Phillips Announces Highlights from the
20th Century & Contemporary Art Sales in
London on 29 and 30 June
Estimate: £3,000,000 - 4,000,000
LONDON – 15 JUNE 2022 – Phillips is pleased to announce highlights ahead of the 20th Century & Contemporary Art sales in London this month. Seminal works by the likes of Cy Twombly, Louise Bourgeois and Nicolas de Staël sit alongside emerging and contemporary stars Simone Leigh, George Condo and Flora Yukhnovich. The Evening Sale will take place on 30 June at 4pm BST, after the Day Sale on 29 June at 1pm BST.
Olivia Thornton, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe, said, “These sales showcase many international names from both emerging and established markets, reflecting current collecting tastes across the 20th and 21st centuries. Season after season, Phillips commits to bringing women artists as leading highlights of our sales, and this month is no exception. We are proud to spotlight cutting-edge British names including Antonia Showering, Caroline Walker, Issy Wood and Flora Yukhnovich, as well as blue-chip artists Louise Bourgeois and Carmen Herrera, among many others.”
Cy Twombly’s untitled work from 1962 leads the sale and is a powerful demonstration of his uniquely calligraphic and gestural visual language developed around this time. The inclusion of textural fragments related to Roman gods Mars and Venus offer a narrative anchor, drawing on associations with Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the passionate indiscretions of the Gods. Highly representative of Twombly’s so-called ‘Baroque’ paintings from this period, Untitled juxtaposes the ancient and the modern, often alluding to overlaid graffiti that he found scrawled over Roman ruins.
Further seminal works by artists working in Europe include Georg Baselitz’s Ohne Titel (Landschaft). Capturing some of the central concerns of this post-war generation of German artists, Baselitz sought ways to see the world differently, and to confront the collective trauma of Germany’s recent past. Executed in 1970 and depicting an inverted landscape combining dense foliage and more industrial imagery, the present work is an important, early example of this defining shift in the artist’s practice.
Ohne Titel (Landschaft), 1970
Estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000
A stunning and deeply affecting portrait of a young, Black woman, her head crowned in tightly inlaid black roses, Clarendon is an exquisite example of American artist Simone Leigh’s investigation into Black history and femininity. Referencing a hugely significant moment in 20th century American history and the struggle for Civil Rights, the title of the present work takes its name from Clarendon County in South Carolina, where the fight against school segregation first took shape in the late 1940’s. This year, Leigh made history as the first Black woman to represent the United States at La Venezia Biennale, where she was awarded the much-coveted Golden Lion for her presentation in the Arsenale. Leigh will open her first museum survey at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art in 2023.
Estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000
Nicolas de Staël’s Marine, executed in 1954 at the height of his career and just one year before his tragic death, captures his pioneering visual language. One of the most influential painters working in post-war France, de Staël refused to occupy the position of either abstract or figurative painter, and Marine is a serene example of this reconciliation between the two.
Nicolas de Staël
Estimate: £1,700,000 - 2,200,000
Young British female artists are represented throughout the sale. Moi aussi je déborde by Flora Yukhnovich is an energetic expression of her immediately recognisable blend of Rococo aesthetics and contemporary cultural references. Executed in 2017, the same year as her pivotal graduate show at City & Guilds London School of Art, Moi aussi je déborde captures an important early moment in the consolidation of her practice. Placing notions of femininity and questions surrounding female sexuality, pleasure, and the male gaze at its centre, Moi aussi je déborde belongs to a body of work concerned with reclaiming feminine excess and frivolity on strictly feminist terms. Testifying to the artist’s meteoric rise to critical acclaim, she just received a solo exhibition at Victoria Miro in London.
Executed in dreamy washes of ochre, plum, and teal tones that seem at once tied to the cyclical patterns of the seasons, and to build a world that exists strangely outside of time, We Stray is a work of intense narrative power by young British artist Antonia Showering first presented as part of her online exhibition Introductions with White Cube in 2020. Depicting an idyllic mountain landscape with figures bathing and floating weightlessly across the still waters of a lake, We Stray brings together key elements of Showering’s practice, bridging the personal and the universal in its treatment of memory, time, and the deep emotional connections that we forge with both people and places.
Other female artists making waves include Colombian artist María Berrío, whose large-scale collaged canvases offer beautiful scenes that draw on Latin American literary history as much as the global craft traditions developed historically by communities of women. The Riders II is an example of her staggeringly complex paper assemblages. Awarded the prestigious Joan Mitchell Fellowship in 2021, Berrío’s work can be found in major international institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai.
An artist Phillips first introduced to auction in 2019 is Tschabalala Self, and this season will include Carma, a vibrant, joyful work from 2016. This portrait was included in Self’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom hosted by Parasol Unit in 2017 and is a commanding example of the artist’s expressive and inventive approach to materials and figuration.
Recently announced as the youngest painter to join the roster at Gagosian Gallery, Canadian artist Anna Weyant has been garnering critical recognition since her first solo exhibition at 56 Henry in 2019, Welcome to the Dollhouse. Taking its title from Todd Solondz’s 1995 film of teenage angst and ritual humiliation, Welcome to the Dollhouse used the children’s toy as a device to explore what Weyant has described as the ‘low-stakes trauma’ of girlhood, her paintings like compartmentalised vignettes staged using her cast of doll-like characters serving as actors and avatars in her tragicomic narratives. Executed in the same year as this breakthrough exhibition, Bath Time shares in these themes, developing the rich, dark palette offset by luminous porcelain tones that have become associated with Weyant’s precisely rendered scenes of narrative disquiet.
Bath Time, 2019
Estimate: £80,000 - 120,000
Extending beyond cutting-edge contemporary art, the sale presents works by artists currently seeing a moment of market reassessment. Ouattara Watts, a close friend of Basquiat, is represented in the sale with № 1 For Miles. After meeting Basquiat in the 1980’s, Watts moved from Paris to New York to continue his artistic practice. The artist uses vivid colors and shapes as well as a variety of materials including found objects and photographs to explore themes of identity, culture, and history.
Further highlights of the sale include a number of works by Damien Hirst, representing three of his most coveted series. Executed in 1992, Untitled AAAAA, is a prime early example of Hirst’s Medicine Cabinet series, while his Spin Paintings are represented by Beautiful Tropical, Jungle Painting (with pink snot) from 1998. Executed between 2004 – 2011, the large-scale Furfuryl Mercaptan is a fantastic expression of his Spot Painting series, combining the colourful exuberance of the Spin Paintings with the ordered structure of the Medicine Cabinets.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale
Leading the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale on 29 June is Urs Fischer’s Iron. Through scale distortion and illusion, the Swiss-born, New York-based artist Fischer has, throughout his oeuvre, tackled themes of perception and representation with sardonic wit. Executed on a monumental scale, Iron is an impressive example from a small series the artist created in 2015. Using his face as the starting point, this body of work exemplifies Fischer’s experimental preferences and builds upon his typical subversion to the established mode of self-portraiture in art history.
Estimate: £400,000 - 600,000
An American Pop highlight of the sale is Ed Ruscha’s True from 2007. Artists making their auction debut in the Day Sale this June include Shannon Cartier Lucy and Michaela Yearwood-Dan. Further Contemporary highlights include works from Joy Labinjo, Salman Toor, Shara Hughes and Eddie Martinez.
20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale
Auction: 30 June 2022
Auction viewing: 22-30 June
Location: 30 Berkeley Square
Click here for more information: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/UK010422
20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale
Auction: 29 June 2022
Auction viewing: 22-29 June
Location: 30 Berkeley Square
Click here for more information: https://www.phillips.com/auctions/auction/UK010522
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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.
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