Explore colorful works of geometric abstraction with Freeman's specialists.
10/27/2021 News and Film, Modern and Contemporary Art
Freeman’s November 17 Modern and Contemporary Art auction features a fine selection of sculpture, drawing, and painting—with ample opportunities to collect work by artists who have shaped the canon as we know it. Freeman’s Modern and Contemporary Art specialists have highlighted several unmissable works of painterly abstraction that invite warm, rich, bold color into your home as we transition into winter.
You may know Gene Davis from his 1972 Franklin’s Footpath, a monumental work that at one time illuminated the road leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art with bright stripes of paint. His Royal Flush (Lot 66; estimate: $25,000-40,000) illustrates a shift into more varied tonality and nuanced coloration following two decades of making hard-edge color painting.
Lot 66 | Gene Davis, Royal Flush | $25,000-40,000
It’s complemented beautifully by Infinity Field Lefkada Series, an acrylic on canvas by Theodoros Stamos characterized by soft geometric shapes and broad swaths of purples, blues, and blacks (Lot 48; estimate: $40,000-60,000). A contemporary of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, among others, Stamos joined these painters—in a group dubbed “The Irascibles”—in protest against the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition American Painting today – 1950. Though abstract, Stamos’s Infinity Field Lefkada Series was inspired by the Greek island of Lefkada, which Stamos frequented from 1970 until his death in 1997.
Lot 48 | Theodoros Stamos, Infinity Field Lefkada Series | $40,000-60,000
New York School painter Michael Goldberg is well-known for canvases bursting with color, energy, and life force—and his Spannocchia IV (Lot 69; estimate: $25,000-40,000) is no exception. Goldberg’s intricate brushwork makes oil on canvas look nearly like mixed media; layers of black and white strokes dance with bursts of bright yellows, greens, blues, and reds. Inspired by the lively energy of improvisational jazz, Goldberg’s canvases retain the sensibility of a performance.
Lot 69 | Michael Goldberg, Spannocchia IV | $25,000-40,000
William Burroughs once described the paintings of Ahmed Ben Driss El Yacoubi as “maps of psychic areas, [like] a window opening into space,” writing that “you do not look at his pictures but through them.” It’s clear to see what Burroughs was describing in Yacoubi’s Untitled (Lot 31; estimate: $40,000-60,000), with its mesmerizing, otherworldly application of deep orange, sunset pink, soft blues and dark purples. In the spirit of both geometric abstraction and sweeping landscape painting, Yacoubi crafted a style that was all his own.
Lot 31 | Ahmed Ben Driss El Yacoubi, Untitled | $40,000-60,000
When Sam Gilliam emerged on the scene in the 1960s, he married the ethos of Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting with the urgent calls for Black liberation and equality coming to the fore through the Civil Rights Movement. The results were canvases that exploded with color and force, a life’s work that continues to the present day. Gilliam’s Balance (Lot 45; estimate: $5,000-7,000), a small acrylic on birch plywood, reveals some of the painter’s preoccupation with bold color blocking and layering, intricate brushwork, and use of unexpected, sculptural material and form.
Lot 45 | Sam Gilliam, Balance | $5,000-7,000