Past Auction

Post-War & Contemporary Art

Tue, May 14, 2019 at 2pm EDT |
New York
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Record Prices for Women Artists

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  • Auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art on May 14, 2019
  • Works by Prominent American, European, Asian and Latin American Artists
  • Paintings by Women Artists Nasreen Mohammedi and Irene Rice Pereira Set Auction Records

NEW YORK, NY – Works by women artists set record prices at Doyle’s auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art on May 14, 2019. The sale showcased a wide range of paintings and sculpture by prominent and emerging artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. With competitive international bidding in the saleroom, on the telephones, and via the Internet, the auction totaled a successful $2,200,313 against an estimate of $1,561,000-2,465,000.

Nasreen Mohammedi (1937-1990) is recognized as one of the pioneering artists who introduced modernist formats to Indian audiences. She studied at St. Martin’s School of Arts in London, then in Paris in the early 1960s. Returning to India, she lived in Mumbai and joined the Bhulabhai Institute for the Arts, where she met important modernist Indian artists M.F. Husain, V.S. Gaitonde, and Tyeb Mehta.

The auction offered two works by Mohammedi that were acquired by Harvey L. Schwartz circa 1965-68 during an information gathering trip to India while working for Rodman Rockefeller at IBEC, (International Basic Economy Corporation). Most of IBEC's business ventures were focused on Latin America, but Harvey L. Schwartz was sent to Thailand and India in the mid to late 1960s, where he purchased these paintings.

The works attracted international attention and strong competitive bidding that sent one painting, titled Night, soaring past its estimate to achieve $350,000 – a record price for a work sold outside of her native India and the second highest price ever for one of her paintings. A second work from 1960 with the same estimate of $30,000-50,000 also far exceeded expectations, realizing $212,500.

A 1937 work by Irene Rice Pereira (1907-1971) achieved $68,750 – A World Auction Record for the Artist. The price surpassed the prior record for Pereira of $48,000, which was achieved at Doyle in 2016. A founding member of the Design Laboratory in New York, Pereira wrote extensively on art and art theory and was an member of the American Abstract Artists group with such prominent women artists as Suzy Frelinghuysen, Alice Trumbull Mason, Esphyr Slobodkina, Gertrude Greene and Rosalind Bengelsdorf Browne. The 1937 work was a rare example of Pereira's Machine Paintings.

Highlighting the Property of a New York Gentleman was a 1975 work on paper by Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) that fetched $262,500, surpassing its $100,000-200,000 estimate. Many artists who emerged onto the American art scene at the time of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Clifford Still incorporated the Abstract Expressionist format into their own works. But a number of them, including Diebenkorn, returned to a figurative style. For approximately two decades, Diebenkorn returned to abstraction with a group of landscape derived compositions, the Ocean Park Series, of which this work is a prime example. The Ocean Park paintings, drawings and prints are the most widely celebrated of Diebenkorn’s career.

From the same collection was a large-scale work from 1951 by Chilean-born artist Roberto Matta (1911-2002) that sold for $200,000, at the high of its $100,000-200,000 extimate. In 1933, Matta moved to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Le Corbusier and the poet and theorist André Breton, who encouraged him to join the Surrealist movement. There, he developed an art of diffused films of color, biomorphic forms and bold lines, later moving to the United States where he continued his expressive, semi-abstract works. The 50% Irrational in Matter from 1951 is a marvelous representation of Matta’s contribution to the Surrealist movement.

The auction also saw strong prices for such artists as Franz Kline, Richard Hambleton, Zoran Antonio Music, Pat Steir, Alfonso Ossorio, Esteban Vicente, Bruno Romeda, Frank Moore and Alvin Demar Loving, Jr., among many others.

All prices include the Buyer's Premium.

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A Selection of Auction Highlights

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