On June 4, Freeman’s offered 18 Works from the Bachman Collection, a thoughtfully curated group of paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the Boca Raton Estate of Gilbert and Lee Bachman. The sale totaled more than $1,960,000, and was 90 percent sold by value. The double-header sale day, which came just one day after the American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, ended with 20th Century Design, which achieved more than $875,000, bringing the two-day sale total to over $4.5 million. 18 Works from the Bachman Collection attracted international attention with successful buyers from Norway, Switzerland, Greece, France and Italy as well as across the US.
The sale opened with three works by Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), the German-born Abstract Expressionist. Lot 2, “Cataclysm (Homage to Howard Putzel)” is considered a groundbreaking composition, and was, as the title suggests, dedicated to the influential writer and dealer Howard Putzel. The painting exceeded its presale estimate of $150,000-250,000, selling for $322,000, after a prolonged round of bidding. The painting has been requested for inclusion in an upcoming retrospective at the University of California, Berkeley.
Lot 10, “Cinquecento,” a large canvas by American artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), sold for $598,000, against an estimate of $300,000-500,000. A student of Hofmann’s after studying at Bennington College, Frankenthaler employed a technique of staining an unprimed canvas with diluted paints as well as cubist-like structural elements in “Cinquecento.”
The Bachman Collection included several monumental sculptures in various media, including Lot 4, “Head #3” by Willem de Kooning. This work was executed in 1973, just one year before the artist completed his final works in bronze, and was exhibited extensively beginning in the late 1970s. “Head #3” sold for $286,000. Lot 13, “Dog,” a sculpture by Colombian artist Fernando Botero (b. 1932), surpassed its presale estimates of $120,000-180,000, selling for $200,000. The Collection featured two sculptures by American artist Lynda Benglis (b. 1941), including Lot 16, “Elnath,” which doubled its low estimate, realizing $100,000.
A painting by Nancy Graves (1939-1995), titled “Izy Boukir” (Lot 9), sold for $40,625, more than four times its high estimate of $6,000-10,000. A prolific artist who garnered prominence in the late 1960s, Graves’ oeuvre includes sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, and watercolors, as well as set design and film.