot 7 estimated £ 15M.
George is seen from behind, nude, without amputation, standing contorted on the tip of a foot. The title is ambiguous : by nature a dead does not move. A cheek is pressed against a newspaper illustrated by Letraset that he does not look at, as if he was desperately trying to stay in a present that no longer concerns him.
The overall composition seems simple but it is actually populated with symbols, easier to describe than to interpret.
The empty room can be the studio of a photographer : the character is enclosed in a filiform cage, as for the staging of an ephemeral moment or for the preview of a framing. This idea had already been used by the artist, for example in the three images of the triptych portrait of Lucian Freud in 1969.
The present is actually impossible to capture. On the floor next to the cage, a page of the same newspaper is shredded.
The body is illuminated from above, casting a black shadow on the ground. In other artworks like the Study for Portrait painted in 1977, the shadow takes on the recognizable silhouette of Francis Bacon himself. The artist is thus associated in a dematerialized form with the deceased.
The painting is executed in a very thick impasto, almost a sculpture. By kneading his pigments, Bacon offers his only method to create something that is akin to life : his art.
1972 Boccioni's Man
2019 SOLD for $ 16.2M including premium
In the following year, a group of young artists publishes another manifesto to apply these new ideas to painting. Umberto Boccioni is the theoretician of the group. Perhaps he appreciates that the expression of movement through painting is too difficult for the public. The centipede dog created by Balla in 1912 is a bit ridiculous.
Without neglecting the Futurist painting, Boccioni is now interested in sculpture, which he had never practiced before. He publishes solo in April 1912 a Manifesto tecnico della scultura futurista. He is also inspired by the Cubist fragmentations by Picasso and Duchamp-Villon.
Boccioni makes in 1913 three studies in plaster in which the movement is illustrated by a muscular extension. He then creates a man on the move which is a synthesis of his theories. For marking how much his approach is an incentive for a new art, he titles this figure Forme uniche della continuita nello spazio.
The Forme uniche has remained the only important sculpture by Boccioni, the artist who went too fast, died trampled by a horse in 1916. It expresses an extreme human energy while abandoning realism, and opens the way to Giacometti, Moore and also to the successive transformations of Matisse's Nu de dos and the humanoid robots of the movies. It was chosen in 1998 to illustrate the Italian coin of 20 cents of euro.
The four seminal sculptures by Boccioni were not edited during his lifetime. The first three were destroyed in 1927. The Forme uniche survived. Two bronzes were created in 1931. One of them brings a refinement, a pedestal under each foot, which still increases the extreme dynamism of the figure. This configuration was cast in ten units in 1972.
A 117 cm high bronze with a gold patina from the 1972 edition is estimated $ 3.8M for sale by Christie's in New York on November 11, lot 18 A. Despite its importance in the history of modern sculpture, this figure is extremely rare on the art market : no example had been offered at auction since 1975.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
1972 The Bulgari Blue
2010 SOLD 15.7 M$ including premium
One of them, weighing 10.95 carats, is blue, in the prestigious certified Fancy Vivid Blue color. The other is colorless, weighing 9.87 carats. These two triangular diamonds were arranged symmetrically on both sides of the ring by Bulgari in Rome.
Christie's sells this jewel on October 20 in New York, and hopes it will exceed $ 12M.
This price is fair, since the best color diamonds start being recorded beyond the million dollars per carat.
Last May, I followed (without writing an article) a Toi et moi ring consisting of a blue diamond of 5.02 carats and a colorless diamond of 5.42 carats. This jewel was sold CHF 7M including premium by Sotheby's in Geneva.
POST SALE COMMENT
The market for high quality jewelry got the same vigour as before the crisis. Sold $ 15.7 million including premium, the Bulgari Blue even slightly exceeded the expectations expressed by Christie's.
