Banksy’s Banksquiat and Pablo Picasso’s Tête de femme au chignon to Lead the Auction on 17 May
Sale to Bring Together Works of Exceptional Provenance by Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg
Phillips announces highlights from their upcoming New York Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. Boasting a strong mix of Modern, Post-War, and Contemporary Art, with artists such as Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Yayoi Kusama, and Anna Weyant, the sale features 41 lots. Leading the auction is an exceptional Banksy painting, Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search, executed in response to a 2017 exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work at the Barbican Centre in London. Works with fascinating backstories and provenance by Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg will also be among the star lots of the auction. Their Evening Sale will take place on 17 May at 432 Park Avenue, following the Day Sale on 16 May.
Jean-Paul Engelen, President, Americas, and Robert Manley, Deputy Chairman, the Worldwide Co-Heads of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, said, “The May Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art embodies what our international team does best: it encapsulates the expansion of taste in the market that we have continued to see over the past several years. Alongside the masterwork by Banksy leading the auction, we have an outstanding work by Picasso inspired by the artist’s lover and muse, which stands in dialogue with more contemporary figurative painting by women artists, such as Caroline Walker’s Conservation, Mickalene Thomas’ Melody: Femme Noire, and Lisa Yuskavage’s The Mound. The Evening and Day Sales this season were thoughtfully composed to offer important works to collectors of all backgrounds and interests. We look forward to welcoming our collecting community to see the works in person, when our exhibition opens to the public on 6 May.”
Leading the Evening Sale is Banksy’s Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search. The celebrated homage to Basquiat was executed on panel in 2018, in response to the 2017 exhibition, Basquiat: Boom for Real in London. While Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search finds its visual basis in Basquiat’s Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, 1982, Banksy reinterprets Basquiat’s imagery—and rewrites his title—to shift the meaning of the work. Basquiat’s Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump is a joyous, blistering summer scene, with its two figures basking in the relief of the water from an open fire hydrant. Banksy’s reinterpretation, however, features the male figure being frisked by members of London’s Metropolitan Police, with the tricolor, Pan-African background removed. The male figure’s hands, raised perhaps in play or celebration in Basquiat’s original, become a clear “hands up” gesture in the presence of the police. A collaboration beyond space and time, Banksquiat. Boy and Dog in Stop and Search unites two street art giants in a cogent commentary on commodification and privilege in contemporary art.
Also among the Evening Sale highlights is Pablo Picasso’s Tête de femme au chignon, which is being offered at auction for the very first time and has never been exhibited publicly. One of the great portraitists of the 20th century, Picasso painted the work in 1952, the final year of his pivotal relationship with the artist Françoise Gilot. Facing to the left, the figure here sits with her hair pulled back in the titular chignon and gazes out a grey window marked by black bars. Growing out of a decade’s worth of work inspired by Gilot, Tête de femme au chignon navigates two of Picasso’s greatest post-war influences, Henri Matisse and the wider history of portraiture in Western art.