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Contemporary artists to watch

NEW YORK – After a meteoric rise over the last few decades, the contemporary art market shrank a bit this year while largely moving online, owing to the pandemic and a range of other socio- and geopolitical factors. Contemporary art represents about 15 percent of worldwide fine art auction offerings and is a key source of the market’s growth. Given that there are thousands of artists working all over the world with new ones every year, over 30,000 by some counts, it can be challenging to decide which new artists to collect. Here are five artists to consider:

Miriam Cabessa

Born in 1966, Miriam Cabessa was born in Morocco, grew up in Israel, and has worked and lived in New York the last two decades. The painter, performance and installation artist is best known for her slow action paintings, which she debuted in 1997 when she represented Israel at the Venice Biennale. Forgoing brushes, she creates art by using alternative objects and her own body as tools.

An untitled mixed media on Masonite by Miriam Cabessa sold for $1,700 + the buyer’s premium in July 2020 at Yair Art Gallery. Photo courtesy of Yair Art Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

The Jenn Singer Gallery in New York, which gave her a solo exhibition of her oil paintings and textiles in 2018, says, “Using a unique sensory-based painting technique, Miriam Cabessa deftly works her body through her oils in a visually engaging improvisational performance, as much at home on a stage with a viewing audience as it is in isolation in the painter’s studio.”

Rodel Tapaya

Phillipino painter Rodel Tapaya (b. 1980) pays homage to Filipino culture and its history in his artworks, which are noted for their labyrinthine patterns and whimsical character montages. Connecting the past to the present, Tapaya mines old stories to create new narratives based on ancient myths that increasingly he finds relevant today.

This untitled Rodel Tapaya painting from 2015 made PHP 380,000 ($7,807) in October 2020 at Leon Gallery. Photo courtesy of Leon Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

“At the heart of Rodel Tapaya’s work is his ongoing amalgamation of folk narrative and contemporary reality within the framework of memory and history,” writes Arndt Fine Art, which has four galleries around the world. The dreamlike quality of Tapaya’s work, which often takes the form of large-scale murals, has been likened to that of Mexican muralists and Surrealists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

Aleksandra Staniorowska

Describing herself as a painter and a climate activist, emerging artist Aleksandra Staniorowska (b. 1990) was born in Poland and became involved in the climate movement in 2018. With paintings like Paradise Lost and Yggdrasil, she calls attention to the long-marginalized issue of the environment, from endangered snow leopards in the Himalayas to the effects of the sun on the earth and the plight of trees.

Aleksandra Staniorowska’s ‘Heart path,’ 2020 brought PLN 4,800 ($1,250) + the buyer’s premium in October 2020 at DESA Unicum SA. Photo courtesy of DESA Unicum SA and LiveAuctioneers

Yutaka Sone

Japanese artist Yukata Sone (b. 1965) was already well-exhibited internationally when he received his first solo exhibition in the United States in 1999 at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York.

Yutaka Sone’s pair of lithograph prints titled ‘Mt. 66,’ 2006, earned $1,500 + the buyer’s premium in December 2020 At Hindman. Photo courtesy of Hindman and LiveAuctioneers.

In the years since, Sone has not been content to harvest his heritage for artistic inspiration nor ascribe to Western art traditions. Rather, he has created art that cannot be limited by simple descriptions or even one medium as the artist utilizes sculpture, drawings and video. “It strives to create its own poetic vocabulary not connected to a particular culture, but to culture at large,” according to the David Zwirner Gallery.

Alyssa Monks

American artist Alyssa Monks (b 1977) is widely known for her large oil paintings that often feature people partially hidden or clouded by water or steam, often set in bathrooms and tubs, or in her newest works, flowers and vines.

