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

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Stadler, Paris
    Arte Nuova, Turin
    Private Collection, Milan
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “For me, the concept of abstract painting is still the primary visual challenge of our time. It might get harder and harder to make an abstract image that’s believable, but I think that just makes the challenge greater”
    Michael Goldberg

    Dating to an exciting time in abstract painter Michael Goldberg’s career, when he was highly involved in the New York avant-garde scene, House of Asher is a striking example of Godlberg’s dynamic, gestural canvasses. Having begun his artistic training at the Art Students League in New York, Michael Goldberg studied at Hans Hofmann’s School of Fine Art in the 1940s and made his first public appearance in the groundbreaking 1951 Ninth Street Show, the first comprehensive display of Abstract Expressionism. In 1957, the year the present work was painted, Goldberg was included in the Whitney’s tightly curated exhibition that recognized young artists with notable talent, Young America. In the accompanying catalogue, Goldberg humbly explained: “I’ve been painting since 1939 - but I don’t believe I painted seriously until 1950. Hans Hofmann’s environment was the most serious and influential. I’m young enough not to have to admit to myself that I have a style - but I do have an idea - of very recent origin - and a strong feeling of wanting to approach this idea in painting” (the artist, quoted in Young America 1957, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1957, p. 30).

    Painted at a time when Goldberg was refining his practice and cementing his own place in art history, House of Asher underscores the lasting influence of the older generation on his unique aesthetic. Goldberg began painting with large brushes, spatulas and trowels in the mid-1950s, allowing him to work with more speed and spontaneity. His layered, lyrical brushstrokes inspired by Pollock’s drip paintings convey his process and bring an immediate and fresh quality to his work. Goldberg also looked to Kandinsky and de Kooning for their transformation of representational subjects into abstraction, evident in the present work; in an interview in 1985 Goldberg reflected: “The biggest visual influence that I had besides Kandinsky was de Kooning… de Kooning offered a way to use Cubism and fuse it with a kind of expressionist content, rather Abstract-Expressionist content, which to people like me was very liberating” (Ellen Lee Klein, "All Kinds of Rational Questions: An Interview with Michael Goldberg," Arts Magazine, vol. 59, no. 6, February 1985, p. 81).


House of Asher

signed "Goldberg" lower center; further signed, titled and dated "GOLDBERG '57 "HOUSE OF ASHER"" on the reverse
oil on canvas
58 1/8 x 44 1/8 in. (147.5 x 112 cm.)
Painted in 1957.

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $375,000

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