Helen Frankenthaler’s Hermes Earns Record in Contemporary Art at Swann

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Works from collection of Chiron Press founder bring top prices

Helen Frankenthaler, Hermes, color Mixografía, 1989. Sold for $47,500, a record for the print.
Helen Frankenthaler, Hermes, color Mixografía, 1989. Sold for $47,500, a record for the print.

CONTEMPORARY ART

Sale 2552; November 19, 2020

Sale total: $1,699,312

We offered 399 lots; 307 sold (77% sell-through rate by lot)

All prices include Buyer’s Premium.

New York—Swann GalleriesThursday, November 19 sale of Contemporary Art boasted exceptional prices for works on paper, prints and editions. The auction delivered three records, with Abstract Expressionist artists drawing significant bidding activity, in addition to works from the Chiron Press, Pop Art and more bringing top prices.

Helen Frankenthaler’s 1989 color Mixografía Hermes led the sale at $47,000, a record for the print. Further records were set for Dorothea Rockburne’s Locus, a 1972 portfolio with a complete set of six aquatints, at $42,500, and Lee Krasner’s 1969 color lithograph, Special Blue, at $17,500.

Lee Krasner, Special Blue, color lithograph, 1969. Sold for $17,500, a record for the print.
Lee Krasner, Special Blue, color lithograph, 1969. Sold for $17,500, a record for the print.

Additional abstract works featured Robert Motherwell’s 1975 monotype in purple and black acrylic on paper ($37,500); Elaine de Kooning’s 1982 acrylic-on-plywood Bacchus #27-P ($32,500); Willem de Kooning’s 1975 charcoal drawing Two Figures ($25,000); and a 1951 screenprint by Jackson Pollock ($15,000).

Swann offered several works from the Collection of Stephen Poleskie, founder of Chiron Press, New York’s first fine art screenprinting studio. Highlights from the offering included Robert Indiana’s Numbers, a set of four 1966 color screenprints on wood panels ($27,500); Alex Katz’s 1965 oil-on-wood panel Maine Landscape ($22,500); and Roy Lichtenstein’s Cow Triptych (Cow Going Abstract), a set of three 1982 color screenprints ($22,500), Paris Review Poster, the 1966 drawing for the blue screen of the four color screenprints ($20,000), and Brushstroke, a 1965 color screenprint ($18,750).

Robert Indiana, Numbers, set of four color screenprints on wood panels, 1966. Sold for $27,500.
Robert Indiana, Numbers, set of four color screenprints on wood panels, 1966. Sold for $27,500.

Pop Art luminary Andy Warhol was present with a 1964 color offset lithograph portrait of Liz Taylor ($37,500), and a 1968 color screenprint of the iconic Campbell’s soup can Consommé (Beef) ($30,000).

Contemporary pieces included Joyce Pensato’s Homer, acrylic on canvas, 2009 ($32,500), Howard Hodgkin’s Flower Palm, a 1991 color etching and carborundum with hand coloring in egg tempera ($17,500), and Keith Haring’s Pop Shop IV, color screenprint 1989 ($18,200).

Todd Wyeman, the house’s director of prints and drawings noted, “Our auctions of Contemporary Art continue to grow, both by value and number of bidders. Our per lot value increased by more than 25% over our previous auction of Contemporary Art in June, and we sold to nearly 20% new buyers in the current auction. Once again, we saw significant interest in works by women of the Abstract Expressionist school, setting new records for works by Helen Frankenthaler, Dorothea Rockburne and Lee Krasner.”

The house is currently accepting quality consignments for the spring 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit swanngalleries.com.

Key:  * = Record for Print or Portfolio; † = Collection of Stephen Poleskie; C = Collector; D = Dealer

Additional highlights can be found here.

Captions:

Lot 57: Helen Frankenthaler, Hermes, color Mixografía, 1989. Sold for $47,500, a record for the print.

Lot 59: Lee Krasner, Special Blue, color lithograph, 1969. Sold for $17,500, a record for the print.

Lot 222: Robert Indiana, Numbers, set of four color screenprints on wood panels, 1966. Sold for $27,500.

Specialist: Todd Weyman • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 32

Chief Marketing Officer: Alexandra Nelson • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 19

Public Relations Associate: Kelsie Jankowski • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 23

Social media: @swanngalleries  

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ILLUSTRATED CATALOGUE, ADDL. IMAGES & COMPLETE PRICES REALIZED ON REQUEST

Swann Auction Galleries is a third-generation family business as well as the world’s largest auction house for works on paper. In the last 75 years, Swann has repeatedly revolutionized the trade with such innovations as the first U.S. auction dedicated to photographs and the world’s only department of African-American Fine Art. More than 30 auctions and previews are held annually in Swann Galleries’ two-floor exhibition space in Midtown Manhattan, and online worldwide. Visit swanngalleries.com for more information.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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