London - Op Art work NJ15 (Diptych) by Wojciech Fangor (Polish/American, 1922-2015), realised £413,000 at Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale today (Wednesday 8 March) in London, well over double its estimate of £140,000-180,000 and achieving a world record price for a work by the artist. The auction also saw works by Gunther Uecker, Georg Baselitz, Keith Haring, Shozo Shimamoto, and Victor Vasarely achieve substantial success. Vasarely's 1967 Op Art piece Alom-2 performed well, achieving £293,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £90,000-120,000.
The total realised for the auction of 52 lots was £5,385,875. A 19-lot section of works donated by artists sold on behalf of Modern Art Oxford achieved £369,125.
Ralph Taylor, Bonhams Head of Post War and Contemporary Art in London, said, "I am not surprised these works were so keenly sought after and achieved such strong results. Uecker, Rego, Baselitz, Shimamoto and Haring are acknowledged as modern masters and the works we presented in this tightly curated auction were of supreme quality.
"Our Op Art section was particularly strong. During the past two years in particular, appreciation for this movement has grown significantly. Collectors and public institutions now recognise it as provocative and visually dynamic – works that challenged viewers' perception of the world in a time of great social and cultural change. We are delighted to claim the world record price for a work by Wojciech Fangor."
Op Art (short for Optical Art) was a global movement that came to prominence in the 1960s. Its most important practitioners came from and travelled to places as diverse as Poland, Venezuela, Israel, America, the UK and Hungary. While the works vary, they often include geometric shapes crafted to create the illusion of spatial depth. Simple, bold colours reference the age of computers and binary systems. It was an aesthetic that defined the look of the 1960s and influenced everything from Mary Quant dresses, to fabric design and advertising.
Other highlights included:
• A work by Günther Uecker, founding member of the Zero group, was sold after competitive bidding. A total of £557,000 was achieved for Oval indicating that demand for Uecker's work goes from strength to strength.
• Heiße Ecke by Georg Baselitz made £497,000, nearly double the high estimate of £250,000.
• Untitled, 1951, by Gutai co-founder Shozo Shimamoto (Japanese 1928-2013), sold for £293,000 against an estimate of £80,000 – 120,000. This piece which attracted fierce bidding in the saleroom is registered in Shimamoto's archive of work as under No.1.
• 23.05.50, a 1950 painting by the the French/Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki, achieved £281,000 against an estimate of £150,000-200,000.
• 36 Four Corners (∑, Square, Run, Pile) 1997 by the American Carl Andre realised £191,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £120,000-180,000
Modern Art Oxford Auction
Total raised on behalf of Modern Art Oxford: £369,125
A stand-alone section of Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale was dedicated to raising funds for Modern Art Oxford, the celebrated contemporary art space in Oxford. A total of 19 works were donated by internationally renowned artists – including Marina Abramović, Tracey Emin, Mona Hatoum, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor and Yoko Ono – to fund Modern Art Oxford's future programme of exhibitions and events. The sum raised was £369,125
Modern Art Oxford Director, Paul Hobson, said, "After celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2016, this important sale of donated artworks has provided us with significant financial support for the gallery's artistic programme and plans. We are so grateful to Bonhams and all the participating artists and their galleries, who have made such a generous contribution through this event to our continued artistic ambition and vitality."
As a charity, Modern Art Oxford relies heavily on the financial support of those who are passionate about art and artists and each year, it is required to raise the funds to cover the costs of the gallery's world-renowned artists' programme.
For further information and images call Lucinda Bredin on +44 (0) 20 7468 8394, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.