Back to School with Editions in London

Back to school, back to work and back to the rostrum. Our London team browses the first auction of the season, Evening & Day Editions, to find a piece based on everyone's favorite school subject.

Back to school, back to work and back to the rostrum. Our London team browses the first auction of the season, Evening & Day Editions, to find a piece based on everyone's favorite school subject.

Detail from Alighiero Boetti's Nove Quadrati (Nine Squares), 1979


Robert Rauschenberg Signs, 1970

Originally designed for a magazine cover, Robert Rauschenberg's Signs pays homage to the tumultuous events of the 1960s. Rauschenberg said the print "was conceived to remind us of [the] love, terror and violence of the last ten years" and it questions news coverage surrounding the moon landing and other major pop cultural events. Posits Rauschenberg, were the feats of the Space Race of greater importance than the tragic assassinations portrayed within the same print?

Andy Warhol Alexander the Great, 1982

It comes as no surprise that Andy Warhol looked back as far as Alexander the Great in searching for famous faces and subject matters to depict in his signature Pop style. Alexander was a celebrity in his own right while ruling the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. In fact, it is said that when the legendary Julius Caesar read about this Macedonian King, he was brought to tears because he paled in comparison.



Salvador Dalí Hommage à la médecine (Tribute to Medicine), Vesalius (Vesalius), 1973

A common feature of Salvador Dalí's work, the empty heart typically symbolizes "open-heartedness" and is usually seen in conjunction with an empty head to symbolize "open-mindedness." Considering the print is dedicated to a sixteenth-century Flemish anatomist and physician, perhaps Dalí is recognizing the use of scientific medicine for all ailments but those of the heart.

Damien Hirst Andromeda, 2018 

A burst of color, Andromeda by Damien Hirst pays tribute to the next closest galaxy to the Milky Way. From the artist's Veils series, we're invited to immerse ourselves in the pastel colorway in search of what lies behind and beyond that which we know and understand.



Sol LeWitt Forms Derived from a Cubic Rectangle: Plate #01, 1990

Sol LeWitt's series of etchings and aquatints of perfectly formed shapes is reminiscent of our maths and geometry lessons as students. This lot in the Day portion of our Editions sale takes us back to classes when we would painstakingly cut and fold plain white paper into a collection of nets and glue them together to form three-dimensional objects. If only we could achieve LeWitt's harmonic perfection.



David Hockney Pool Made with Paper and Blue Ink for Book, from Paper Pools, 1980

Though many memories of swimming lessons at school centered around awkward-fitting swimsuits and goggle marks around the eyes, there were times during London's recent summer heatwave when we wanted nothing more than to jump into one of David Hockney's clear, refreshing swimming pools.

Jeff Koons GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali (Champ's edition) book; with Radial Champs, 2004

Perhaps boxing was your sport, in which case there is rarely a need to look further than Muhammad Ali, depicted here by Jeff Koons. A dedication to 'The Greatest', what better way to honor one of the most significant and celebrated sportsmen of all time?

Katherine Bernhardt Cheeseburger Deluxe, 2016 

Everyone loves a "cheat meal" after some strenuous physical exercise, and that cheeseburger craving is depicted in this work from Katherine Bernhardt's series of Pattern Paintings. The gentle-yet-expressive color palette and familiar imagery is a welcoming example of Bernhardt's use of everyday items as subject matter—in this case, sports trainers and burgers. Was that the bell for lunch?



Salvador Dalí Head of Dante, 1964

Dante's Divine Comedy describes the author's eventful journey through Hell, which is perhaps why Dalí has clothed Dante with Gnostic spoons, representative of early Christian movements and his exploration of related themes throughout his poetry. Considered to be one of the most important poets of all time, Dante is adorned in a crown of spoons, representing him as the King of Medieval literature.



Jenny Holzer AKA, 2006

Based on a group of heavily redacted pages from the FBI's investigative notes on British author George Orwell, AKA contradicts Holzer's usual focus on the surplus of information targeted to the public on a daily basis. Despite Orwell's novels being famously anti-communist and anti-fascist, the FBI suspected Orwell of being a Communist and therefore a threat to the American government. AKA explores the irony of a government's analysis of the small details of a man's life and the corresponding censorship of this information from the American public.

William Kentridge Telephone Lady, 2000

Growing up in a household of civil rights lawyers undoubtedly influenced William Kentridge and the subject matter he went on to portray through art, and this is particularly evident in Telephone Lady. Our metamorphic subject's legs are about to leap across the sheet, perhaps reminiscent of a Zulu dancer, and yet the female form ends at the waist as the head is replaced by a telephone. The telephone devours the woman's identity, denying her sight and voice, an echo of the lack of freedom of speech during the apartheid regime.



David Hockney Ten Palm Trees in the Mist, 1973

They say the British fixate on the weather, and it appears as though David Hockney is no stranger to this pastime. Inspired by Impressionist paintings and Japanese woodcuts, Hockney set out to portray the range of atmospheric conditions he experienced while living in Los Angeles, perhaps most surprisingly of the typically tropical palm trees against a gloomy mist.



David Hockney For John Constable, 1976

Here, Hockney steps away from his typical subject matter of life in Southern California. He joined forces with 18 other artists to pay tribute to the great British landscape artist John Constable.

Andy Warhol Madonna & Self-Portrait with Skeleton Arm (after Munch), 1984

There are parallels between the two artists' work that stretch further than Warhol's use of Edvard Munch's imagery. Each artist favors depictions of their subjects in an often haunting manner that confront the viewer face-on. Here, Warhol has taken two of Munch's most iconic portraits and given them the classic Pop treatment.



Richard Hamilton La Scala Milano, 1968

Often credited with setting the scene for the Pop movement, Richard Hamilton explored the combination of fine art, product design and popular culture. Here, the scale and prestige of La Scala opera house in Milan is portrayed with touches of color, producing a Pop take on what is otherwise a classically themed venue.

Hernan Bas They Can Bring the Curtain Down, 2010

Before we know it, the end of the term will be on the horizon and our stomachs will be filled with school play butterflies. As we sneak a peek behind the curtain to see the selection of performers prepare for the stage, this set of engravings by Hernan Bas perfectly portrays the anxious wait behind the scenes with elaborate costumes and temperamental scenery.