Collection Totals $226,224, Far Surpassing Its Estimate of $84,200-128,200
Thirty Lots of Contemporary Art, Prints, Books and Photographs Assembled by Photographer Harry Shunk and Safeguarded by Darryl Kelly Since Shunk's Death in 2006
Works by Yves Klein, Christo, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Paul Jenkins, Roy Lichtenstein, Ben Vautrier and Jimmy DeSana
Doyle New York auctioned the Darryl Kelly Collection, Formerly Property of Harry Shunk, on Monday, November 5, 2012. The Collection comprised 31 lots and was a featured section of the Doyle New York’s auction of Photographs, Rare Books and Prints. With competitive bidding from the salesroom, the telephones and the Internet, the Collection totaled a strong $226,224, far surpassing its estimate of $84,200-128,200 with 77% sold by lot and 99% sold by value.
The Darryl Kelly Collection, Formerly Property of Harry Shunk, was assembled by photographer Harry Shunk (1924-2006). Born in Reudnitz, Germany, Shunk moved to Paris in 1957 and became well connected in the art scene at a time of tremendous exploration in new ways of expressing artistic ideas. He and his partner, photographer Janos Kender, began documenting the works of the Nouveau Realistes, including Yves Klein, Arman, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Christo. These artists used the landscape as their canvas, thereby eliminating the confines of the rectangle picture plane. Shunk’s collaborations captured the large scale installations of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, as well as performances of Yves Klein.
In the late 1960s, he came to New York, where he met Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and settled in Greenwich Village, where he would remain for the rest of his life. In the 1970s, Harry Shunk became increasingly reclusive, and his artistic collaborations ceased. The objects in his collection offered a glimpse into his fascinating life and career.
Highlighting the collection was the iconic 1967 color screenprint, Marilyn, by Andy Warhol, which was estimated $15,000-25,000. Despite condition issues, it fetched a surprisingly strong $74,500.
Featured were four 1961 catalogues by Yves Klein of Monochrome und Feuer (Triptych), each with two color screenprints (one printed in blue and one in pink) and one sheet coated in gold foil (one with gold leaf applied by the artist), together with approximately 16 loose sheets of gold leaf presumably to be applied by Klein. A close friend of Klein, Shunk frequently photographed the artist and his work. Executed a year before Klein’s death from a heart attack at age 34, Monochrome und Feuer reproduces several photographs by Shunk. The lot sold for a stunning $68,500, many times its estimate of $10,000-15,000.
Also noteworthy was a mixed media rendering of Valley Curtain by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. It was inscribed to Harry Shunk and dated 1972, one year after the second and final attempt at installing the project in Colorado. The lot included a large Harry Shunk photograph of the project. The lots surpassed its estimate of $20,000-30,000, selling for $40,626.
The Collection also offered works by Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Paul Jenkins, Roy Lichtenstein, Ben Vautrier, and Jimmy DeSana.
Bronx resident and avowed Antiques Roadshow enthusiast Darryl Kelly rescued this remarkable collection after the death of Harry Shunk in 2006 and has safeguarded the works since then. As reported in The New York Times and elsewhere, Mr. Kelly recently sought out assistance with the identification of the works. The subsequent reemergence of the Collection created great excitement – very much like the stories of discovery on the Antiques Roadshow.