A still life of a meditative woman in a bathtub by Alyssa Monks achieved $2,400 in April 2020 at Klein James. Photo courtesy of Klein James and LiveAuctioneers

According to New York’s Forum Gallery, which represents the artist, a recent series created during the pandemic quarantine reflects Monks’ quest to stay positive during this challenging time and explore the persistence of life. “The new paintings, with their intense but distorted color, portray the inner psychological experience of isolation for these female subjects as they interact with the ‘natural’ world as it gets less and less certain or safe,” the gallery writes.

Starting a contemporary art collection can be intimidating but the old adage of buying with your eyes holds true. Focus less on what is investment grade but on what you love and you will seldom be wrong. You can start out a nice small collection with less than $1,000. While there are no steals, smaller works often prove to be bargains. Overall, the cost risk ratio is lower with emerging artists and lesser-known names than art world stalwarts. Look at a lot of art, learn what you can about artists you like and take a few chances along the way.

 

 

Choice contemporary art offered in Jasper52 auction Sept. 1

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Jasper52 will present an online auction of urban and contemporary art that includes works by some of today’s most recognized artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Banksy, KAWS and many more.

Damien Hirst, (British, b. 1965) ‘H7-3 Butterfly Heart,’ 2020, laminated Giclée print on aluminum composite panel, 28 x 29in. Estimate: $5,000-$6,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 presents trailblazing contemporary art Feb. 26

Cutting-edge contemporary art – an elaborate display of mostly conceptually based works on paper by established and emerging artists – will be sold by Jasper52 on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Tauba Auerbach, ‘Fold Slice Topo II 2011,’ aquatint etching, 44½in x 34½in. Signed and numbered edition of 35 published by Paulson Bott Press, Berkeley, Calif. Estimate: $3,000-$3,500. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Invite Modern Masters Into Your Home

Ask any interior designer the most affordable way to add color and style to your home, and you might hear the reply, “Modern art prints.” A blank wall is a clean slate, waiting for you to add your own personality through prints and works on paper by modern masters. You can start or add to your collection of prints by bidding in this week’s curated auction, which is filled with wonderful works by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and other greats of the modern era.

Thirty-one thoughtfully chosen artworks are included in this selection, which opens with eight prints from Pablo Picasso’s portfolio titled “15 Drawings from the Pantheon 1946.” From an Albert Carmen/Pantheon limited edition of 500, the portfolio’s lithographs were printed on Arches paper with Pochoir hand coloring. They include: Man with Pipe, MinotaurFour Ballet DancersTwo Nudes, and four others.

One of eight Pablo Picasso lithographs from the portfolio Fifteen Drawings from the Pantheon 1946, est. $1,500-$2,000

 

The sensational pop art vision of Roy Lichtenstein comes to life in a 1966 triptych titled As I Opened Fire. Composed of three lithos in Lichtenstein’s trademark primary-color, comic-book style, the triptych tells a brief story about a fighter plane in action. Part of the rare Lifetime Edition published by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, this print is estimated between $600-$800.

Roy Lichtenstein triptych As I Opened Fire, 1966, each of the three measuring 641 x 530mm, part of the rare Lifetime Edition published by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, est. $600-$800

 

Souvenir d’Oceanie is the title of an Henri Matisse color lithograph artist-signed in the plate and printed under his supervision at the Mourlot Studio, Paris, in 1954. The lithograph plates were erased after the edition was published. The edition was issued by Teriade for Verve, Paris, in 1958, and is offered with a $400-$600 estimate.

Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), Souvenir d’Oceanie, lithograph created 1954, issued by Teriade for Verve, Paris, 1958, 260 x 356mm, est. $400-$600

 

Subtle pastels combine in Kikuo Saito’s square mixed-media print titled Tin Garden. Saito began his career as a studio assistant for some of the most prominent painters of the 1970s/80s, including Larry Poons, Kenneth Noland, and Helen Frankenthaler, and later developed his own calligraphic style. Tin Garden, published in 1981 by John Szoke, New York, is numbered 10 of an edition of 35. The artist pencil-signed the print at the lower right.

