Traded for a Car, Fresh Paalen Painting Arrives at Auction After 60 Years
A fresh to the market Wolfgang Paalen painting sold for $80,500 at Freeman’s Modern & Contemporary Art auction today. Originally acquired by then San Francisco Museum of Art curator Richard Borden Freeman, relatives recollected how Freeman had traded an old Studebaker to Paalen for the painting in 1949.
Originally part of the Paris Surrealist movement, Wolfgang Paalen announced his separation from surrealism in 1942. The untitled work sold today at Freeman's was originally painted around 1948 and was an important and pivotal painting in the artist’s career. Paalen was living in Mill Valley, California, where he would meet Lee Mullican and Gordon Onslow Ford. The artists together declared themselves the "Dynaton" movement in a dedicated exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1951.
Richard Borden Freeman became friendly with the "Dynaton" artists over the course of their work on the exhibition and the families often socialized together. Mr. Freeman, who went on to chair the Art departments at the Universities of Alabama and Kentucky, treasured this painting, which bears an affectionate dedication from the artist and had remained in his family for more than 60 years.