The Best and the Brightest

All of the big names – Warhol, Dubuffet, Cézanne – are coming together under an umbrella of exciting, big-hitting auctions.

The Best and the Brightest

From 4 to 7 June, four auctions are hitting the German house of Dorotheum: Modern Art (4 June), Jewellery (5 June), Post-war and Contemporary Art I & II (5-6 June), and Wristwatches and Pocketwatches (7 June). And even though the quantities are vast (with over 3,000 lots are on offer), within each sale the quality remains steadfast and of an international scale.

The modern, post-war and contemporary art pieces are particularly exciting, encompassing some of the best and the brightest names: Warhol, Dubuffet, Balla, Cézanne, Andre, Ray, Marini, Fontana and Masson, to name only a small selection.

Andy Warhol, ‘Judy Garland and Liza Minelli’, 1978. Photo: Dorotheum
Andy Warhol, ‘Judy Garland and Liza Minelli’, 1978. Photo: Dorotheum

One of the most exciting pieces in the Post-war & Contemporary Art sale is undoubtedly this 1978 work, Judy Garland and Liza Minelli.

Known for his pop art images of Marilyn Monroe and other celebrities, reproduced on a massive scale, within this work Warhol brings the same tone – a tragic diva depicted with a permanent, mask-like smile. The 13 photos featuring Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minelli are contrived and staged and appear tacked up as if on a pin board. Both women were child stars and shot to global stardom at a young age, along with the unwelcome side effects. 1978, when the work was created, was a period when the artist and Minelli (the two good friends) were frequent visitors to New York’s legendary Studio 54.

Jean Dubuffet, ‘Bon Espoir (Paysage avec Personnages or Landscape with Figure)’, 1955. Photo: Dorotheum
Jean Dubuffet, ‘Bon Espoir (Paysage avec Personnages or Landscape with Figure)’, 1955. Photo: Dorotheum

Jean Dubuffet: early cave paintings, graffiti, children’s scrabbles, works by the mentally ill. Whatever elements are conjured when you think of the French artist, it’s always akin to an arguably archaeological investigation of the human soul. Known as the ‘father’ of the influential art brut movement of raw, direct and primal art, three works by Dubuffet are up for sale.

In Paysage avec Personnages (Landscape with Figure), figures in stylistic rendering are inscribed into the landscape, so that the earth and all its inhabitants are fused and become one. Tête (Head), is a simplistic and universal no-nonsense drawing of the most essential components, and Buisson au papillon (Bush with Butterfly) immediately brings to mind an autumn season, with offset, crinkled brown leaves and pieces of other organic materials and debris.

Hermann Max Pechstein, ‘Junges Mädchen am Meer (Young Girl by the Sea)’, 1923. Photo: Dorotheum
Hermann Max Pechstein, ‘Junges Mädchen am Meer (Young Girl by the Sea)’, 1923. Photo: Dorotheum

Though loud, vibrant colours immediately come to mind when thinking of the German expressionist artist Hermann Max Pechstein, within this work – Junges Mädchen am Meer (Young Girl by the Sea) – it is a beautiful, balanced composition of colours that is depicted.

The 1923 brush strokes are spontaneous, but within the canvas Pechstein’s desire for paradise and harmony – both of nature and of humans – comes to the fore. During the Nazi period, Pechstein was considered a ‘degenerate’ artist; he married the model depicted in this painting, Marta Möller, in the same year that the work was created.

Man Ray, ‘Revolving Doors II Long Distance’, 1919. Photo: Dorotheum
Man Ray, ‘Revolving Doors II Long Distance’, 1919. Photo: Dorotheum

Though there is an infinite number of works we could explore within the Dorotheum auctions, we end this visual art tour with the American visual artist Man Ray, who was known not only for his surrealist photographs and rayographs but also his psychedelic collages. He has two works for sale at Dorotheum.

In 1919, Ray arranged ten collages in New York’s Daniel Gallery in the shape of a revolving door. The series, titled Revolving Doors, is, as the artist put it, a collection of ‘pseudoscientific abstractions’ that prophetically played with kinetics and the relationship between humans and machines.

He turned this series of collages into oil paintings in 1942 and gave them whimsical titles, such as Concrete Mixer, The Meeting and Dragonfly. Within Revolving Doors II Long Distance, shapes of an airship are overlapped with stripes of bright colours – a symbol of the boundless energy of the technological sphere and its endless expansion.

As a reminder, Dorotheum’s sales are taking place across 4, 5, 6 and 7 June, and include not only the exquisite artworks depicted here but also jewellery, watches and much more.

Explore all lots available at Dorotheum here