April 5, 2019 – PBA Galleries saw enthusiastic and spirited bidding in their April 4th 2019 auction of Art & Illustration – Prints & Graphics – Illustrated Books – Miscellanea. The auction celebrated the centennial of the Bauhaus art school (1919-1933) in Weimar, Germany, a groundbreaking modernist movement which profoundly influenced art, architecture, graphic design, and typography. The Bauhaus school was famous for its approach to the “total” work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk) in which crafts, fine arts, and architecture melded seamlessly together. In honor of that impactful artistic cohesion, PBA Galleries brought together various works of fine art from the 19th century to modern and contemporary styles, each lot carefully curated for its own unique contribution to its respective genre.
Formulation : Articulation by Josef Albers,one of 1000 copies, sold for $13,200. Albers, a Bauhaus emigré, supervised the production of this work during his tenure at Yale University, selecting each work and arranging their order into a collection of 127 colorful screenprints. Other Bauhaus standouts included prints by Herbert Bayer, the cutting-edge master of the school’s printing department. Bayer remains best-known for his development of “Universal,” the sans-serif, exclusively lower-case typeface., His prints garnered competitive bidding, as the signed lithograph Event brought $510.
Other pioneering art schools in the auction included the pop art movement, well-represented by lots from influential British artist David Hockney. Spirited bidding took place over two Hockney etchings, both from his series for Fourteen Poems from C.P. Cavafy. A striking full-frontal male nude illustration, In an Old Book, fetched far above its estimated price selling for $4,800. Hockney’s other etching, [Two Boys Aged 23 or 24] also exceeded expectations realizing $5,700, a testament to the value of Hockney’s enduring influence.
Bidders had the opportunity to purchase from dozens of fine press books with fascinating illustrations. The Apocalypse: The Revelation of Saint John the Divine, an artist book by Jim Dine published by Arion Press exemplified a unity of compelling content and provenance: Not only does the book include 29 spectacular woodblock prints by Dine, but this was Arion Press printer Glenn Todd’s personal copy. The sale price spoke to this unique value, realizing $3,300.
Other standout lots included I Have a dream by Charles White (1918-1979), a superb mid-century artist famous for civil activism and his images of historical and contemporary African-Americans. PBA offered one of White’s most significant lithographs, which was commissioned by the Graphic Arts Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to coincide with their exhibition “Two Centuries of Black American Art,” held in 1976. The signed lithograph was estimated at $2,000/3,000 and the hammer fell at $4,200.
PBA Galleries was pleased with the success of the auction and is preparing for their next auction of prints and graphics. PBA Galleries holds sales of fine, rare and collectible books as well as other works on paper every two weeks and invites consignments for all upcoming sales. For more information regarding upcoming sales, consignments, or auction results, please contact PBA Galleries at (415) 989-2665 or [email protected].