tag archives: christie’s

have you ever noticed that people are mesmerized by movement?

alexander calder: performing sculpture, an exhibition at the tate modern museum in london from 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016, could be described as mesmerizing.  it’s the largest calder exhibition ever shown in great britain, with eleven galleries displaying approximately 100 works.

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alexander calder: performing sculpture | tate modern museum | london, united kingdom | 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016

saint paul’s cathedral and the millenium bridge in the background

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

american sculptor, alexander calder (1898-1976), may be best known for transforming sculpture into a kinetic art form.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | antennae with red and blue dots | hanging mobile | aluminum and steel wire | circa 1953

collection of the tate modern museum | london, united kingdom

photo credit (c) 2015 calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via BBC

his kinetic sculptures could also be described as performance art.

at the beginning of his career, calder gained fame, received introductions, and made friends through cirque calder, the miniature mechanical circus that he created and performed in paris and new york from 1926-1931.

calder’s friends included artists joan miró (1893-1983) and fernand léger (1881-1955), as well as composer edgard varèse (1883-1965).  my husband, bob, and i were captivated by calder’s three dimensional wire caricatures of them.

‘i think best in wire.’  -alexander calder

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | joan miró | wire | circa 1930

on loan from a private collection

photo credit courtesy of the calder foundation via the new centrist

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | varése | wire | 1930

on loan from the whitney museum of american art | new york, NY

photo credit (c) calder foundation via the whitney

Fernand Legersmall

alexander calder (1898-1976) | fernand léger | wire | 1930

on loan from a private collection

photo credit (c) calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via the arts desk

at the tate modern, the installation and the illumination capture the shadows cast by the suspended sculptures.

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room 3 | alexander calder: performing sculpture | tate modern museum | london, united kingdom | 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016

photo credit joe humphrys, tate photography / courtesy: calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wallpaper

calder began creating abstract sculptures, most commonly made from wire and sheet metal, following a visit to the paris studio of dutch painter piet mondrian (1872-1944) in 1930.  he began suspending his abstract sculptures, and using airflow or touch, instead of mechanics or motorization, to generate movement.  another one of his friends, artist marcel duchamp (1887-1968), called calder’s suspensions mobiles, a pun on the french words for movement and motive.

like other viewers, bob and i were magnetized by the movement of the mobiles.

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room 9 | alexander calder: performing sculpture | tate modern museum | london, united kingdom | 11 november 2015 – 3 april 2016

photo credit joe humphrys, tate photography / courtesy: calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wallpaper

some mobiles move silently.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | snow flurry I | hanging mobile | painted steel sheet and steel wire | 1948

on loan from the collection of the museum of modern art | new york, NY

photo credit (c) 2016 calder foundation, new york / artists rights society (ARS), new york via MOMA

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | gamma | hanging mobile | painted sheet metal and steel wire | 1947

on loan from the collection of jon a. shirley | seattle, WA

photo credit calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wsj

while, the movement of other mobiles creates sound.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | triple gong | hanging mobile | brass, sheet metal, wire and paint | circa 1948

on loan from the collection of the calder foundation | new york, NY

photo credit calder foundation, new york / art resource, new york / ARS, new york / DACS, london via wsj

does silence somehow seem more eloquent?

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | black widow | hanging mobile | wire and painted metal | circa 1948

on loan from the institute of architects of brazil | säo paulo, brazil

photo credit joe humphrys, tate photography / courtesy: calder foundation, new york / DACS, london via wallpaper

our visit to london conveniently coincided with the post war and contemporary art auctions, which prominently featured works by alexander calder.

the auction previews provided an opportunity to view calder’s hanging and standing mobiles more closely.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | untitled | hanging mobile | painted sheet metal and wire | 1967

sold for £962,500 (US$ $1,396,588) | lot 2 | sale 11795 | post war and contemporary art evening auction | 11 february 2016 | christie’s king street | london, united kingdom

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | crag with yellow boomerang and red eggplant | standing mobile | painted sheet metal and wire | 1974

sold for £1,874,500 (US$ 2719,900) | lot 3 | sale 11795 | post war and contemporary art evening auction | 11 february 2016 | christie’s king street | london, united kingdom

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | the black mountain | oil on canvas | 1945

sold for £602,500 (US$ 874,228) | lot 1 | sale 11795 | post war and contemporary art evening auction | 11 february 2016 | christie’s king street | london, united kingdom

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

you could say that calder performed rather well…

san francisco is such a beautiful, and easy place to live.  even so, my husband, bob, and i really miss the museum quality auction previews that we enjoyed while living in london.

so to us, christie’s @ hedge seems like a little bit of london in san francisco.

