Christie’s New York Announces Prints & Multiples Auction

Christie’s New York announces the Prints & Multiples Sale on April 26 and 27. The auction features 482 lots including an impressive variety of American, Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary prints estimated in the region of $7 million. Highlights in the sale include works by Edvard Munch, as well as Works from the Collection of Michael Crichton — best-selling author, screenwriter, film director and producer — and Pop Art prints by artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Works from the Collection of Michael Crichton
The Print Department will offer Works from the Collection of Michael Crichton. Crichton was renowned for his riveting scientific thrillers such as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Timeline, The Lost World, Rising Sun, and State of Fear, as well as the dramatic television series ER. This rich collection of Post-War prints will be spread over three sales including the Prints & Multiples Sale on April 26-27, the Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 11, and the Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sale on May 12. The Prints & Multiples Sale will contain a selection of fourteen prints from the collection. Among the works to be offered are two prints by Jasper Johns, Two Flags (Whitney Anniversary) (ULAE 207) (estimate: $20,000-30,000) and Light Bulb (ULAE 170) (estimate: $5,000-7,000).

Prints by Edvard Munch
Leading the sale are three rare and distinguished prints by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The works Der Kuss (estimate: $150,000-250,000), Madonna (estimate: $350,000-500,000), and Das kranke Kind I (estimate: $100,000-150,000) are each intimate and emotionally charged images. The intertwining nude bodies in Munch’s Der Kuss create a physical and psychological tension, as the viewer becomes a voyeur peering in on the lovers’ intimate embrace. First shown in Oslo in 1895, Der Kuss was considered so provocative that officials decreed it immoral and prohibited it from exhibition. An equally evocative image, Madonna is often assigned an eroticized interpretation. The dark background of the Madonna frames and isolates the nude torso in the center of the composition, emphasizing the significance of her sexuality. In contrast to the swirling blackness behind the figure, the relaxed face of the Madonna creates a sense of peacefulness and calm. One of Munch’s most acclaimed subjects, it is a work for a true connoisseur.

Pop Art Prints
A robust selection of Pop Art works are offered in the Prints & Multiples Sale including works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann Nude with Yellow Pillow (estimate: $100,000-150,000), a later work by Lichtenstein, is a homage to his own oeuvre. Toward the end of his life the artist reflected on his own career and art historical legacy through new experimentation in his work, creating works that were self-referential. The figure in the print references art historical nudes while also suggesting that Lichtenstein believes himself to be a part of that tradition. And yet the confrontational gaze of the women rendered in a Pop style also marks his break from that convention, a suggestion of how the artist would like to be remembered.

American Prints: George Wesley Bellows
A selection of American prints, including eight works by George Wesley Bellows, also highlight the sale. Bellows was a member of the Ashcan School and was famous for depicting images of class struggle. Splinter Beach (estimate: $6,000-8,000) and Tennis (Tennis Tournament) (estimate: $4,000-6,000) are both scenes indicating the rise of social mobility in the United States. In these prints members of the middle class are taking part in leisurely pastimes, spending a day at the beach and watching a tennis match. Before the turn of the century, leisure activities were only enjoyed by high society; Bellows shows that times were changing. His images have a rigorous quality which reflects the tumultuous nature of the class struggle. This extensive selection of lithographs provides iconic examples of Bellows’ unique style.