#FunFact: Only one in 10,000 carats of diamonds displays a fancy color, making them among the most rare and costly of all gems. The “BVLGARI Blue” ring featuring a 10.95 ct Fancy Vivid blue #diamond and a 9.87 ct G-color diamond sold for $15.76 million in 2010. pic.twitter.com/SrYAaAFw7o— GIA (@GIAnews) December 1, 2017
1582-1972 Peregrination of a Pearl
2011 SOLD 11.8 M$ including premium
It entered in 1582 into the Spanish royal collection, where it was considered as the biggest pearl in the world. Pear-shaped, it was then weighing 223 grains.
Mary I of England, wife of Philip II of Spain, used it very elegantly as a pendant to a brooch. Philip IV of Spain preferred it as a hat pin. It went to France during the Spanish war of Joseph Bonaparte, and Napoleon III sold it to the English aristocracy.
This wandering pearl has been known for two centuries under the name La Peregrina. It lost twenty grains when it was reworked to improve the security of its setting.
Richard Burton bought it in 1969 at Sotheby's auction as a gift to Elizabeth Taylor.
It was mounted as pendant in a pearl necklace that did not please its new owners. Burton and Taylor then made designed by Cartier in 1972 the magnificent necklace of pearls, rubies and diamonds, where it is again hanging as pendant.
This necklace, estimated $ 2M, is for sale on December 13 in New York by Christie's., lot 12.
POST SALE COMMENT
This is a new successful step in the fabulous history of the pearl. Sold $ 11.8 million including premium, its necklace achieved the highest result in one of the best jewelry sales in auction history: total $ 116M including premium for only 80 lots.
1627-1628 Indian inscribed diamond in a 1972 necklace assembly by Cartier
2011 SOLD for $ 8.8M including premium by Christie's
1972 The Winning Porsche of the Can-Am
2012 SOLD 5.8 M$ including premium
And indeed the car for sale in Monterey on August 18 by Mecum had won the best track record of the Porsche 917 model.
In 1972, Porsche subcontracted to Penske Racing the participation in the competitions. Their goal to dominate the prestigious series of events known as the Can-Am (Canadian American Challenge Cup) met a total success.
Driven alternately by the two Penske drivers, George Follmer and Mark Donohue, this serial number 917/10-003 actually won in 1972 no fewer than five of nine races counted for the Can-Am.
Porsche engineers could do better, and they did. Prepared in 1973, the Porsche 917/30 Spyder was later elected by a committee of experts as the greatest racing car of all time. One of the four cars of this model was sold $ 4.4 million including premium by Gooding on March 9, 2012.
I wrote at that time that the overwhelming success of the Porsche 917 had killed the suspense in the Can-Am events. This is not the only reason for the ephemeral career of the 917: the oil crisis also forced the organizers of car racings to cut the costs.
I invite you to play the video introducing the 917/10-003, shared on YouTube by Mecum.
POST SALE COMMENT
Top collectors are finally starting to pay attention to these remarkable cars of the early 1970s, just before the oil crisis. The exceptional prestige of this unit pushed it up to $ 5.5 million, hammer price.
1972 Farewell to New York by Yayoi Kusama
2017 SOLD for HK$ 42M including premium
The very long stay of the artist in New York is a continuous attempt to escape the common fate. She imagines and realizes many happenings at the extreme limits of decency and even beyond.
She is in contact with the avant-gardes. Donald Judd is enthusiastic about her graphic minimalism. She admires the use of ordinary objects of chance by Joseph Cornell who manages an exception to his lonely habits for maintaining with her a daily and platonic relationship which is beneficial to the creativity of both artists. Yayoi Kusama covers with her dots various artefacts as well as the naked bodies of the participants of her performances and uses mirrors to display the infinity.
On September 30 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 107 x 92 cm painted by Yayoi Kusama in 1972, lot 1067estimated HK $ 32M. This artwork is an unexpected return to her obsession with the infinity nets but can also be considered as a new prototype by its use of multiple colors.
After 14 years of overwork in New York the artist is exhausted. The sudden death of Cornell on December 29, 1972 completes the ruin of her fragile world. She returns to Japan in the following year. Her voluntary residence since 1977 in a hospital for the mentally ill protects her against her desire for excessive performance without reducing her graphic creativity.
Yayoi Kusama succeeded in making the public enjoy her offbeat vision of the universe.