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An L.A. Preview of N.Y. Auctions

Sotheby's brings the highlights of its spring sales to Beverly Hills.

March 26, 2000|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

New York auction news continues to be dominated by government investigations of alleged antitrust violations by Christie's and Sotheby's, but the spring sales will go on as usual. And despite reports that the auctions will be a bit slim this season because consignors are spooked about the controversy, there's no shortage of activity.

Los Angeles art aficionados will get a preview of Sotheby's Impressionist and contemporary highlights at the auction house's Beverly Hills showroom Thursday and Friday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 12:30-4:30 p.m. Modigliani's 1918 portrait, "La Rousse au Pendantif"--which is expected to bring $5.5 million to $7.5 million--will be on view along with works by Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec and Cezanne, also valued in the range of $5 million to $10 million. Among contemporary works in the preview are Andy Warhol's paintings of Natalie Wood ($1.5 million to $2 million) and Mao Tse-tung ($400,000 to $600,000).

A more unusual preview--also at Sotheby's in Beverly Hills, on April 11-13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.--will feature works from the collection of master printer Kenneth Tyler and his New York fine-art publishing house, Tyler Graphics.

Tyler, who got his start in the 1960s at Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles, is known for collaborating with major artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler and David Hockney. Among works in the preview are Hockney's "Day Pool With Three Blues, Paper Pool 7," composed of colored, pressed paper pulp ($500,000 to $600,000), and "An Image of Celia," a Cubist-style portrait combining lithographic and screen-printed elements with collage in a hand-painted frame ($60,000 to $80,000).

The Tyler sale, to be held in New York on May 6, is billed as the most comprehensive group of postwar prints ever to come to auction and the first offering of works produced by a single master printer. The auction is expected to bring a total of $2.2 million to $3 million. An additional $1.4 million to $1.9 million worth of works from Tyler's collection will be incorporated in Sotheby's sales of contemporary art May 17-18.

Sotheby's is also planning to sell a Los Angeles collection of daguerreotypes and other photographs depicting the California Gold Rush, in New York on April 6. The group of 43 historic images was compiled by Stephen R. Anaya, a printmaker who teaches at Santa Monica College. He began collecting in the early 1970s, while he was a graduate student at UCLA, and built a significant holding of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes and paper photographs. Images from his collection have appeared in Ken Burns' television documentary "The West," and in books about the Gold Rush.

Ranging in estimated value from $1,000 to $70,000, the photographs in the auction include images of forty-niners at work, portraits of miners and merchants, and views of early California towns. Two of the most valuable works--a close-up of shops on J Street in Sacramento and an exterior view of a tent store offering mining equipment, clothing and food--show that miners weren't the only ones who tried to strike it rich. Entrepreneurs also headed West to make a fortune by selling goods and providing services to those who were laboring feverishly in California's stream beds and hillsides.

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