Clash of the Titans
Work by Richter and Calder Smash Estimates at Bonhams Post-war & Contemporary Art Sale in New York

Signature works by Gerhard Richter and Alexander Calder, shattered their estimates at Bonhams' Post-War & Contemporary Art sale today (November 18) in New York. Created during the peak of Richter's implementation of a pioneering new form of abstraction, Abstraktes Bild (Untitled) 679-3 sold for $3,450,312 against an estimate of $1,500,000- 2,500,000. Calder's Little Red and Blue, a trademark monumental mobile by the innovative 20th century master of sculptural abstraction, sold for $2,070,312. It had been estimated at $1,000,000- 1,500,000.

The sale made a total of $7,817,538 with 71% by sold by lot and 89% sold by value.

Jacqueline Towers-Perkins, Bonhams Vice President, Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, commented: "Both Richter's Abstraktes Bild (Untitled) 679-3 and Calder's Little Red and Blue were exceptional signature works by two titans of contemporary art. Each work was created during pivotal points in their careers – and both are simply spectacular. This was the first time that these two masterworks had been offered at auction, and I am ecstatic that they both achieved such fantastic results at Bonhams."

Other highlights include:

A NEW AUCTION RECORD for Elaine Lustig Cohen. Black Pilaster V,1979. Sold for $25,312. (Estimate: $5,000-7,000).
• Barry Flanagan (1941-2009), Large Boxing Hare on Anvil, 1984. Sold for $500,312. (Estimate: $400,000-600,000).
• Joan Mitchell (1926-1992), Untitled, 1983. Sold for $225,312. (Estimate: $200,000-300,000).
• Takashi Murakami (born 1962), Tongari-kun (Mr. Pointy) Costume, 2003. Sold for $187,812. (Estimate: $180,000-250,000).

Gerhard Richter (1932-)

Born in Dresden in 1932, Richter studied at Dresden Art Academy before moving to Düsseldorf in 1961 where he introduced his trademark 'blur' in photo-paintings. In the late 1960s, Richter redirected his attention to abstraction, and by the early 1980s, he embarked upon an exploration into a new frontier of abstraction. Throughout his long career, Richter has continued to move between styles, from Photorealism to experiments in sculpture and installation. His work has been the subject of touring retrospectives at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; the Tate Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.

Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

Calder was born into a family of well-established sculptors in 1898. In 1926, he moved to Paris and began to develop his wire sculpture and his Cirque Calder (1926–1931), a unique body of performance art made from wire and a spectrum of found materials. By 1932, he had created his first suspended mobile that was free from all mechanization, propelled instead by human intervention or air currents. Calder's works can be found in the collections of numerous international institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


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