Kikuo Saito (Japanese), Tin Garden, 1981, mixed media/paper, 10/35, pencil signature at lower right, est. $800-$1,000

 

Representative of another genre altogether, Mel Ramos’ lithograph The Nile Queen, is from an edition of 199 and depicts a seductive woman in an emerald-green swimsuit against a background of Ancient Egyptian imagery. A former college art professor, Mel Ramos is best known for his paintings of superheroes and female nudes, which often incorporate elements of realist and abstract art.

Mel Ramos (American, b. 1935-), The Nile Queen, edition of 199, printed in 2000, 28 x 25in, pencil-signed by artist at lower right, est. $800-$900

The Fine Print: Contemporary Art at Down-to-Earth Prices

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time,” wrote Thomas Merton, early 20th-century theologian, author and Trappist monk.

That’s a powerful and appealing statement, isn’t it? If you’ve been watching the prices that fine artworks have been commanding, you may have resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll have to find another (more affordable) way to “find and lose” yourself. Take heart and take note: prints provide the opportunity to own high-quality works by modern art visionaries, including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring, at a fraction of the cost of originals.

That sounds like a fulfilling way to experience the duality of art appreciation described by Merton, so to gain some perspective about collecting contemporary prints we turned to an expert: Wade Terwiliger, co-owner of Palm Beach Modern Auctions.

“Contemporary art is hot, hot, hot, and increasing prices reflect that interest,” Terwiliger said. “As prices for original works of art by noteworthy artists have skyrocketed, prints have gained recognition as a more affordable way for collectors to obtain images by these artists. We’re seeing a broad range of prices for prints, with collectors worldwide getting in on the action online.”

Collecting Tip: Always, always, always ask questions. It’s important to find out the dimensions, the condition, and if artwork has been examined out of its frame.

Solid provenance and/or documentation are a focus for many collectors. So are good names and signed editions, Terwiliger said. And it goes without saying, condition is also an important factor. However, as Terwiliger explained, there’s no single specific factor that outweighs all others. “What we’ve seen is that buyers will determine their own priorities from among this list of criteria,” he said.

During their years of serving consignors and collectors, Palm Beach Modern Auctions has done well with icons of different art movements, according to Terwiliger. They include a number of market- and time-tested artists, including these five luminaries of the contemporary art realm:

Keith Haring, “Apocalypse I” silkscreen, signed edition, circa 1988. Sold for $4,880, Feb. 4, 2017. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990) – Haring tapped into his ability to draw at an early age, observing and learning from his father, who drew cartoons for entertainment. This early influence is evident in much of his work, which often has cartoon-like imagery. However, the themes and topics addressed in his work were not always light-hearted subjects about life and love, but also serious matters such as apartheid, AIDS, and drug addiction.

Haring’s work appeals to all age groups, Terwiliger said. Collectors can obtain at auction pieces from Haring’s Pop Shops operation, such as tote bags, for less than $1,000. Limited edition prints can be had for $3,000-$5,000 at auction. At the upper end of the spectrum, a print of “Three Lithographs: One Plate” signed, circa 1985, sold for $40,000 during a February 2017 auction at Palm Beach Modern Auctions.

“While his original works sell in the millions, it’s incredibly exciting that a print from the same artist can be accessible and affordable,” Terwiliger said.

 

Ellsworth Kelly, “Colored Paper Image XVII” from the “Colored Paper” series, hand-made paper with colored pulp, signed limited edition. Sold for $12,000 + buyer’s premium, Nov. 22, 2017. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923-2015) – At one time, Ellsworth Kelly was considered an artist beyond definition, in that he produced works in a variety of disciplines. He was a painter, sculptor and printmaker, and left his mark on the development of Minimalism, Hard-edge painting, and Pop Art.

