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 Mao by WARHOL
After 1964 Warhol significantly reduces his activity as a painter to try to become an idol for others through show business and movies. 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. He leaves the figure of the U.S. President totally away from his new project.
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.
Although his Mao's are a pastiche of the official image and may therefore hit the Chinese sensibilities, Warhol is in this series a rather impartial observer of the Cultural Revolution, of Soviet style imaging, of the almost octogenarian face of the Great Helmsman and of the inevitable Mao collar designed as a challenge of the proletarians against the Western tie.
2015 SOLD for $ 48M by Sotheby's
2017 SOLD for $ 32.4M by Sotheby's
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.
On November 16, 2017, Sotheby's sold for $ 32.4M a Mao 208 x 152 cm, lot 45.
2006 SOLD for $ 17.4M by Christie's
1972 Clamdigger by de Kooning
2014 SOLD for $ 29.3M by Christie's
In 1969, during a stay in Italy, he went to be a sculptor. His style is figurative without being realistic, in the follow of Boccioni. The limbs are extended or shortened. The kneading of the clay is hectic, after Giacometti. Both liked the capability of the clay to be broken and reworked up to the final satisfaction, which is not the case in painting.
Again like Giacometti, de Kooning's world is dominated by the figures of a man and a woman. Giacometti had the Homme qui marche and the Femme debout. De Kooning had the Clamdigger and the Seated Woman. De Kooning's expression of the relation between body and movement was lauded by Henry Moore.
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 was enlarged in bronze in 1972 in seven copies plus three artist's proofs 1.51 m high. On November 12, 2014, Christie's sold for $ 29.3M the artist's proof that de Kooning had installed at the entrance to his studio, lot 21. The statue had remained up to that sale with his descendants.
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 sold this composite jewel for $ 15.7M on October 20, 2010
In May 2010, a Toi et moi ring consisting of a blue diamond of 5.02 carats and a colorless diamond of 5.42 carats was sold for CHF 7M by Sotheby'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.
1972 Ominous Land by Guston
2021 SOLD for $ 9.5M by Sotheby's
A world that did not eradicate the Ku Klux Klan is full of many threats including the horrible wars of the 20th century accompanied by dictatorships and unrest. He paints cartoonish forms in a reduced palette of bright colors.
Ominous Land, painted in 1972, gathers three of Guston's recurring symbols in fleshy pink, mauve, red and orange.
The radiant sun cannot be joyous when it falls on a devastation, symbolized by an entanglement of human legs and shoe soles. This stack is observed by a typical hood of the Klan. The title is significant.
Ominous Land, oil on canvas 183 x 206 cm, was sold for $ 9.5M from a lower estimate of $ 6M by Sotheby's on November 18, 2021, lot 105.