Art on Sale. Warhol Iconic Work ‘The Shadow’ 1981. From a private UK collection, the signature work will lead Roseberys auction of Modern & Contemporary Prints, Multiples & Editions. Saturday 25 April 2015 at 10am, London.
“It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. Everybody has their own America, and then they have the pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can’t see.” Andy Warhol
Roseberys London are pleased to announce that the Andy Warhol masterpiece, “The Shadow”, will highlight their second specialist sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints, which will also include Multiples & Editions, on Saturday 25 April.
Roseberys Director and Head of Paintings Marcus Grey said: “At a time of continued buoyancy in the global art market for Modern and Contemporary art, we are delighted to be presenting such a diverse and interesting specialist auction. Roseberys has a long tradition of offering works by some of the most interesting artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, and we are delighted to have our sale highlighted by one of Warhol’s classic prints.”
From the mid-1970s Andy Warhol developed a preoccupation with the haunting nature of shadows. A series of variously silkscreened and hand painted canvases, created during 1978-9 and entitled “Shadows”, saw him confront shadows as a subject for the first time, and paved the way for future experimentations with the theme.
The 1981 screenprint in colours with diamond dust, “The Shadow”, is a self-portrait belonging to the Myth series of ten screenprints that exemplify Warhol’s sense of the powerful motifs of his time. They portray icons from 1950s America that for Warhol represented the relationship between celebrity and consumerism. Subjects include Superman, Uncle Sam, Greta Garbo, Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus, all characters that embody the mythology of celebrity, and who can, through the power of media perpetuated image, sell mass produced products depicting themselves.
The Shadow was a fictional radio crime fighter from Warhol’s childhood during the 1930’s. Here, Warhol himself portrays the hero, and as he glances toward the viewer, a strong nearby light casts his profile in a long, dramatic, and darkened shadow. Signed and numbered 55/200 in pencil, the screenprint carries an estimate of £20,000 – 25,000. [Lot 100]
Another iconic Warhol to be featured in the sale comes in the form of his late 1970s mixed media sculpture “Brillo Box”. The ‘Brillo Boxes’ were his first sculptural works and were exhibited in 1964 at Stable Gallery in New York. The sculptures were intended to raise questions about society’s accepted ideas about, and definitions of, “high art” using deadpan humour and pop culture imagery. They were initially met with confusion and uncertainty by the public, but the use of an everyday object challenged the historical idea of art as an aesthetically pleasing medium.
He appropriated a consumer-minded product (the cardboard boxes with real Brillo pads still inside) and elevated them into the realm of fine art sculpture. Warhol’s ‘Brillo Boxes’ took the mundane and transformed it into something thought-provoking, encouraging viewers to reassess the aesthetics found in commercialism, as well as re-evaluate their own ideas about the definition of art. The sculpture is the property of a private Italian Warhol collector and is estimated to sell for £3,000 – 4,000. [Lot 275]
Contemporary artist Takashi Murakami is also known for work which often challenges what is considered to be ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. The artist invented the term ‘Superflat’ which is the moniker that is used to describe his work, as well as being a term to describe both the artistic characteristics of traditional Japanese art and the characteristics of culture and society in post-war Japan.
The artist published his ‘Superflat’ theory in a catalogue for an exhibition of the same name, curated for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2000. The theory refers to various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the shallowness of contemporary Japanese culture. In much the same way as Warhol before him, and in accordance with the ‘Superflat’ concept, Murakami repackages elements that are usually considered as ‘low’ art and presents them in the ‘high’ art market, or repackages his ‘high’ artworks as consumer products for the ‘low’ art consumerist market. His plastic and cardboard mixed media work “Superflat Museum” is a 2005 Los Angeles Edition, and is estimated to sell for £800-1,000. [Lot 292]
The auction will be held on Saturday 25 April 2015, and will be the second specialist sale of Modern and Contemporary Prints held by the company and will, for the first time, include Multiples and Editions. The auction is on view from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 April at Roseberys London saleroom, 70/76 Knights Hill, SE27 0JD. The fully illustrated catalogue can found online at www.roseberys.co.uk, and online bidding is provided through the services of www.the-saleroom.com and www.liveauctioneers.com.