During World War II, Kelly served as a member of the “Ghost Army,” a unit tasked with using inflatable tanks to misdirect enemies. His works have appeared in exhibitions around the world, and in permanent commissions such as a mural in Paris, and a memorial for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“If you have a bigger budget or are advancing your collection, Ellsworth Kelly prints are worth considering, but they are in high demand,” Terwiliger said. “His works are very appealing to collectors, as they are colorful, pure, and though seemingly simple, always absorb the viewer into an unexpected experience.”

 

Collecting Tip: “It is essential not just for a beginning collector, but for all collectors, to deal with someone – a gallery, auction house or dealer – that you feel comfortable with. Whether you are buying online or in person, you are making an investment, and that should involve, to some degree, having a relationship of trust in place with the seller.”

 

Bridget Riley, “Untitled (Fragment 7),” silkscreen on plexiglass, circa 1965, signed limited edition. Sold for $25,000, May 6, 2017. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Bridget Riley (British/American, b. 1931) – Like the other artists discussed here, Riley identified a love of and ability to create art at an early age. Deeply involved in the Op-Art movement, Riley reportedly had a childhood fascination with observing cloud formations and the interplay of color and light.

“Specifically, Riley’s graphic black and white geometric-form artworks are most appealing to collectors and are solid market performers,” said Terwiliger, citing the recent sale of “Untitled (Fragment 7)” from an edition of 75 for $25,000 at a May 6, 2017 Palm Beach Modern Auctions event.

 

Takashi Murakami, “Flower Ball (3D) – TURN RED!,” offset lithograph in colors with cold-stamping on high varnish paper, circa 2013, part of the Flowerball series. Sold for $800, May 6, 2017. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Takashi Murakami (Japanese/American, b. 1962) – “Murakami is current, and his works are full of life…a younger generation’s Warhol or Haring,” Terwiliger noted. “We have a young staff who just love him. The recurring characters in his work draw you into a narrative.”

Described by Interview magazine as operating a “multi-tentacled enterprise,” Murakami – in addition to creating paintings and sculptures that fuse Japanese traditions with pop culture images – founded a company that manages and promotes artists, hosts art festivals, produces art-related merchandise, runs a gallery for young Japanese artists, and has collaborated with musicians and designers.

 

Roy Lichtenstein, “Mermaid” lithograph, signed edition, circa 1978. Sold for $8,500, Feb. 4, 2017. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923-1997) – Lichtenstein is an artist with universal appeal. It is reported that, as a child, he was a fan of science-fiction radio programs, and thought his life observed and extensively studied nature. He also served in the army, and later as an art instructor at the university level.

Although he is credited with creating various pieces that incorporated elements of Surrealism and Cubism, it is Lichtenstein’s eye-filling, pixelated pop art that is most recognizable. The breadth of Lichtenstein’s work also provides opportunities for a collection to evolve along with the interest and investment of collectors, Terwilliger explains.

“What I like about Lichtenstein is that he spans a number of collecting ranges, from $500 to $800 to prints that sell for $40,000. A collector could start with a poster in the low to mid hundreds and work their way up to $2,000 to $3,000, such as the “Crying Girl” mailer and from there to the $5,000 to $8,000 range, such as “Pyramids” or “Mermaid.”

 

Collecting Tip: “For works over several thousand dollars, I’d recommend buying prints that have provenance and, if possible, accompanying documentation. Your standards may require a line of provenance that dates back to the artist’s studio, or to a reputable gallery, but be sure to gather such information and keep it on file for all the prints in your collection.”

“Contemporary art challenges us…it broadens our horizons. It asks us to think beyond the limits of conventional wisdom.” – Eli Broad, American entrepreneur, philanthropist and co-founder of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Discover How Japanese Print Makers Impacted Modern Art

This week’s Japanese woodblock print sale presents a unique collection of colorful pieces. With this array of 19th-21st century woodblock prints, bidders can discover how Japanese print makers impacted the development of modern art. Featuring names like Hiroshige and Yoshida, this sale reveals nuanced techniques and traditional Japanese values mixing contemporary pieces with more vintage works.

