Internationally acclaimed Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miró (1893-1983), well known for his exploration of Surrealism and Dada, combined dream-like imagery with social commentary. Le Courtisan Grotesque: 8 works, 1974, which sold for $56,325, are a set of brightly colored etchings and aquatints on antique Japanese paper. Bold black lines and abstract forms suggestive of humans or animals are accented with vivid primary colors, moving across the pages with raw power.
Bonhams New York’s recent Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples Auction November 1 contained works by a number of giants in the modern and contemporary art field, including Impressionists, Surrealists, Cubists and Street artists. The auction of 192 lots included famous prints as well as lesser-known treasures. Here are five iconic works that could have been yours.
The premier collagist of the 20th century, African-American mixed-media artist Romare Bearden (1914-1988) was also a celebrated humanist, respected writer, and theatrical costume and set designer. Influenced by Cubism and the Harlem Renaissance, his deeply layered work Out Chorus (1979–1980), captures the rhythm and vivacity of jazz while referencing community and history. Combining etching, aquatint, and screenprint in vibrant colors with hand-coloring, this print sold for $6,325.
A print of Pablo Picasso’s Maternité (1963), printed from his signed lithograph, sold for $21,325. Picasso (1881-1973) changed the face of modern art with his Cubist masterpieces. Maternité’s deceptively simple lines convey the archetypal loving tenderness between mother and child. The forms are primarily black and white, with the woman, haloed in leafy green, a flower crown woven through her hair, smiling down at her breastfeeding infant.
Master painter and sculptor Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) was an early proponent of Impressionism, though he later broke with the movement, integrating the vivacity and luminosity of Impressionism with more classical lines and forms. Sold for $6,325, his etching, La Danse à la Campagne (c. 1890), is based on his iconic 1883 painting depicting Aligne Charigot, his future wife. Renoir’s etching skillfully captures the joy and kinetic movement of the dancers as her partner swings Aligne through the dance. Her white dress, ornamented with black bows, and the edge of his jacket sway with their motion.
A darling of the 1980s art world, Keith Haring (1958-1990) first came into the public eye through his subway graffiti art. Using bold lines, bright colors and simple cartoonish forms, Haring created an iconography involving barking dogs, flying saucers and radiant babies. A social justice and gay rights activist who promoted AIDS awareness, he became an internationally popular mural artist, creating over 50 public works between 1982 and 1989 in dozens of cities around the world. His print International Youth Year sold for $10,700.