Specialist Selections from Contemporary Art

We asked the Contemporary Art department to pick their favorite work from their May 22 auction. For people who see dozens–if not hundreds–of works of art each day, it takes a lot to stand out.


Lot 264: Barbara Hepworth, Opposing Forms, complete portfolio with 12 color lithographs, 1969-70. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Todd Weyman, Director

Barbara Hepworth, Opposing Forms

“I’d like to own Barbara Hepworth’s suite of 12 color lithographs Opposing Forms, 1969-70, a career retrospective of stunning, geometric, colorful prints that exemplify the work of this iconic modernist artist. Hepworth was a pioneering female abstract artist, she made her first “pierced” sculpture in 1932 and through her ground-breaking work over the next four decades influenced scores of contemporary abstract artists, from Tracey Emin and Rachel Whiteread to Eduardo Paolozzi and Anthony Caro.”


Lot 162: Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, offset lithograph, 1968.
Estimate $2,000 to $3,000.


Lisa Crescenzo, Client Relations & Department Manager

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled

“I am drawn to Robert Rauschenberg’s Untitled because it forces me to figure out the hidden meaning, like a game. In this print, like many others, he encourages the viewer to solve the visual puzzle, evoking the cleverness of the Dadaist artists. His choice of composition and coloring, combined with representational images through photography and symbols, creates layers of complexity.”


Lot 318: Jenny Holzer, Protect Me From What I Want, text on Resopal plate on board, 1990. Estimate $2,000 to $3,000.


Jessica Feldman, Cataloguer

Jenny Holzer, Protect Me From What I Want

“I’ve always found myself particularly drawn to the work of feminist artists, and this work by Jenny Holzer is no exception. In this multiple, she utilized the text-based, neo-conceptual approach that defines her oeuvre to communicate a message that speaks to me on an almost spiritual level: that sometimes the things we want the most are not what is best for us.”



Lot 259: Robert Cottingham, Empire, screenprint, 2009. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.


Jaye Melino, Administrator

Robert Cottingham, Empire

“‘Americana, elevated’ is how I would describe Cottingham’s work; he celebrates both the banality and the excess of American culture by portraying quotidian scenes in bold colors, high contrast and strategic cropping. Empire is my favorite because his manipulation of the subject matters captures a specific moment in and out of time.”


Lot 27: Richard Diebenkorn, Seated Woman in Chemise, lithograph, 1965.
Estimate $3,000 to $5,000.


Allison Ransom, Junior Cataloguer

Richard Diebenkorn, Seated Woman in Chemise

“The painterly quality of the lines that make up the figure blur the boundary between printmaking and painting. I am impressed by the way Diebenkorn was able to render the woman in such a minimal way, as he was able to convey both the form of the woman as well as her presence and personality in just a few lines.”


Browse the full catalogue.