One of the contemporary works in this sale is by Daniel Kelly, an American artist based in Kyoto, Japan. He created Ebisu (God of Fishermen) in 2011.

Daniel Kelly, ‘Ebisu’ (God of Fishermen), 2011, Japanese woodblock and kimono fabric on handmade Thai paper. Estimate: $1,200-$1,500

Daniel Kelly, ‘Ebisu’ (God of Fishermen), 2011, Japanese woodblock and kimono fabric on handmade Thai paper. Estimate: $1,200-$1,500

Hiroaki Takahashi (Shotei) was the first artists to be signed under Watanabe Shozaburo. He also prdouced and exhibited original paintings and worked as an illustrator of scientific textbooks, magazines, and newspapers. His print of a cat titled Tama first appeared in 1924; the print edition in this auction was published circa 1946-1957.

Hiroaki Takahashi (Shotei), ‘Tama,’ 1924, edition circa 1946-57, series: ‘Japanese scenes on Tanzaku.’ Estimate: $800-$1,200

Hiroaki Takahashi (Shotei), ‘Tama,’ 1924, edition circa 1946-57, series: ‘Japanese scenes on Tanzaku.’ Estimate: $800-$1,200

Torii Ktondo was trained in the tradition of kabuki actor portraits and translated this training into his famous portraits of beautiful women. An example, titled Rain (Ame), is included in this auction. The winning bidder of this lot will receive a free bonus print of Daikokuya poem slips.

Torii Kotondo, ‘Rain’ (Ame), 1929, later limited edition of 100 prints, circa 1980s, published by Ishukankokai. Estimate: $200-$300

Torii Kotondo, ‘Rain’ (Ame), 1929, later limited edition of 100 prints, circa 1980s, published by Ishukankokai. Estimate: $200-$300

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (Taiso) was a Japanese artist often considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e movement of woodblock printing and painting. The term ukiyo-e translates to “pictures of the floating world” and refers to a genre of Japanese art with a wide span of imagery such as kabuki actors, folk tales, landscapes, or even erotica. This movement was critical in forming the Western perception of Japanese art.

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, ‘A New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures,’ 1886, Oban diptych, published by Tsunashima. Estimate: $1,500-$1,800

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, ‘A New Selection of Eastern Brocade Pictures,’ 1886, Oban diptych, published by Tsunashima. Estimate: $1,500-$1,800

Utagawa Yoshifuji’s depiction of the renowned fight between Ushiwakamaru (better known as Minamoto Yoshitsune) and the monk Benkei is one of the highlights of this sale. The diptych, printed in 1854, comes with a preliminary drawing of the right panel. Yoshifuji specialized in pictures of warriors, and also illustrated children’s books.

Utagawa Yoshifuji, ‘Minamoto Yoshitsune Fighting Benkei on Gojo Bridge,’ 1854, Oban diptych, signed ‘Ipposai Yoshifuji ga.’ Estimate: $2,000-$2,500

Utagawa Yoshifuji, ‘Minamoto Yoshitsune Fighting Benkei on Gojo Bridge,’ 1854, Oban diptych, signed ‘Ipposai Yoshifuji ga.’ Estimate: $2,000-$2,500

Utagawa Yoshitora was a designer of ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints and an illustrator of books and newspapers who was active from about 1850 to about 1880. In the print Pictures for the 53 Stations of Tokaido, he complements the illustration with calligraphy.

Utagawa Yoshitora, ‘Calligraphy and Pictures for the 53 Stations of the Tokaido,’ 1872, Oban tate-e, signed ‘Yoshitora’ with artist seal, publisher’s seal: Sawamura Seikichi. Estimate: $1,500-$1,800

Utagawa Yoshitora, ‘Calligraphy and Pictures for the 53 Stations of the Tokaido,’ 1872, Oban tate-e, signed ‘Yoshitora’ with artist seal, publisher’s seal: Sawamura Seikichi. Estimate: $1,500-$1,800

Register now to bid in this week’s dynamic Japanese woodblock prints auction.