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joe bradley | tres hombres | oil, crayon, spraypaint and collage on canvas | 2011

post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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willem de kooning (1904-1997) | figures in a landscape #2 | oil on paper laid on canvas | 1976

post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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brice nauman | untitled (hand group) | phosphorous bronze | 1997

post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

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stuart davis (1892-1964) | autumn landscape | oil on canvas | 1940

post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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robert motherwell (1915-1991) | california window | acrylic on canvas | 1975

post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

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arnaldo pomodoro | sfera | bronze with lucite base | 1966

post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

christie’s @ hedge

1-5 october 2015 | hedge gallery | san francisco

highlights from the post-war and contemporary art evening sale | christie’s new york | 10 november 2015

the christie’s preview of their may 2015 new york post-war and contemporary art auctions at hedge gallery

in san francisco included some of my favorite california artists.

christie’s @ hedge

san francisco exhibition of post-war and contemporary art

16-22 april 2015 | san francisco, CA

wayne thiebaud.

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wayne thiebaud | heart ridge | oil on canvas | 1969

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 523 | estimate US$400,000-US$600,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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wayne thiebaud | interchange | oil on canvas | 1979

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art evening session | new york, NY | 13 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 21 B | estimate US$2,500,000-US$3,500,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

ruth asawa.

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ruth asawa (1926-2013) | untitled, s. 080 (hanging five-lobed continuous form within a form) | iron wire | 1950

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 521 | estimate US$700,000-US$900,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

richard diebenkorn.

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richard diebenkorn (1922-1993) | untitled | charcoal and acrylic on paper | 1978

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 529 | estimate US$500,000-US$700,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and christie’s

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richard diebenkorn (1922-1993) | untitled | acrylic and gouache on paper | 1977

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 527 | estimate US$500,000-US$700,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and christie’s

i wish that i could attend the richard diebenkorn exhibition at the royal academy of arts in london.

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richard diebenkorn | ocean park #27 | oil on canvas | 1970

photo credit (c) 2014 the richard diebenkorn foundation

richard diebenkorn

royal academy of arts | london, united kingdom

14 march-7 june 2015

when my husband, bob, and i lived in london, we really enjoyed attending the auction previews at christie’s, sotheby’s, and bonham’s in st. james’s and mayfair.  so this week, i felt like i was living in london again.  including the difficulty parking in the jackson square neighborhood of san francisco, near hedge gallery.

christie’s previewed their may 2015 new york post-war and contemporary art auctions at hedge.

christie’s @ hedge

san francisco exhibition of post-war and contemporary art

16-22 april 2015 | san francisco, CA

alexander calder and gerhard richter.

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alexander calder (1898-1976) | untitled (demi cone) | painted sheet metal and wire | 1972

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 513 | estimate US$1,200,000-US$1,800,000

alexander calder (1898-1976) | six white dots and yellow on black and red | painted sheet metal and wire | 1964

christie’s post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 415 | estimate US$550,000-US$750,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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gerhard richter | abstraktes bild | oil on canvas | 1986

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session I | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 200 | estimate US$1,500,000-US$2,000,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

robert motherwell.

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robert motherwell (1915-1991) | the blakan lute | acrylic, ink and paper collage on canvas | 1974-1975

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 568 | estimate US$500,000-US$700,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

joan mitchell.

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joan mitchell (1925-1992) | untitled | oil on canvas | 1974

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 571 | estimate US$600,000-US$800,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

another gerhard richter.

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gerhard richter | abstraktes bild | oil on canvas | 1989

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session I | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 202 | estimate US$2,000,000-US$3,000,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

but, i thought that a sculpture made from found aluminum and copper wire was the most unusual work in the exhibition.

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el anatsui | plot a plan I | found aluminum and copper wire | 2007

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session I | 14 may 2015

sale 3741 | lot 210 | estimate US$700,000-US$900,000

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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christie’s | post-war and contemporary art evening sale | sale 3740 | new york, NY | 13 may 2015

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session I | sale 3741 | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

christie’s | post-war and contemporary art day sale session II | sale 3741 | new york, NY | 14 may 2015

photo credits christie’s, christie’s, and christie’s

christie’s new york is selling an extraordinary collection of chinese furniture.

 the collection of robert hatfield ellsworth | christie’s new york | 17-21 march 2015

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the extraordinary collection of robert hatfield ellsworth includes not only chinese furniture, but also buddhist art, scholar’s objects, and contemporary paintings.

