5 Fine Art Pieces Hitting the Auction Block This Month

Nazia Safi
Published on

Works by Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, and Joan Mitchell to go under the hammer

Fine art pieces presented by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Heritage Auctions are among the notable lots crossing the auction block in the last half of June. Learn more about these pieces, their artists.

1. Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus, 1981 by Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon, Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus, 1981
Courtesy: Sotheby’s
Francis Bacon, Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus, 1981
Courtesy: Sotheby’s

Francis Bacon’s Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus will be featured in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York, with an estimate of USD 60 million–$80 million.

Executed in 1981, this large-scale, three-part oil painting is inspired by a trilogy by the Greek playwright Aeschylus from the 5th century B.C. The lot essay notes, “the present work wrestles with timeless philosophical preoccupations: mercy versus punishment, justice versus vengeance, and sacrifice versus self-preservation—concerns which consumed Bacon for the entirety of his life.”

Earlier, Bacon’s triptych, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, was sold for a record $142 million at Christie’s New York evening sale in 2013.

2. White Brushstroke I, 1965 by Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, White Brushstroke I, 1965
Courtesy: Sotheby’s
Roy Lichtenstein, White Brushstroke I, 1965
Courtesy: Sotheby’s

White Brushstroke I from 1965 by American Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein is another painting highlighting the Sotheby’s New York contemporary evening sale, with an estimate of $20 million–$30 million. Lichtenstein’s Brushstrokes series took inspiration from Strange Suspense Stories #72, a cartoon by Dick Giordano that depicts a frustrated artist marking a red “X” over an unfinished painting. The painting is among the few Brushstroke canvases still in private possession.

Currently, Lichtenstein’s Masterpiece holds the artist’s auction record of $165 million at Acquavella Gallery in 2017.

3. Straw, 1976 by Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell, Straw, 1976
Courtesy: Sotheby’s
Joan Mitchell, Straw, 1976
Courtesy: Sotheby’s

The Ginny Williams Collection, offered by Sotheby’s, will see works by many female artists. Among the highlighted pieces is an abstract painting, Straw by Joan Mitchell, with an estimate of $5 million–$7 million.

Executed in 1976, the nine-foot work reflects Mitchell’s transition toward larger canvases. “Proclaiming a unique personal aesthetic that balances Mitchell’s outer surroundings and inner emotions, Straw exudes the elegant, lyrical spirit at the heart of her most celebrated work,” the auction house notes in the painting’s lot essay.

The current auction record for Mitchell stands at $16.6 million for Blueberry, 1969 at Christie’s New York sale in 2018.

4. Orange Drink, 1961 by Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud, Orange Drink, 1961
Courtesy: Heritage Auction
Wayne Thiebaud, Orange Drink, 1961
Courtesy: Heritage Auction

Wayne Thiebaud’s still life painting Orange Drink from 1961 will highlight the June 18th Modern and Contemporary Art Auction, offered by Heritage Auctions. The painting carries an estimate of $1.2 million–$1.8 million.

Influenced by Giorgio Morandi’s still lifes, Thiebaud became interested in graphic-style food in 1961, the same year he executed Orange Drink. Unlike other Pop contemporaries, Thiebaud focused on the form of the objects rather than branding. As art journalist Brian Boucher notes, “While Pop artists often studied the logos of the various brands they depicted, Thiebaud has removed the labels from his products, placing the focus squarely on form.”

Thiebaud’s current auction record is of $8.4 million for Encased Cakes at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale.

5. Cap de Boc Marinat, 2005 by Miquel Barceló

Miquel Barceló, Cap de Boc Marinat, 2005
Courtesy: Christie’s
Miquel Barceló, Cap de Boc Marinat, 2005
Courtesy: Christie’s

Known for his experimental approach to painting and sculpture, Spanish artist Miquel Barceló’s Cap de Boc Marinat from 2005 is a key lot in the ongoing Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Amsterdam auction, with an estimate of EUR 250,000–€350,000.

The work features intricately-fossilized surfaces, which capture the artist’s interest in nature and decomposition. The composition also features a goat skull – a recurring motif for Barceló – which was a choice influenced by Pablo Picasso, who depicted the animal’s skull in his numerous compositions.

Barceló’s highest auction record is €4.46 million.