Sotheby’s Spotlights Women as Artists and Collectors

Global auction specialist Sotheby’s has started a monthly newsletter aiming to spotlight areas it thinks collectors should be particularly excited about. As Sotheby’s Global Chairman and Head of Global Fine Art, Brooke L Lampley says she has “A front row seat to watch our auctions evolve each season” She adds: “It’s a rare privilege to facilitate the connection between creators and collectors. This month we’re starting a newsletter to tell you, our top clients, what we’re especially excited about. Welcome to our first installment”.

The Story of the Season

Brooke Lampley’s first newsletter concentrates on the story of women as artists and collectors. She says: “Heading into our New York marquee season, I’m thrilled by the story we’re able to tell about the rise of women as artists and collectors.

“There’s no better example than Emily Fisher Landau, a patron in the lineage of Peggy Guggenheim and Gertrude Stein and Isabella Stewart Gardner – all vanguard women who shaped the discourse of 20th century art.

“Her collection, which you’ll find in our sales on November 8 and 9, pairs such male titans as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, and Jasper Johns with female counterparts like Agnes Martin, Nan Goldin and Katarina Fritsch, to create a comprehensive, inclusive view of 20th century art.

The following pieces stand out for me.

Agnes Martin, Grey Stone II (estimate $6 million to $8 million)

“Martin’s practice marries the muscular prose of the modernist grid with subtle mark making and a spiritual sensibility – infusing a masculine visual lexicon with feminine grace. Martin’s market has mushroomed in recent years as collectors realize her enduring and unique contribution to the minimalist canon. We’re offering two great paintings, the work above from 1961 and Untitled #1 from 1995, showcasing both the range and fearless consistency of her work.

Nan Goldin, Couple in Bed, Chicago print (estimate $8,000 to $12,000)

“Goldin is so topical, especially for anyone who has watched and been moved by her documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. She’s transcended her role as an artist and become an unparalleled social activist, a real hero of our times. I value her art more now because I so highly regard her willingness to leverage her fame for social impact.

“In our Contemporary Evening Auction on November 15, we’ll showcase the collection of another singular woman, Chara Schreyer – a patron of the arts who personally led 450 tours of the works in her California home, and whose estate now brings to market Louise Bourgeois, Georgia O’Keefe, Amy Sillman and Eva Hesse alongside Donald Judd, Frank Stella and Mark Bradford.

“Schreyer always opted for the shrewdest examples by artists instead of the most obvious – for O’Keeffe a skeletal pelvis instead of a verdant flower, for Hesse a radical early assemblage, the last of her relief works, a searing evisceration of the boundaries between painting and sculpture.

“Then there’s the collection of John Cheim, the esteemed New York gallerist and curator. The highlight of his collection (also appearing in our Contemporary Evening Auction) is Joan Mitchell’s masterwork Sunflowers from 1990-91, a personal gift from the artist. Last year Mitchell made headlines as a rousing interlocutor to Claude Monet at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, so you could rightly say she took on the heavyweight of Modern art and left a champion. Sunflowers is coupled with works by Lynda Benglis and Alice Neel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Alex Katz in a superb collection assembled over 45 years by a consummate art world insider.

“Until recently, collectors had to work to seek out female artists of this significance. They had much less scholarship to guide them. The Schreyer, Cheim and Fisher Landau paintings reveal the history of art that we should have been learning all along.

“For more on this topic, I invite you to watch the following video. In it, several of my colleagues join me in explaining what makes the Fisher Landau collection so impactful.

“Ahead of the New York sales, we hope you’ll visit our York Avenue galleries to see for yourself. Please let us know if we can do anything at all to facilitate your consideration.”

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