• Art of the Americas, Evening Sale

But there won’t be only European Modern & Impressionist art. On May 9th it will be the masterpieces from Americas turn, with  Art of the Americas, Evening Sale. Here , among the highlight we can find a very unique work by Diego Riviera almost unseen , The Rivals ($5. 000. 000 /7.000.000), realized in 1931 by the artist while he was traveling with his love Frida Kahlo to meet the Rockefeller,  who have been the only owner until this sale.

Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
The Rivals
Estimate USD 5,000,000 – USD 7,000,000

Virgilio Garza, Head of Latin American Art, Christie’s: “Diego Rivera painted episodes of history, past and present, in panoramic frescos where social, political and economic forces were at play. But it is the easel works that reveal a Rivera less motivated by ideology and more by his love for the common man, sense of place and tradition. The Rivals, inspired by a local festivity from the state of Oaxaca, is masterfully expressed through the interplay of planes and colors, beautifully delineated figures, and shapes reduced to their essence. Not only is this an iconic image presenting one of Rivera’s most treasured subjects, its provenance is impeccable. The painting is Rivera’s calling card to New York, debuting at his MoMA exhibition in 1931 and rarely exhibited since 1937, this will be the first time for it to appear at auction, making it a truly exciting opportunity for the market.”

This large-scale oil painting was completed at a milestone moment in the artist’s career. The 1930s represented a significant decade for Rivera, during which time the artist completed his most impressive mural commissions in the United States. Commissioned by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, The Rivals was completed in a makeshift studio aboard the Morro Castle—the ship that transported Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to New York ahead of Rivera’s first exhibition at MoMA. The painting was passed down to David and Peggy Rockefeller in 1941 as a wedding gift and has never left the family.


Other major works, always around  30s/’40s, but explicitely from the USA scene,are by some of the most important names of american painting as Edward Hopper (Rich’s House, 1930 – Est. $ 2.000.000 /3.000.000 e Cape Ann Granite , 1928 – Est. $6,000,000/ 8,000,000),  Georgia O’Keeffe (Near Abiquiu, New Mexico, 1931- est. $3.000.000 /5. 000.000 and New Mexico, Near Taos,  1929 – est $3,000,000/ 5,000,000) and Thomas Hart Benton (Navajo Sand, est $1,500,000 /2,500,000) in contrast with the gloomy and almost metaphysics industrial vision by Charles Sheeler, White Sentinels, from1942 (est $1,000,000/ 1,500,000)

LOT 401 Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), White Sentinels
Estimate USD 1,000,000 – USD 1,500,000

Looking to the American postwar scene, we can find an astonishing   Willem de Kooning, Untitled XIX (1982). Untitled XIX  is one of a group of paintings begun in 1981 that de Kooning completed as he neared the end of his eighth decade. In the late 1970s the artist’s health had taken a turn for the worse and, says Friedlander, Christie’s specialist,  he was painting only rarely. ‘Yet by 1980 he had stopped drinking,’ she explains, ‘and his wife Elaine was helping him to overcome bouts of depression. In 1981, against all odds, he returned to the canvas, full of renewed energy and enthusiasm.’ In their free-flowing forms and use of space, the canvases evoke Henri Matisse’s revolutionary ‘Cut-Outs’, completed by the French artist at a similarly advanced age. De Kooning himself made this link explicit in comments he made in 1980: ‘Lately I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to be influenced by Matisse,’ he said. ‘I mean, he’s so light-hearted.’ To create Untitled XIX, de Kooning experimented with a technique in which he abandoned the traditional upright perspective of the canvas. Instead, he continuously rotated each painting by 90 degrees until it was complete. ‘He would start in the upper right-hand corner, for example, and have his studio assistant rotate the work so he could begin another part of the canvas,’ Friedlander explains. David Rockefeller acquired Untitled XIX  after the death of his wife, Peggy, in 1996. ‘As a boy, I shared some of Father’s scepticism about new and unfamiliar art forms, but my eye nevertheless became increasingly accustomed to them through Mother’s activities,’ he confessed in his memoirs. ‘My interest developed rapidly in later years. In 1948 I had gone on the board of the Museum of Modern Art. As a result, I became exposed on a regular basis to many exciting contemporary works which I increasingly found engaging and challenging.’ – Estimate: $6.000.000/8.000.000. 

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
Untitled XIX
USD 6,000,000 – USD 8,000,000

There is also a monumental outdoor sculpture by Alexander Calder’s , The Plow, 1965 (est.$2,500,000/3,500,000). Its monumental sheets of black steel measuring six feet tall are carefully balanced to create a powerful orchestration of soaring forms. Curving upward in graceful arcs, the sculpture demonstrates the paradoxical buoyancy that Calder’s Stabiles routinely display despite their substantial weight. Such feats of engineering became an essential part of Calder’s oeuvre in the 1960s, in which a lifetime of expertise reached its culmination. Proliferating in scale and ever more complex permutations, the Stabiles were his primary focus during this period. Often conceived for display outdoors, they tended to evoke nature in their curving, organic forms, as can be seen in this remarkable and majestic sculpture.

LOT 412 Alexander Calder (1898-1976), The Plow
Estimate USD 2,500,000 – USD 3,500,000


Christie’s : The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller

New York, 20 Rockefeller Center

8 maggio: 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale – 19 pm

9 maggio: Art of the Americas, Evening Sale – 19 pm 

9/10 maggio: English & European Furniture, Ceramics and Decorations part I and II – 10 am

10 maggio: Travel and Americana – 19 pm

1/11 maggio: Online Sale


Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *