June 28, 2012 / 1:11 PM / 7 years ago

Art auction features top names at thrift store prices

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Contemporary art collectors will have a chance to shore up their holdings at relatively low prices next month when Christie’s sells works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman and Gerhard Richter.

The Open House sale, with estimates as low as $2,000, will include works of impressive provenance, with the Museum of Modern Art and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art among institutions putting pieces from their collections on the block.

Many of the works in the sale on July 16 in New York are offered with no reserve price, the secret minimum at which a seller agrees the piece can be sold.

Although the top lot, Ruth Asawa’s 1962 sculpture, “Untitled (S.073 Hanging Single Sphere, Five Layers Continues Form within a Form),” carries an estimate of up to $150,000, other works such as Warhol’s 1966 silkscreen on paper of Jacqueline Kennedy from the day of Kennedy’s assassination are priced far lower.

The Warhol, among the late pop artist’s most recognizable images, is estimated to sell for $6,000 to $8,000.

Christie’s specialist in charge of the sale, Nathania Nisonson, said this year the market for post-War and contemporary art has shown tremendous strength at all levels.

“This sale presents a terrific opportunity for young collectors, beginning collectors and seasoned collectors alike to acquire works of art by some of the world’s most established artists at approachable price points.”

Contemporary art has been at the forefront of the most recent art market boom, which continues to defy unstable global financial markets.

In May Christie’s held the most successful postwar art auction in history, while also setting a record for any individual postwar work at auction.

“Many of the artists represented here are frequently seen in our seasonal post-war and contemporary sales, including John Baldessari, Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Gerhard Richter and Jules Olitski,” Nisonson said.

Open House highlights include an untitled gelatin silver print by photographer Sherman, whose decades of work as a self-portraitist was featured in an acclaimed exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York recently.

The work is estimated to sell for $3,000 to $5,000, while another Sherman is priced even lower, at $2,000 to $3,000.

Robert Longo’s “White Cross with Black Edges” carries an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

In 2007 his “Corporate Wars: Walls of Influence (1982),” which was auctioned in 1999 for $6,000 and carried an $80,000 estimate, fetched a whopping $205,000, a record at the time for the American artist whose current record exceeds $500,000.

The sale also features works from the estate of David Pincus, whose collection in May took in $180 million and set a record for the most valuable private collection of post-war and contemporary art at auction.

The sale of some 175 works is expected to total in excess of $1.5 million.

Editing by Patricia Reaney

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