Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis [Ferus Type] and Most Wanted Men, No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr., 1964 To Highlight Chistie’s Evening Sale Of Post-War And Contemporary Art

 

On May 17, Christie’s will offer Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis [Ferus Type], 1963 as a central highlight of its Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art (estimate in the region of $30 million*). The silver Elvis paintings that Warhol made in the summer of 1963 are among the defining icons of his oeuvre. Representing the culmination of several series of celebrity portraits that Warhol made in the early 1960s, these definitive ‘icons of an icon’ rank amongst the most resonant and enduring pictorial statements of his art. Double Elvis pays tribute to a larger-than-life superstar whose international fame brought him the level of celebrity Warhol himself so coveted and admired. Double Elvis unites two of the most venerated men of modern times—the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Prince of Pop.christies_logo_black-hr_mdtv71b

Double Elvis [Ferus Type] will be offered alongside Warhol’s controversial Most Wanted Men, No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr., 1964, uniting two exceptional canvases that share in the artist’s obsession with American icons of all kinds.

Alex Rotter, Co-Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “The King of Rock’n’Roll and the career criminal – icons of icons. These two paintings are very memorable and early examples of Warhol’s profound understanding of fame. Both works, pure black silkscreen on silver and white backgrounds, are the best of Andy Warhol in one auction. We are thrilled to present them together in Christie’s New York sale of Post-War and Contemporary art.

Loic Gouzer, Co-Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “For Warhol, an artist who was obsessed with popular culture and fame, Elvis was a perfect subject. With its monumental size and its shimmering silver surface, this painting encapsulates the glamour and power of Rock and Roll as Warhol saw it. Coming from one of the most ground-breaking exhibitions ever staged for Warhol, this painting holds a paramount place within the pantheon of his celebrity portraits.

Andy Warhold_s Double Elvis [Ferus Type]

Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis [Ferus Type], 1963

Warhol’s Double Elvis does not portray Elvis the hip-shaking musician but rather Elvis the actor playing a role in the 1960 movie Flaming Star, a liberal-themed Western in which Presley plays Pacer Burton, a half-Kiowa youth torn between two cultures. The painting is a unique variation from a group of portraits of single and multiplied Elvises created especially for Warhol’s second solo exhibition at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles—the center of America’s entertainment industry. Of the twenty-two extant ‘Ferus Type’ Elvis works, eleven are in museum collections, including the canvas Bob Dylan insisted on taking in exchange for his presence in a Warhol film, now housed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Double Elvis features two black screenprinted images of the King on a silver painted ground. A bold, high-contrast figure is accompanied by its ghostly duplicate, collapsing Warhol’s strategy of serialization into a single frame, while also providing an eerie reminder that Presley was a twin, his brother being lost at birth. When the crowd of cloned Elvises was shown at the Ferus Gallery, the paintings were both confrontational and an almost anonymous backdrop.

The Ferus Gallery’s director, Irving Blum, had tried to press on Warhol the idea of a mini-retrospective, writing, “your exhibition should be the most intense and far-reaching composite of past work, and the Elvis paintings should be shown in the rear of my gallery area.” Warhol, however, insisted on focusing on his new work and planned to utilize the gallery’s physical space as part of a highly conceptual installation. Before his arrival, Warhol instructed Blum to line the front room with his series of Elvis paintings and the back room with portraits of Elizabeth Taylor.

The repetition of the image created an impression of mass production that had rarely been seen before in an artistic context. The effect was of great interest to artists like Larry Bell, who wrote in response to the exhibition: “It is my opinion that Andy Warhol is an incredibly important artist; he has been able to take painting as we know it, and completely change the frame of reference of painting as we know it, and do it successfully in his own terms. These terms are also terms that we may not understand … In any event, nothing can take away from it the important changes that the work itself has made in the considerations of other artists.

Andy Warhol_s Most Wanted Men, No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr.

Andy Warhol’s Most Wanted Men, No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr.

Christie’s will also offer Andy Warhol’s Most Wanted Men, No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr., 1964 (estimate in the range of $30 million*) as a highlight of its May 17th Evening Sale. This diptych belongs to one of the artist’s controversial Most Wanted Men series, which was originally conceived as a monumental mural to celebrate the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and famously destroyed just a few days before the fair’s official opening. Later that year, Warhol made a series of nearly two dozen larger than life-size canvases featuring thirteen of these “most wanted” men, among them was the present work.

