Monumental Painting by Robert Colescott Leads Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art Sale

New York, NYHunchback of Notre Dame (Hommage to Victor Hugo), a monumental painting by American artist Robert Colescott, leads Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on November 11 in New York, expected to fetch up to $1.5M. Making its stellar auction debut, Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hommage to Victor Hugo) (1991) employs Colescott's signature references to American and European art history and literature in his exaggerated and iconic style. The painting is particularly significant within Colescott's oeuvre as it was selected by the artist for his installation at the Venice Biennale in 1997. This was a watershed moment for Colescott, who became the first Black artist to represent the United States at the international event.

Andrew Huber, Bonhams Head of Sale for New York Post-War and Contemporary Art, commented: "Colescott's best paintings are always equal parts controversial and enlightening, using his brush to engage with incendiary topics such as race, politics, money, and sex. We are thrilled to offer such a monumental and complex painting by an artist whose work is being increasingly recognised as canonical and whose market, particularly after the record-breaking price this past May, is ascendent."

Other standout highlights include two completely fresh-to-market works by the Abstract Expressionist pioneer, Adolph Gottlieb. Untitled (1966), with an estimate of $500,000 - $700,000, and his work on paper by the same name, with an estimate of $100,000 - $150,000, are from the artist's iconic Burst series. Both works have been in a single private collection since the year they were created and have never been exhibited or seen publicly in their entire fifty-five-year history.

Another rare offering from the sale is Walter De Maria's Untitled (1962) ($100,000-150,000), unseen for nearly sixty years and understood to be the only major 1960s painting by the artist in private hands. A painting featuring numerous vignettes, the parallel lines and sun rising over the mountains prefigure the artist's best-known earthworks – Mile Long Drawing (1968) in particular.

Further highlights include:

• A superior example by 'Ninth Street Woman' Grace Hartigan, Bony Labyrinth ($200,000 - $300,000)

• Two superlative examples by the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-DiezTranschromie Dames A Permutation 2 (1965/2009), a rare, domestically-scaled installation (estimate $220,000 - $320,000), and Physicromie Panam 61 (2011) (estimate $100,000 – 150,000)

• A collaborative sculptural work by artists Keith Haring & LA II, with an estimate of $80,000-120,000

• A standout painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle (estimate $200,000-300,000) recently on extended loan at the Lowe Art Museum, Miami

5 November 2021


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