Christie’s to Auction Art from the Collection of Robert Shapazian

Christie’s New York announced the sale of The Collection of Robert Shapazian. Shapazian’s passion for the arts was reflected in his life-long dedication to the field, his friendships with those in it and his personal, yet masterful collection which Christie’s will offer in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sales and other various auctions, beginning this fall. The Collection of Robert Shapazian includes 69 works of art including standout examples by Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp and Roy Lichtenstein. The collection is expected to realize $22-$31 million.

Robert Shapazian’s affinity for art and collecting was deep and down to the core. Robert was raised in Fresno, California, where his family was involved in the agricultural business. He began collecting at age 13, and sold works to major museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, while in his teens. Shapazian parlayed his knowledge and reverence for the arts into modestly beginning a collection of Art Deco objets d’art and experimental photography, specifically the constructivist and Bauhaus photographs of Rodchenko, Lissitzky and Moholy-Nagy. He developed a fondness later on for 19th Century photographers including Nadar, and Roger Parry, as well as 20th Century avant-garde photography such as Man Ray. Shapazian, who completed a PhD in English at Harvard also, was deeply interested in Marcel Duchamp, who made an indelible impact on his life. There are 13 works from Duchamp in the Shapazian collection, including the rare and iconic Monte Carlo Bond #1.

After being elected to the photographic committees of both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Art, he moved to Los Angeles where he was tapped by Sam Francis to produce books for Lapis Press in Venice, California. It was there that Shapazian got to flex his creative muscles as well as his deft interpersonal skills, forging bonds with artists, writers and collectors. He published books on philosophy, art and literature and worked with artist such as Ed Ruscha and William Wegman as well as supporting young authors both by mentorship as well as financially.

In 1994, Larry Gagosian asked Shapazian to be the founding director of his Beverly Hills gallery, where he earned a reputation of being proactive about bringing new talent to the gallery and worked with artists and premier collectors such as Eli and Edythe Broad for a decade. At Gagosian, Shapazian honed his obsession with Andy Warhol and declared him to be the single greatest form-giver to art since the second half of the 20th century.

Shapazian’s collection embodies a lifetime of immersion in the arts, specifically of the Post-War and Contemporary period. There are 13 works by Duchamp, 16 works by Warhol and two by Damien Hirst, and Roy Lichtenstein.

The Andy Warhol group presents every important theme from Andy Warhol’s career: Campbell Soup, Marilyn Monroe, The Electric Chair, Jacqueline Kennedy, Grocery Boxes, and the Dollar Sign, to be offered in both the Post-War and Contemporary Evening and Day Sales to be held on November 10 and 11, the evening sale will include the collection’s top lot Small Campbell’s Soup Can (Tomato), 1962 (estimate: $6,000,000-8,000,000). The work which branded Warhol’s as the preeminent Pop artist, Marilyn, 1962 (estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000), in acrylic and silkscreen on linen, as well as the artist’s large Dollar Sign, 1981, (estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000) and Camouflage, painted in 1962 (estimate: $600,000-800,000).

Duchamp’s Monte Carlo Bond, 1924 (estimate: $400,000-600,000), Damien Hirst’s Cefoperazone, 2007 ($500,000-700,000) and Chop by Roy Lichtenstein, 1963, (estimate: $600,000-800,000), are other notable works to be presented in the Post-War and Contemporary Evening sale.

The Post-War and Contemporary Day Sale highlights include Marcel Duchamp Boite en Valise (estimate: $150,000-200,000); Lichtein’s Study for Still Life with Candle, 1972 (estimate: $90,000-120,000), and Duchamp’s S L.H.O.O.Q. (S.369), 1964 (estimate: $70,000-100,000), are additional highlights.

There will also be works from the Shapazian Collection in the 20th Century Decorative Art & Design Sale on December 15, such as a Jules Leleu Lacquered Wood Three-Piece Salon Suite, 1931 (estimate: $12,000-18,000) and an Edgar Brandt Wrought Iron Bookcase, circa 1925 (estimate: $6,000-8,000).

Image: Andy Warhol, Small Campbell’s soup Can (Tomato). Signed ‘Andy Warhol’ (top of canvas, on reverse), Casein and pencil on linen, 20 x 16 in. executed in 1962. Estimate: $6,000,000 – 8,000,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2010.

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