About Most Wanted, Gouzer remarked: “From the spotlight of Hollywood to the crackling flash light of a prison mug shot, these two works exemplify Warhol’s fascination with exploring life’s dichotomy. Throughout his career, Warhol exposed the tenuousness existing between fame and shame and between life and death one silkscreen at a time. It is a real privilege to be able to stage this Warholian collision between the light and glory of Double Elvis and the darkness and underground grit of the Most Wanted Men.

Rotter continued: “Despite its dark subject matter, Most Wanted Men No. 11, John Joseph H., Jr. fits perfectly within Andy Warhol’s Pop vernacular. Just as he did with his paintings of Elvis, Liz Taylor, Campbell’s Soup cans, and Coca-Cola bottles, Warhol set out to embrace the entire range of Americana. Thirty years later, the popularity of Television hits as America’s Most Wanted and the current trend for social media hashtags such ‘#hotfelon’ personified by Jeremy Meeks, this work demonstrates that the phenomenon which Warhol had identified is still alive and well. It is exceptionally rare that examples from this notorious series come to auction, and we expect that it will be met with enthusiasm across the collecting community. Continue reading

Philadelphia Museum of Art Receives Gift of Five Sculptures from Cy Twombly Foundation

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130, 215-763-8100) announced the acquisition of five major sculptures by Cy Twombly, one of the foremost American artists of the 20th century. This generous gift of the Cy Twombly Foundation will make these works, which were initially selected for exhibition at the Museum in 2011 by the artist himself, a permanent part of the Museum’s collection.

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Rotalla, Zurich, 1990. , Cy Twombly, American, 1928 – 2011, Bronze, 27 15/16 x 26 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 41 × 34 × 27 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

The Philadelphia Museum of Art contains one of the country’s most important collections of Cy Twombly’s works. In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art became the first public institution in the United States to devote a room to the permanent display of Twombly’s art with Fifty Days at Iliam. From April 2012 until March 2016, a selection of six sculptures, including the five works recently given to the Museum, was placed on view in the Atrium Gallery of Perelman Building.

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Anabasis (Bronze), 2011., Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Bronze, 46 1/16 x 19 1/8 x 19 5/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 39 × 26 1/4 × 26 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation.

These bronzes including Untitled, Rome, 1980; Rotalla, Zurich, 1990; Untitled, Rome, 1997; Victory, conceived 1987, cast 2005; and Anabasis (Bronze), 2011, were chosen by Twombly because they complemented his masterful Fifty Days at Iliam, 1978, a suite of 10 monumental canvases that the Museum acquired in 1989. Varied in size and shape, with richly textured surfaces, these works, although fundamentally abstract, are informed by a classical sensibility and clearly reflect the artist’s sustained engagement with the art of the ancient world. On November 19, 2016, the sculptures will be placed on view in galleries 184 and 185, alongside related loans and works by Twombly from the collection.

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Untitled, Rome, 1997. Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Bronze, 32 1/2 x 29 1/8 x 13 3/8 inches, Base (pedestal): 38 × 36 × 20 1/2 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, stated: “The Museum is deeply grateful to the Cy Twombly Foundation for this extraordinary gift. Like the artist’s Fifty Days at Iliam, this remarkable group of sculptures evokes the timeless themes sounded in Homer’s account of the Trojan War and offers a profound meditation on both classical history and the nature of modernity. They represent an enormously important addition to our holdings of work by this great artist, who is a key figure in the history of contemporary art. They will be united with a sixth sculpture by the artist, which is a promised gift of Keith L. and Katherine Sachs, and two important paintings from the bequest of Daniel Dietrich.”

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Untitled, Rome, 1980. Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Bronze, 15 3/16 x 16 9/16 x 7 5/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 42 × 34 × 27 inches, Base (small platform): 3 1/2 × 16 × 21 1/4 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said: “For more than 25 years our Museum has dedicated a gallery to the display of Twombly’s work. The generous gift of this extraordinary group of sculptures deepens even further the strong connection between Philadelphia and the work of an artist whose influence and legacy are more than ever strong and alive.”

