Clyfford Still Leads Abstract Expressionist Revival

1949 Work sells for staggering $61 million At Sotheby’s in New York

Sotheby’s New York has announced a record price achieved for the US Abstract Expressionist painter Clyfford Still. The work sold for a staggering f $61.7m ($38.8m) The piece titled  painting 1949-A-No 1 is a composition of jagged white splashes over red, grey and white and measures 93 x 79 in. 236.2 x 200.7 cm. His previous record of $21.3m (£13.4m), for 1947-R-No 1, set in 2006 has now been broken. Another Clyfford Still painting, 1947-Y-No 2 – which had a pre-sale estimate of up to $20m (£12.6m) – sold for $31.4m (£19.7m). Still’s work rarely comes up at auction and the four paintings offered by the Estate of Patricia Still and were being sold by the City and County of Denver with funds going towards the new Clyfford Still Museum, set to open in a week’s time.were sold, taking a total of $114m (£71.6m).

The museum had hoped to raise at least $25 million in the sale,with proceeds going  to the Museum. The three most recent Clyfford Still paintings to go under the hammer realised, “1947-R-No.1” – $21.3 million in 2006 “1955-D, PH-387” sold for $7.9 million in 2007, and “1946 (PH-182)” made $14 million in 2008. Bloomberg recently stated, “Sotheby’s will try to sell the paintings through a private sale, but if they are not sold by September 19, they will be featured at the November 9 contemporary art auction in New York”. The sale has overtaken all expectations.

Eight works by the German artist Gerhard Richter fetched a total of $74m (£46.5m) and Francis Bacon’s. Three Studies for a Self-Portrait sold for $19.7m (£12.4m). Bringing a sale total with commissions – of $315.8m (£198.5m)

Clyfford Still (November 30, 1904 – June 23, 1980) was an American artist, a painter, and one of the leading figures in Abstract Expressionism. Still was one of the foremost “color field” painters – his paintings are non-objective, and largely concerned with arranging a variety of colors in different formations. However, while Mark Rothko or Barnett Newman organized their colors in a relatively simple way (Rothko in the form of nebulous rectangles, Newman in thin lines on vast fields of color), Still’s arrangements are less regular. His jagged flashes of color give the impression that one layer of color has been “torn” off the painting, revealing the colors underneath.

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