Art Auction by Hindman: Post War and Contemporary Art

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), Untitled, 1968, Photo:

Hindman is one of the nation’s leading fine art auction houses offering holistic solutions that connect cities nationwide to the global art market by providing expertise across all categories, sales channels and price points.

Hindman operates more salerooms in the United States than any other auction house and conducts over 100 auctions a year in categories such as fine jewelry and timepieces, contemporary art, 20th century design, rare books, furniture, decorative arts, couture, Asian works of art, Arts of the American west, numismatics, and more.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers & Cowan’s Auctions

Hindman was formed through the acquisition of two premier auction houses, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers (est.1982) and Cowan’s Auctions (est. 1995). Headquartered in Chicago, Hindman is home to 150 employees, with additional offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Milwaukee, Naples, Palm Beach, Scottsdale and St. Louis.

26th September 2019 | 10a.m.

The September 26 Post War and Contemporary sale will offer a strong selection of works by artists from the Hairy Who?, Chicago Imagists and Monster Roster with highlights by Jim Nutt, Karl Wirsum, Gladys Nilsson, Art Green, Ed Paschke and Leon Golub – their work was known for grotesquerie, surrealism and complete separation from the art scene in New York art or world trends.

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Jim Nutt* (American, b. 1938) Plume, 1989

Jim Nutt’s Plume from 1989 is estimated at $200,000-400,000 and offers a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire an early work from his period of portraits that emerged as his preferred painting product in the 90s and has held a continued place in his practice. These stylized and detailed, fantastically imagined women were influenced by the formal constructs of Renaissance portraiture, balancing between the beautiful and grotesque and exemplifying an artist who has mastered his craft.

I have spent my life surrounded by Chicago art and artists and have had the good fortune of bringing numerous stellar examples of Chicago Imagist material to market over the last decade here at Hindman.

I can say with full confidence that this selection of paintings is among the best batches of Hairy Who? and Imagist work to come up at auction in one setting that I have ever seen. I anticipate the excitement over these works from the collecting world to be absolutely frenzied.

says Zack Wirsum, Senior Specialist in Post War and Contemporary Art.
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Gladys Nilsson (American, b. 1940) Dipdick…Adam and Eve after Cranach, 1971

One such highlight is the uncharacter-istically large-scale diptych by Gladys Nilsson, Dipdick…Adam and Eve after Cranach, 1971, estimated at $20,000-30,000. This work playfully riffs on Lucas Cranach the Elder’s similarly titled Northern Renaissance master-piece. Engaging the same energy as her more intimate watercolors but on a grander scale the work employs high key colors, dynamic patterns and whimsical interwoven bodies to reinterpret and reinvigorate a classic.

Two paintings from Karl Wirsum’s seminal Doggerel series of vibrantly electric colored and graphically edged anthropomorphic dogs will be reunited for the first time since the late 60s. With presale estimates of $40,000-60,000 and $50,000-70,000 each, Doggerel, 1966 and Doggerel III, 1967 interestingly come to market from two different collections.

Originally purchased from a group exhibition at Dell Gallery in 1966 and the second Hairy Who? exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center in 1967 respectively, the works have remained with the original buyers since. This pair of paintings illustrate Wirsum’s evolution from more open spaced akimbo psychedelic abstraction to a full frontal frenetic symmetrical figuration that became his signature approach through the rest of the 60s and beyond.

Other Chicago artists of note featured prominently in the auction are Leon Golub, Richard Hunt, George Cohen and Gertrude Abercrombie.

Additionally, the auction will include numerous noteworthy nonrepresentational works from the periods of Abstract Expressionism, Color Field and Op-Art including paintings and works on paper by Sam Francis, Larry Zox, Larry Poons, Hans Hofmann, Alexander Calder, Alan Davie, Victor Vasarely and Richard Anuszkiewicz.

*The artist Jim Nutt was born in 1938 and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the early sixties just as Abstract Expressionism was ceding the spotlight to Pop Art.  Together with other students he and his wife, the painter Gladys Nilsson, formed a group that came to be known as the Hairy Who.  Allied to the Chicago Imagists, their style was a kind of surrealising Pop, with a cartoonish, eschatological gonzo character that earned them a swathe of group shows across the US and beyond from 1966 through to the early 70s. Since the mid-90s Nutt has focused exclusively on painting female heads; the works in this current exhibition date from 2010 to 2016. They are not portraits, although the artist does admit to being a close observer of people in the street.  Writing in the New Yorker, David Nolan referred to them as a kind of ‘geek classicism’.  The works are of uniform size, and draw one in with a power to match a Lucas Cranach Adam and Eve.  Nutt uses thinned acrylic paints.  This is significant because the colour used this way has a translucency that means he has to build up many layers of paint to achieve the desired effect.  He is interested not in brush strokes, the paintings are entirely without gesture, but in the impasto brought about by this layering which in turn lends the heads an extraordinary three-dimensionality