Cy Twombly (1928–2011) was born in Lexington, Virginia. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1947-49), Art Students League, New York (1950-51), and Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1951-52). He lived much of his later life in Rome.

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Victory, Conceived 1987, cast 2005. Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Patinated bronze, 12 feet 1 inches × 35 inches × 13 1/2 inches, Base (platform): 4 1/2 × 60 × 37 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

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The Whitney Museum of American Art to Showcase Transformative Gift: Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner

November 20, 2015 – March 6, 2016

Celebrating an extraordinary and transformative gift of more than 850 works collectively given to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, both institutions will present consecutive exhibitions featuring a selection of works from the gift. The Whitney’s presentation of Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner opens on November 20 in the Museum’s new downtown home and runs through March 6, 2016. The Pompidou’s exhibition follows the New York presentation, opening in Paris on June 9, 2016. The exhibition is organized by Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Christine Macel, chief curator and head of the department of contemporary and prospective creation, Centre Pompidou, with Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art. An illustrated catalogue documenting the collection will accompany the exhibitions.

Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling, 2000. Inkjet print: sheet, 70 1/2 × 49 13/16 (179.1 × 126.5); image, 60 11/16 × 47 1/16 (154.1 × 119.5). Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.10

Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling, 2000. Inkjet print: sheet, 70 1/2 × 49 13/16 (179.1 × 126.5); image, 60 11/16 × 47 1/16 (154.1 × 119.5). Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.10

Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, noted, “We are delighted to present this exhibition in honor of the magnanimous gift of art we received from Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner—one of the largest in the Whitney’s history and a tremendous statement of support for the Museum and its new building. Thea and Ethan are among the most astute collectors of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century art and their gift adds enormous strength to the Whitney’s collection. We are deeply grateful to them and are pleased to be collaborating with our friends at the Pompidou.”

This exhibition celebrates this remarkable gift as well as the perspicacious collecting of Westreich Wagner and Wagner by exploring several of the ideas and themes that recur in the collection across generations, mediums, and nationalities: the rise of mass media and the darker side of advertising; the adoption of street style and the punk aesthetic; the decorative arts and their ability to communicate often political messages; reflections on how technology has radically altered commerce, communication, and industry; and the artist as celebrity, among others.

Charline von Heyl, Boogey, 2004. Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on canvas, 82 1/16 × 78 1/8 (208.4 × 198.4) Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2011.472

Charline von Heyl, Boogey, 2004. Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on canvas, 82 1/16 × 78 1/8 (208.4 × 198.4)
Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2011.472

Westreich Wagner and Wagner began collecting art in the 1980s and continue to collect today. They have consistently focused their attention on emerging artists, acquiring works soon after they were made, often straight out of the artists’ studios. Many of these artists were relatively unknown at the time, but have since become some of the most heralded figures of their generation—notably Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Christopher Wool. The couple has also pursued a specific interest in photography, building deep holdings of the work of landmark figures such as Lee Friedlander and Robert Adams while also acquiring photographs by a diverse range of artists, including Liz Deschenes, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Annette Kelm, and Josephine Pryde. Continuously motivated by the learning challenges posed by new expressions and ideas, the two have examined the world around them through the eyes of the artists whose work they follow and acquire; their collection is a unique, personal reflection on the “contemporary moment” as it has evolved over the last several decades.

Liz Deschenes, Green Screen #7, 2001. Chromogenic print: sheet, 49 9/16 × 66 (125.9 × 167.6) Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.12

Liz Deschenes, Green Screen #7, 2001. Chromogenic print: sheet, 49 9/16 × 66 (125.9 × 167.6)
Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.12

The gift to the Whitney encompasses nearly five hundred and fifty works, representing a cross section of mediums, by more than seventy-five artists and collectives. In some cases works are by artists who will enter the collection for the first time and in others they add depth to our holdings of artists we have championed. The Pompidou is receiving more than three hundred works by some forty European artists. While the collection is divided between the two institutions, with works by American artists going to the Whitney and by non-American artists going to the Pompidou, the exhibitions draw from both gifts aiming to reveal the international dialogue intrinsic to contemporary art. Continue reading