Manolo Valdés - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 15, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Marlborough Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002

  • Exhibited

    New York, Marlborough Gallery, Manolo Valdés Sculptures, October 8 - November 2, 2002 (illustrated, cover)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Best known as Elvis Presley’s music publisher, Julian J. Aberbach and his wife Anne Marie amassed a remarkable collection of modern art. As the founder of the music publishing business Hill and Range, Julian J. Aberbach together with his brother Jean helped propel stars ranging from Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Edith Piaf to international fame. While working with some of the period’s most renowned musicians, each brother also began to develop lasting relationships with a number of modern and post-war visual artists around the world. Themselves the sons of a successful jeweler in Vienna, both Julian and Jean spent time in Europe throughout the 1930s, where they became acquainted with the international contemporary art scene. After the war, Julian continued to make regular trips to Europe, where he later met Anne Marie. As early as the 1950s, Julian and Annie Marie had begun to collect pictures by various artists, not least on their regular trips to Europe.

    It was these worldly adventures that gave both Julian and Anne Marie a uniquely discerning taste in art that expanded far beyond the domestic scene in the United States. This international and varied spirit of collecting is evident in the following group of four works by Manolo Valdés, featuring two of his tactile burlap paintings and two female bust sculptures rendered in bronze and steel. Each of these works was acquired by Julian and Anne Marie in the years soon after their creation, between 2001 and 2002, both in New York and in Madrid. It is perhaps the same personal creativity exhibited by the Aberbachs throughout their collecting endeavors that is found in the work of Valdés. A Valencia-born multi-disciplinary artist known for his unique contemporary voice in a sea of art historical influences, Valdés venerated many of the artists with whom both Julian and Anne Marie were most familiar with throughout their time in pre-war Europe.

    While each of the following four lots feature female portraits in traditional formats done in both two and three dimensions, the works also reflect the technical abstraction for which Valdés is known. In both Retrato de Dorothy IV and Retrato con Verde, Ocre y Blanco, Valdés builds his portraits in layers of burlap covered in vibrant swaths of impasto paint, resulting in two richly textured figurative compositions. Similarly, in Katia II and Ivonne II, the artist has employed the traditional female bust format in a uniquely textured bronze surface with projections and recessions, abstracting the sculptural features of the figures. In Katia II, Valdés has even incorporated industrial painted steel to create a large headdress for the figure which extends far beyond the confines of the bust format. The planes of the steel extend out from the head of the figure, while the bust itself stands on a tall, narrow plinth that confronts the viewer near eye-level. Both Katia II and Ivonne II were exhibited in Marlborough Gallery’s exhibition of the artist’s sculptures in 2002, while Retrato de Dorothy IV was exhibited a year prior in a show of Valdés’s recent works in Madrid. These works were hand-picked by Julian and Anne Marie for their unique place in the trajectory of 20th Century art, and have been in the Aberbachs’ private collection since their acquisition, each a masterful example of the formal qualities for which Manolo Valdés is known.

Property from the Estate of Mrs. Anne Marie Aberbach


Katia II

incised with the artist's initials and inscription "MV K II" on the reverse of the base of the bust
bronze with dark green patina and painted steel
72 x 22 x 29 in. (182.9 x 55.9 x 73.7 cm.)
Executed in 2002, this work is unique.

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $150,000

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale - Morning Session

New York Auction 15 November 2017