Property from the Miles & Shirley Fiterman Collection
95 Works by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Calder, Hockney, Motherwell, and More to Be Offered Throughout the Year in New York, London, & Hong Kong,Expected to Realize in Excess of $60 Million
NEW YORK - 3 APRIL 2019 – Phillips is pleased to offer for sale Property from the Miles & Shirley Fiterman Collection across the auction house’s salerooms in New York, London, and Hong Kong. The Evening and Day Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art in New York on 15-16 May will be the first auctions to feature these works, with sales taking place throughout 2019 and concluding with the Hong Kong auctions in November. Among the highlights are works by Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, David Hockney, Robert Motherwell, Joan Miró and more. Ninety-five works by Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary masters are expected to realize in excess of $60 million.
Robert Manley and Jean-Paul Engelen, Phillips’ Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said, “Miles and Shirley Fiterman have assembled an extraordinary collection that incorporates the very best examples across a breadth of artistic movements. Their vision and discerning eye helped to shape the course of the art historical canon of the 20th century, as they championed artists such as Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and helped museums to acquire and exhibit challenging works of art. The works being offered at Phillips this year are a testament to their keen connoisseurship and adventurous spirit.”
Over the course of their life together, Miles and Shirley Fiterman dedicated themselves to helping others. Miles was a businessman from Minneapolis, where he grew his local garage into a national pre-cut housing company after World War II, allowing people across the country to build their own homes. Inspired by their passionate and sustained engagement with modern and contemporary art, the Fitermans developed their remarkable collection throughout their lives in Minnesota, Palm Beach and New York. Ever since they began collecting in the early 1960s, the Fitermans distinguished themselves with a unique vision and an engaged approach.
Their numerous philanthropic initiatives include Miles’ founding of the Ulcerative Colitis Foundation, grants to the American Gastroenterological Association and an endowment to the Mayo Clinic, and the gift of a 15-story art deco building to the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. He also sat on the boards of the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute, and the Norton Museum.
One of the most seminal groups of Pop Art to be collected in the United States, The Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection bears witness to the explosive art scene of the early 1960s. The Fitermans began collecting in earnest at the dawn of this revolutionary cultural era, assembling one of the most comprehensive collections of works by Pop masters Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein ever to come to market. They also acquired many iconic works shortly after their creation, including David Hockney’s Study for Parade, 1981, Donald Judd’s Untitled, 1970, and Andy Warhol’s David Hockney, 1974.
Collectors in the truest sense, the Fitermans offered tremendous support to those they collected, working closely with artists to promote them and helping museums to acquire and exhibit challenging work. In the course of their remarkable journey of collecting, they forged close relationships with the artists they supported, the dealers with whom they worked, as well as the museum directors and curators of the institutions they passionately supported through philanthropic contributions. Gallerists Gordon Locksley and George Shea facilitated their acquisition of several significant pieces, including Roy Lichtenstein’s Modern Painting, 1967. This work, along with the important Horse and Rider, 1976, anchor a comprehensive and diverse group of works by Lichtenstein that were acquired by the Fitermans. Horse and Rider pays homage to the earlier breakthrough movement of Futurism and points the way forward in a bold contemporary manner that continues to influence artists today. Lichtenstein conceived of only two paintings exploring the horse and rider subject matter, the other of which is held in the permanent collection of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna. Inspired by works by Carlo Carrà and Umberto Boccioni, Lichtenstein’s rendition is a pop art icon.
Coming on the heels of the major Andy Warhol retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Phillips is delighted to offer a representative group of some of the most iconic images by the artist, including Two Coke Bottles, 1962, and 9 Flowers, 1964. Also included in the sale is Soup Can, 1962, which was acquired from Gordon Locksley, who introduced Miles and Shirley Fiterman to Warhol when he first visited Minneapolis in the 1960s. This meeting inaugurated a long-lasting friendship, evident in their decision to acquire a selection of Warhol’s portraits, including David Hockney, 1974, and Roy Lichtenstein, 1976.
The same bold spirit they cherished in Pop Art is found in the abstract art they collected, including the colorful and inventive works by Alexander Calder, Robert Motherwell and Joan Miró. The auction will also feature a monumental Calder hanging mobile, Black Gamma Mobile, 1966, and a large-scale bronze sculpture, Conque, 1969, by Surrealist master Joan Miró, both originating from Galerie Maeght in Paris. The luminous Open No. 119: In Blue with Charcoal Line, 1969-1972, by Robert Motherwell was acquired closer to home via John C. Stoller Gallery in Minneapolis.
Many of the works offered from the collection were exhibited throughout the 1970s and 1980s at the Midwestern institutions of which the Fitermans served as patrons, including the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Additionally, many works were loaned to the Norton Gallery School of Art in West Palm Beach once they moved to the nearby Town of Palm Beach in the 1990s. With a selection of artworks only seen at institutions such as these, many of the works from the collection have not been on view publicly since their acquisition.