6 Japanese Woodblock Prints with Contemporary Touch

This weekend we are presenting the biggest auction of Japanese woodblock prints to date. Approximately 170 woodblock prints spanning the 19th century to the present will be going up for bids.

Featuring names like Hiroshige and Yoshida, this sale reveals nuanced techniques and traditional Japanese values. Whether capturing the serenity of a temple or a moonlit ocean, these images exemplify both fine art and elegant decoration.

It may come as a surprise, but not all Japanese woodblock prints are created by native Japanese. A few were Western artists who mastered woodblock printing while working there.

A living artist represented in the auction is Daniel Kelly, an American based in Kyoto, Japan. He works primarily in painting and printmaking. His 2015 print titled Red Hook was done in the chine-colle technique, which pulls fine details off the plate.

Daniel Kelly, ‘Red Hook,’ 2015, Japanese woodblock print, chine colle, 36 x 40 inches, edition size of 90. Estimate: $2,000-$2,200

Daniel Kelly, ‘Red Hook,’ 2015, Japanese woodblock print, chine colle, 36 x 40 inches, edition size of 90. Estimate: $2,000-$2,200

Another was Paul Jacoulet (1902-1960), a Parisian artist who spent most of his life in Japan and is recognized for his work in Japanese woodblock printing. Here you’ll see his print of Ebisu, Dieu du Bonheur Personnifie.

Paul Jacoulet, ‘Ebisu, Dieu du Bonheur Personnifie,’ 1952. Estimate: $1,000-$1,400

Paul Jacoulet, ‘Ebisu, Dieu du Bonheur Personnifie,’ 1952. Estimate: $1,000-$1,400

Yet another contemporary artist whose work is featured in the auction is Katsunori Hamanishi. His Two Poems mezzotint print is accented in gold leaf.

Katsunori Hamanishi (b. 1949), ‘Two Poems,’ 2015, mezzotint and gold leaf, edition size 70. Estimate: $1,100-$1,200

Katsunori Hamanishi (b. 1949), ‘Two Poems,’ 2015, mezzotint and gold leaf, edition size 70. Estimate: $1,100-$1,200

Kiyoshi Saito (1907-1997) was a Japanese sosaku hanga artist. He was one of the first Japanese printmakers to win at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1951. His 1967 woodblock print titled Onri An Kyoto D, 1967, is one of the low-key highlights in the sale.

Kiyoshi Saito, ‘Onri An Kyoto D,’ 1967, edition size 100. Estimate: $1,000-$1,100

Kiyoshi Saito, ‘Onri An Kyoto D,’ 1967, edition size 100. Estimate: $1,000-$1,100

Keisai Eisen (1790-1848) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist who specialized in bijin-ga print designs of beautiful women. In addition to producing a prolific number of prints, he was also a writer. His woodblock prints, Sumida River, is featured in the auction.

Keisai Eisen, ‘Sumida River,’ ‘Famous Views of Edo and Beauties Compared,’ 1830s. Estimate: $1,300-$1,500

Keisai Eisen, ‘Sumida River,’ ‘Famous Views of Edo and Beauties Compared,’ 1830s. Estimate: $1,300-$1,500

Finally, a famous triptych by Utagawa Kuniyoshi recalls the legend of Shuten-doji and Minamoto no Yorimitsu. Shuten-doji was a dreaded ogre who preyed upon Kyoto, kidnapping young women and eating all men who ventured into his realm. The print depicts how the emperor’s greatest warrior prevailed over the oni after a great battle.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, ‘Minamoto no Yorimitsu and Shuten-doji,’ triptych, 19th century. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, ‘Minamoto no Yorimitsu and Shuten-doji,’ triptych, 19th century. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000

View the fully illustrated catalog of Japanese woodblock prints and register to bid.