Our Specialists Pick Favorites From Artnet’s Premier Prints and Multiples Sale

Currently live for bidding through April 11, 2024, Artnet Auctions’ Premier Prints and Multiples sale features works from some of art’s biggest names—from Andy Warhol to Yayoi Kusama and Richard Serra. While many of these artists work in other media, such as painting and sculpture, printmaking has been a longstanding and fruitful avenue of creation throughout each of their careers.

Marking the sale, we spoke with our team of Prints and Multiples specialists to learn more about their personal highlights. Below, they walk us through six artworks and give insight into what makes these works so special.

 

Richard Serra, B.B. King (1999)

A large, opaque black dot that reaches the corner of the paper.

Richard Serra, B.B. King (1999). Est. $15,000–$20,000.

“Over the past week, the world turned its attention to the death of Richard Serra and his legacy as an artist. Tributes largely focused on his monumentally uncompromising personality that rivaled his large-scale work, which is foundational to any discussion regarding contemporary sculpture. However, also an important printmaker, Serra’s graphic work showcases his versatility and ability to translate his distinctive artistic language across different mediums.

B.B. King was born out of Serra’s 1999 ‘Rounds’ series in which each print features a central, circular subject and is named after a jazz or blues musician. The poetically physical nature that is often attributed to Serra’s sculpture is easily linked to this series. Poetry is to Serra’s work as poetry is to jazz or blues as a form of music, and each print’s size asserts space that demands a holistic engagement from the viewer.” – Lauren Whitton, Prints and Multiples Specialist

Katharina Grosse, Aluminiumobjekt O.T. (No. 14) (2023)

Katharina Grosse, Aluminiumobjekt O.T. (No. 14) (2023). ESt. $25,000–$35,000.

“The immediacy of color, central to Grosse’s work, is on full display in this acrylic on aluminum sculpture, which is from a small edition of 30 unique works. Each sculpture from this series was formed into a unique arrangement using a steel roller and was finished with the artist’s signature acrylic spray gun. The project was created in conversation with her monumental installation from the previous year, Canyon, a commission by the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris which has been on display since October 2022.

Grosse continues in the tradition of upending the definition and boundaries of ‘the canvas’ in painting, and many of her site-specific projects are created directly upon existing structures and architecture. Aluminiumobjekt O.T. (No. 14) stands in contrast to many of her major works in the intimacy of its scale, existing almost as a sacred fragment of one of her installations.” ­– Sylvie Francois, Prints and Multiples Specialist

Roy Lichtenstein, The Oval Office (1992)

Interior view of the oval office in primarily white, yellow, and blue, with red details. All don in a cartoon, benday dot pattern.

Roy Lichtenstein, The Oval Office (1992). Est. $60,000–$80,000.

“Roy Lichtenstein’s screen print Oval Office from 1992 feels like a departure in subject for the Pop artist, yet in many ways his treatment of the subject isn’t. His hyper-realized use of primary colors, reference to his frequently used Ben-Day dots, and his removal of the subject from the every day, is all classic Lichtenstein. It’s what I love about this work.

But what is so startling to me is seeing and revisiting this print in today’s news cycle. It’s like I’ve walked into a vacuum, away from all the noise. All I see is what’s presented to me: a perfectly manicured interior; electric yellow emblazoned across curtains, furniture, the stars on the rug and frame of a painting; the cheeky and curious inclusion of orange at the very far right; and, importantly, an invitation to step into and be part of this space.

Strangely, I’m not for a second thinking about what the Oval Office stands for, and this is where I think Lichtenstein’s brilliance in this work shines today as it did in 1992.” – Conner Williams, Head of Prints and Multiples

Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger (from Mick Jagger Portfolio) (1975)

Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger (from Mick Jagger Portfolio) (1975). Est. $100,000–$150,000.

“The energy that bursts out of this print makes it a stand-out for me. Andy Warhol met Mick Jagger at a party in New York during the Rolling Stones’ first U.S. tour in 1964. Unsurprisingly, the two became friends and, shortly after, Warhol was designing the Stones’ 1971 Sticky Fingers album cover at Mick Jagger’s invitation. Fast-forward four years later and Mick and Bianca Jagger are staying in Warhol’s Montauk home. It was there that Jagger sat for the Polaroids that would form the basis of the Mick Jagger portfolio.

Jagger famously said of working with Warhol: ‘Working with Andy was relatively easy. Doing the portraits that you see was so great, ’cause he just used to get his Polaroid out and just do ‘1, 2, 3, and 4,’ and then ‘turn,’ and then a few of that and you were basically done.’

In 1975, Seabird Editions in London offered to publish a portfolio of ten screen prints and Jagger’s debonair poses on the Polaroids, combined with Warhol’s line drawings and collage-like blocks of colors provided the perfect subject. This series of prints remain one of the most sought-after and highly celebrated graphic works by Warhol. They showcase his instinctive and experimental approach to printmaking while bursting with Jagger’s confidence and energy.” ­­– Laetitia Guillotin, Prints and Multiples Specialist

Mel Bochner, No (2010)

Mel Bochner, No (2010). Est. $10,000–$15,000.

“Bochner’s bold, text-based monoprints always command attention. And the 2010 work No is no different. The artist’s brilliant use of texture creates a piece riddled with different levels of saturation and consistency, not just across the surface but also in the paper itself.

Published by a favorite publishing house of mine, Two Palms in New York, this monoprint employs innovative printmaking techniques that challenge the traditional definition of the medium. The artist’s exploration with language and its influence on vision and perception is never more present than in this series of works. Phrases like “NO SOAP,” and “NEVER HAPPEN,” rendered in these ghostly hues of gray, green, blue, and black create a visual dialogue that invades the viewer’s space, achieved by Bochner’s use of dimension.

Despite being just nine lines of text, the weight of the words transcends the sheet they live on and speaks to the spectrum of human emotion.” – Diego Arellano, Prints and Multiples Junior Specialist

Yayoi Kusama, Pistils and Stamens (1994)

Yayoi Kusama, Pistils and Stamens (1994). Est. $10,000–$15,000.

“Yayoi Kusama is well-known for her colorful, grand paintings and installations that evoke nature through iconic themes such as polka-dotted pumpkins and tentacles and the endless space of Infinity Mirrors.

In Pistils and Stamens (1994) the monochromatic palette of the etching allows the viewer to focus on the geometry of the composition, a growing web of dots meeting a bed of open flowers. Derived from the process of germination, Pistils and Stamens shows the connection between the natural world and the artist’s famous polka dot and infinity net motifs, between creation and obliteration.” – Katherine Hobart, Prints and Multiples Associate

Artnet’s Premier Prints and Multiples auction is now live until April 11. Browse and bid in the sale here. 

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