Works by Gao Xiao-hua, Raimonds Staprans, and Dale Chihuly Available With Clarke Auction Gallery
Clarke Auction Gallery’s New Years Estate Auction, scheduled for January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM EST, spotlights two notable oil paintings by Reuven Rubin. Beyond these significant works, the wide-reaching catalog includes fine art from other contemporary and 20th-century makers. Auction Daily examines three significant lots from these artists before the bidding begins.
Raised and educated in post-Cultural Revolution China, artist Gao Xiao-hua started his career in an art world dominated by the production of propaganda. There was little artistic freedom for creators to capture the growing discontent among the Chinese populace. Following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, some restrictions were lifted. Gao started to explore what he describes as “the dark underside of that time,” noting for the Los Angeles Times that “it wasn’t all happy, smiling people.” The artist soon turned his attention to ordinary people living in China’s remote provinces. These subjects were usually from ethnic minority groups such as the Yi people of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou. Gao paints his subjects with tenderness and an eye for color, often showing them in the middle of an action or conversation.
Three works by Gao Xiao-hua will be available in the upcoming Clarke Auction Gallery event. Among them is Ladies with Parasol, an oil painting showing three women gathered on a street (lot #0031; estimate: USD 10,000 – $15,000). Gao uses spots of bright red, yellow, and blue to accent the ladies’ umbrellas and traditional garments.
Latvian-born artist Raimonds Staprans immigrated to the United States after staying in a Displaced Persons camp during World War II. He settled into his new home in California and studied with the likes of Alexander Archipenko, Hans Hofmann, and Karl Dasten. The artist’s resulting paintings have been described as “West Coast versions of European Modernism.” Whether depicting a landscape, a still life, or an imagined object, Staprans injects solidity and shades of darkness. His focus on richly-colored objects and scenes from everyday life has earned comparisons to Wayne Thiebaud.
Clarke Auction Gallery’s January sale will feature Raimonds Staprans’ Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, a 1958 oil painting (lot #0044; estimate: $2,000 – $3,000). Staprans painted the church while it was under construction, still structurally incomplete and covered in scaffolding.
Four glass works by American artist Dale Chihuly will be available in the upcoming Clarke Auction Gallery sale as well, each dating from around 2000. The renowned artist is one of the most prolific glassmakers working today, and he is credited with reviving the field of glassmaking and bringing the craft to a new level. As a young glassmaker, Chihuly had a promising career in front of him until he was involved in a serious car accident that blinded one eye. Another accident left the artist unable to lift his glass blowing pipe. These setbacks did not stop Chihuly from pursuing his work, and he would eventually employ dozens of assistants to carry out his vision. He now compares his role to that of a choreographer or director, standing at a distance to ensure each glass item meets his standards.
Available in the upcoming auction is Dale Chihuly’s Cinnamon Macchia from 2001 (lot #0110; estimate: $2,000 – $3,000). The striped blown glass sculpture features an attached red lip and alternating bands of gold and ochre. Collectors can also consider a large Sea Form vase covered in red and purple spots (lot #0112; estimate: $3,000 – $5,000).