Christies Modern and Contemporary Spring Auction Preview 2014


Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1981 acrylic, oilstick and metallic spray enamel on canvas 68 x 103 inches

I love to go to the auction previews to see things that can’t normally be seen. Christies had some striking paintings!  Once again in my opinion, they have edged out Sotheby’s.  The quality and the presentation seemed so much higher.  Above is one of the three Basquiat paintings that I saw; there may have been more.  It was big and bright.  Below is a smaller one.


Jean-Michel Basquiat Untitled 1981 oilstick on paper 43 x 30 inches

Mark Rothko Untitled 1952 oil on canvas 103 x 62.5 inches

The painting in the number one spot as you enter was a beautiful Rothko, nicely displayed on a black wall.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but the middle orange part is quite thick.


Cy Twombly Untitled 1952 oil, wax crayon and graphite on canvas 39 x 43 inches

Francis Bacon was represented with another super large triptych of another of his lovers.  I forget the name.  The set were impressive, but not as striking as the triptych he did of Lucien Freud with the luminous golden ochre background that was auctioned last year and sold for over $100 million.

There were three Joan Mitchell paintings.  A large double painting, a large single canvas and a small one.  


Joan Mitchell Border 1989 oil on canvas 45.5 x 35 inches

My favorite was actually the small one (above) but they were all really nice.  The small one was painted quite late in her life.

Joan Mitchell Untitled 1960 oil on canvas 98 x 80.25 inches


Joan Mitchell Aires de Marion 1975-76 oil on canvas 94.25 x 141.5 inches

I guess her whole career was represented since the large one was early and the diptych as mid-career.  Wow! I love Joan Mitchell!

There was an interesting Alice Neel; it wasn’t a portrait!  She definitely did her own thing.  Maybe a bit Hockneyish?


Alice Neel Gladiolas 1974 oil on canvas 46 x 32 inches

And then there were the ubiquitous Warhols, including the Small Electric Chair, which I don’t care for because I think it has bad karma.


Andy Warhol 6 Dollar Signs 1982 synthetic polymers and silkscreen inks on canvas each is 20 x 16 inches


Andy Warhol Marilyn Prints

The only thing I didn’t like was a Richard Prince photograph of a naked very young girl - very sexualized if you ask me.  I’m sorry but it seemed like child pornography to me.  Having survived such a childhood myself, I took offense to Christie’s condoning the sexploitation of children under the guise of art. They even had  a sign warning people of explicit sexual content, so it’s not like they could argue it is not sexual.

© Trixie Pitts 2009