 

polychrome wood figure of a seated bodhisattva | china | song-jin dynasty (960-1234)

this sculpture greeted guests as they entered robert ellsworth’s apartment

sold for US$ 1,685,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 58

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

as well as chinese bronzes, jades, and ceramics.

gilt bronze figure of a seated bear | china | western han dynasty (206 BCE-8 CE)

one of a set of four weights, used to anchor the corners of a bamboo seating mat

sold for US$ 2,853,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 1

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

along with japanese, himalayan, indian, and southeast asian art.

 stable with fine horses | one of a pair of six panel screens | japan | edo period (17th century)

sold for US$ 509,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 45

photo credit christie’s | wsj

the ellsworth collection is the largest private collection of asian art ever sold at auction.  the 2000 object collection will be sold during six live auctions and one on line auction held from 17-21 march 2015.

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photo credits christie’s

i was thrilled that my recent trip to new york coincided with the auction preview, which is, not surprisingly, generating unprecedented crowds.  the auctions also seem to be generating unprecedented results.

robert ellsworth (1929-2014) was a prominent american asian art collector, dealer, and scholar.  he sold asian art from his 22 room new york apartment, located on fifth avenue near the metropolitan museum of art.  as an asian art dealer, ellsworth has been credited with establishing new collecting categories, such as ancient chinese jades, or chinese furniture from the ming (1368-1644) and qing (1644-1911) dynasties.  his clients included major museums, such as the met, the museum of fine arts, boston, the cleveland museum of art, the philadelphia museum of art, and the nelson-atkins museum.  plus, important private collectors, such as john d. rockefeller III, who donated his asian art collection to the asia society.

ellsworth’s publications include chinese furniture:  hardwood examples of the ming and early ch’ing dynasties, which is considered one of the chinese furniture reference books.

some of the most important pieces of chinese furniture in the ellsworth collection are huanghuali wood tables and chairs.

chinese furniture is usually categorized according to construction technique.  chinese tables usually have either corner legs or recessed legs.  corner leg tables can be either unwaisted or waisted.

huanghuali waisted rectangular corner-leg games table | china | ming dynasty (17th century)

robert ellsworth received this table as a 60th birthday gift

sold for US$ 1,205,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 44

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace, christie’s, lisa walsh | innerspace, and christie’s

chinese games tables are usually square.  this table is exceptional because it is the only known example of a rectangular games table with drawers.  the removable top and game boards are also unusual.

 recessed leg tables can have either plain or cloud shaped spandrels.

huanghuali recessed leg painting table | china | ming dynasty (17th century)

sold for US$ 3,525,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 42

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace
this painting table is exceptional because of the massive timber, generous width, and early date.

 huanghuali recessed leg table | china | ming dynasty (17th century)

sold for US$ 1,565,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 46

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace, christie’s, and lisa walsh | innerspace

chinese armchairs usually have either rectangular or round backs with either protruding or continuous crest rails.

pair of huanghuali ‘four corner exposed’ official’s hat armchairs | china | ming dynasty (17th century)

sold for US$ 2,045,000 | christie’s new york | 18 march 2015 | sale 11419 | lot 121

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and christie’s


pair of huanghuali bamboo-form continuous horseshoe-back armchairs | china | late ming-early qing dynasty (17th-early 18th century)

sold for US$ 2,629,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 47

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace, lisa walsh | innerspace, and christie’s

this pair of horseshoe back armchairs is exceptional because the chairs have continuous back rails, which are quite fragile, and therefore extremely rare.  the round members, undulating aprons, and wrap around stretchers emulate bamboo, which was a less expensive material than hardwood.

a set of four huanghuali horseshoe-back armchairs | china | ming dynasty (17th century)

sold for US$ 9,685,000 | christie’s new york | 17 march 2015 | sale 11418 | lot 41

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace
several unusual features distinguish this set of four armchairs from other horsehoe-back armchairs.

huanghuali horseshoe-back armchair | china | qing dynasty (17th-18th century)

sold for US$ 581,000 | christie’s new york | 18 march 2015 | sale 11419 | lot 139

photo credit christie’s

the extremely elegant curve of the crest rails.  the exceptional sweeping hooks of the handles.  the unusual three-part pierced backsplats.  and, the sublime grain of the wood, which suggests a mountain landscape.

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

do you think that these features make the four armchairs worth US$ 9,000,000?