On the Block

On the Block: What to Watch the Week of April 18

Prints and multiples galore plus some action in Paris and Hong Kong

This week the block will see hundreds of lots courtesy of three prints and multiples sales. The highest value lots in these sales are largely portfolios of prints by the usual suspects, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. 

Phillips Editions & Works on Paper sale in New York runs April 19-21 and is split into a whopping four sessions. A set of ten flowers by Andy Warhol from 1970 sits at the top of the price spectrum with a million dollar estimate. The record price for a set from the same edition was achieved at Christies in 2014 with a sale of $1,145,000. The most recent sale of a set from this edition was at Sotheby’s in the fall of 2019 when it sold for $1,100,000. The sale will also feature two other print sets of note, one by Keith Haring and the other by Yoshitomo Nara. 

Phillips is offering a set of Keith Haring’s The Blueprint Drawings (L. pp. 174-183) from 1990 with an estimate of $275,000. The complete set of 17 screenprints is in the original wood portfolio box adorned with screenprinted details. A set from the edition, sans box, last saw the block in 2013 with a $180,000 estimate. Individual prints from the set have previously sold for as much as $32,500. Looking at another impressive portfolio, a set of 10 Ukiyo-e woodcuts by Yoshitomo Nara is also coming up for sale. The lot has a $400,000 estimate. In 2021, a set from the edition sold for $756,000 over a $300,000 estimate.

A Jeff Koons Mona Lisa is being offered at Phillips with a $40,000 estimate. A work from the edition came onto the block last spring with a $50,000 estimate; it was bought in. Subsequently, a print from the edition sold at Christie’s $62,500 last fall over a $40,000 estimate. 

Sotheby’s will have their Prints & Multiples sale in New York on Thursday, April 21st. The lot with the most expensive estimate is (no surprise) another Warhol portfolio. This set of ten Cowboys and Indians from 1986 has a $450,000 estimate; pre-sale bids have already reached this level in advance of the sale. A set from this edition sold in fall 2021 for $816,500, double its $400,000 estimate. Sotheby’s is also offering a set of four Keith Haring Pop Shop screenprints; this lot, too, has surpassed its $40,000 pre-sale estimate in bidding in advance of the sale. In fall 2021, a set from the same edition sold for $60,312 over a $25,000 estimate at Bonhams in Los Angeles. Outside of the realm of Pop, a set of Jazz prints by Henri Matisse comes onto the block with a $400,000 estimate. In 2015, a set from the edition sold for $1,090,000 over a $450,000 estimate. More recently, however, a set sold for $378,000. Condition may be to blame. 

Also on Thursday, Sotheby’s will hold their Art Impressionniste et Moderne Evening Auction in Paris. The opening lot is a 1971 painting by Surrealist Leonor Fini with a $217,540 estimate. The painting has not seen the auction block since 1991 when it sold for $77,660. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that would be $153,660 today. Since 1991, Fini has seen a marked rise in art historical and exhibition attention, not to mention market interest. With those factors in mind, the painting could achieve a strong result. Another notable lot in the sale is Tarin, 1929 by Francis Picabia. The painting has a $2,066,628 estimate. Tarin was created in the same year and style as Picabia’s Pavonia, which set a $10.9m record for the artist last month. At about one half the size, will Tarin bring in one half the record price?

Heading back to the world of editions, Christie’s Prints & Multiples will take place in New York on Friday, April 22nd. They are offering an Andy Warhol Queen Elizabeth II with a $150,000 estimate. A print from the edition sold just this year for $480,144, five times its low estimate. Later this spring, Sotheby’s will hold a special exhibition of Warhol’s portraits of Britain’s seven queens regnant including a 1985 Warhol portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in honor of her Platinum Jubilee. From another king of Pop (and editions), Roy Lichtenstein, Christie’s is offering the 1965 print Reverie, from 11 Pop Artists, Volume II with a $120,000 estimate. The record sale of a print from this edition took place just last fall. It sold for $201,600 over a $120,000 estimate.

Friday marks the close of No Regrets: 20/21 Art Online: All Originals from Christie’s Hong Kong. The sale includes a strong 2010 work on paper by Roby Dwi Antono that has already greatly surpassed its $1,276 pre-sale estimate in advanced bidding. There are no comparable sales at auction of early works on paper by Antono. A 2019 painting by internet sensation Mr. Doodle has already exceeded its $25,513 estimate. Somewhat larger 2019 artworks by Doodle have sold in the six-figure range.

You can find fifty-plus years of historical auction data, live bid streaming, and easy-to-read results on the LiveArt app, available in the Apple App Store or through Google Play.

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