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 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 $15.76 million in 2010. pic.twitter.com/SrYAaAFw7o— GIA (@GIAnews) December 1, 2017
1972 The Winning Porsche of the Can-Am
2012 SOLD 5.8 M$ 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.
1972 The Landscape of the Night
2018 SOLD for $ 4.45M including premium
Raza expresses the mystery of the soil, like Pollock. In the early 1970s he dares to address the dangers of the night. On March 21 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 222 Tapovan, acrylic on canvas 160 x 189 cm painted in 1972.
Tapovan is a Sanskrit word used in yoga, mixing the ideas of meditation and forest. Glowing red areas and bright yellow sparks dot the night scene. A careful inspection suggests the appearance of faces within flames and embers, not without evoking the expressive schematization of his fellow F.N. Souza.
If this interpretation is correct, it is exceptionally rare in Raza's usually dehumanized art and brings Tapovan closer to the primordial questions of the wild tribes and of Gauguin : D'où venons-nous ? Qui sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous ? And also : who are these spirits of the night ?
La Terre, acrylic on canvas 189 x 189 cm painted in the following year, is also an explosion of lights in the night but nearer to full abstraction. It was sold for $ 3.1M including premium by Christie's on March 18, 2014.
Raza will soon find an answer to this anxiety. An admirer of Rothko, he will systematize the inclusion of his abstract forms into a structure which in his case begins as a window. He abandons the night but not the ground and gives in the later phases of his career the main role to the essential form, the bindu.
Tapovan had been sold for $ 1.47M including premium by Sotheby's on March 29, 2006.
1972 Series of 10 Mao Prints by Warhol
2012 SOLD for £ 1.6M including premium by Sotheby's
1972 The Last Winner in Group 7
2014 SOLD 2.16 M$ including premium
Even more than Formula 1, Group 7 offered the showcase of the technological improvements. In 1972, the competition opposed the Porsche 917/10 succeeding 917 and 917/20 and the McLaren M20 succeeding the M8.
The M20 innovated especially in its cooling system by installing two side equipment instead of a central fan. This trick had two incentives. The flat nose was favorable for aerodynamics and the driving comfort was improved by the lowered heat in the cockpit.
These races involved prototypes that could not be applied to production models. McLaren has only produced three M20 cars. This model was their ultimate in that category as the brand decided to stop its direct involvement in the Can-Am after the 1972 season. Porsche will continue for one year with the unrivaled 917/30.
The M20-1 was driven by Peter Revson throughout the 1972 season, then by private pilots after the withdrawal of the McLaren Group 7 team. It won the very last official Can-Am race in Group 7 at Road America in Wisconsin in 1974.
This car is for sale by Mecum in Monterey on August 16, lot S170. It is introduced in the article shared by Sports Car Digest.
POST SALE COMMENT
The M20 was sold for $ 2M before fees. It is far behind its best competitor from Porsche, a 917/10 of the same year that sold for $ 5.5 million before fees on August 18, 2012 at the same auction house.
1972 Ten Mao's for China
2010 SOLD 6.6 MHK$ including premium
The art market is turning to China: to Hong Kong where the international auction groups deploy their expertise for several years, and to Beijing where the now intense activity is still a bit tight for Westerner commentators.
Relations between China and the rest of the world is a theme in itself. Christie's is at ease and made the right choice by highlighting a copy of Mao portfolio by Andy Warhol, estimated HK $ 3 million, for sale in Hong Kong on May 29.The press is alerted, and awaits with interest the outcome. See as an example the article shared by Telegraph, where 6 of the 10 prints are illustrated.
Let us go now into Warholian history: Most characters of his portrait gallery of celebrities have been the subject of portfolios, where the same image is repeated in different colors. In 1967, this new art form invented by Warhol reaches success with the Marilyn Monroe, consisting of 10 prints 91 x 91 cm in an issue of 250 portfolios.
In 1972, Warhol considers the most powerful statesman on Earth, Mao, the Great Helmsman. The Mao set is on the same format as the Marilyn and also composed of 10 images, but only 50 portfolios have been produced.
The number 12, complete in its original box, was sold 825 K £ including premium at Christie's on October 16, 2007.The copy for Hong Kong, also complete with its box, is the number 10.
POST SALE COMMENT
The art market is global. Sold 6.6 MHK $ including premium, the Mao portfolio surpasses its conservative estimate and reaches a price within the normal range of the international market.