Category Archives: Buzzworthy Items

Items worth mentioning

Richard Neutra Channel Heights Housing Project Prototype Table Lamp









Upon America’s entrance into Word War II in 1941, the country focused on wartime production to supply armaments and vehicles for campaigns in Western Europe and the Pacific. In order to house the thousands of workers building ships in the San Pedro Harbor, architect Richard Neutra (1892-1970) was commissioned to design the Channel Heights Housing Project. Families living in the low-rent structures had access to a health center, gardens, daycare, and even a woodshop for the workers to build their own furniture. The rooms were spartan but comfortable, outfitted with built-in furniture and Neutra’s famous Boomerang Chair. Prior to the completion of the development, Julius Shulman photographed the lamp resting on a Channel Heights windowsill. The housing project long ago demolished, the lamp, designed at Neutra’s Silver Lake workspace, has remained in the family’s California homes ever since. According to Neutra’s son, Raymond, “This lamp and I have grown old together, surviving the battering of seven decades and showing the inevitable scars.”

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

One of only two known examples to survive, this lamp is the epitome of what would later be known as “form follows function”. Four simple planks of wood, a pane of glass, a light bulb, and wire come together in an elegantly simple design that captures Neutra’s essence. His programmatic architecture is reflected in the cantilevered and asymmetrical elements.

– Peter Loughrey

Dr. Neutra who is auctioning this family heirloom, is donating the proceeds to the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation for the restoration of the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL studio and residences.


Lot Information:

Richard Neutra
Prototype table lamp
Channel Heights Housing Project
10.125″ h x 18″ l x 4″ d
Estimate $20,000 – $30,000
To be offered in the May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Just in: Four Richard Pettibone Paintings

Richard Pettibone is an inventive artist who helped establish the conceptual art movement known as “Appropriation”.

While creating Pop-style sculptures with his skills as a miniature enthusiast, Pettibone took on the idea of creating small paintings and sculptures based on the images he saw in art publications such as Art in America.

Artists like Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Johns were already using celebrity photos, comic book illustrations, and the American flag respectively to co-opt or appropriate popular iconography, thus making a statement about what could be used as fine art. Pettibone’s simple appropriation of the other artists’ images was re-enforcing this concept by acknowledging that the paintings themselves had entered pop culture status. (If a soup can was Pop art, a painting of a soup can was Pop art, then a painting of a painting of a soup can was Pop art etc.)

The fact that Pettibone made each small painting exactly the size it was reproduced in the art magazines (sometimes as small as an inch) was a somewhat Duchampian statement of not copying a painting, but copying an image of a painting.

Lot Information:

Richard Pettibone
Roy Lichtenstein. Tex. 1962.
Oil on canvas
Pencil marked verso “#29”
4.5″ x 4.5″
Estimate $40,000 – $60,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Richard Pettibone
Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1971
Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas with artist frame
Signed and dated on the frame verso “R. Pettibone ’71”
1.75″ x 1.75″ 
Estimate $7,000 – $9,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction  

Richard Pettibone
Roy Lichtenstein. Golf Ball. 1962.
Oil on canvas
11 3/8″ x 10 3/8″ 
Estimate $35,000 – $45,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction  

Richard Pettibone
Oil on canvas
Signed verso “Richard Pettibone 1966”
6 1/8″ x  7 1/8″ 
Estimate $10,000 – $12,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction  

Just in: R.M. Schindler Custom Desk

After constructing the Kings Road House in West Hollywood using redwood and concrete in 1922, Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler (1887-1953) continued experimenting with forms and materials throughout Los Angeles, punctuating the hillside neighborhoods with modern design throughout the first half of the century. Designed by Schindler for the Armon House in Los Angeles’ Mount Washington neighborhood, the desk, like the house, is constructed of sanded pine plywood. The single-family dwelling was built towards the tail end of Schindler’s robust career when his architectural style had achieved continuity through exposed wood frames and intricate geometrical designs. Utilitarian and spacious, this desk foreshadows commercial models that have become commonplace in the American home.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Rudolph M. Schindler
designed for the Armon House 1946
Estimate $30,000 – 50,000
To be offered in the May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Sheine, Judith. “The Architecture of R.M. Schindler King of the Hills.” Art Forum, May 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2012.

Just In: Diane Arbus Topless Dancer

Diane Arbus (1923-1971) pioneered a now widespread black and white photographic technique employing classic 19th century portraiture and human subjects surrounded by their elements. Her photos, startling, blunt, and controversial, often depict the pariahs of society such as transvestites, dwarfs, and nudists. Topless Dancer in Her Dressing Room, San Francisco (1968), taken three years prior to Arbus’ death, exemplifies her ability to capture human subjects at their most pedestrian, whether they’re seated on a park bench or relaxing in a strip club back room after a performance. Equipped with a shoddy mirror, a gnarly coat hanger, and makeshift cooling system, the confining dressing corner is no longer a mystery to the voyeur, yet the topless dancer in her stage finery remains alluringly out of reach.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Diane Arbus
Topless Dancer in Her Dressing Room, San Francisco
Silver Gelatin print
Image: 14.75″ x 14.75″; Frame: 21.25″ x 17″
Estimate $12,000 – $15,000
To be offered in May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction 

Just In: Andy Warhol Liz

One of Andy Warhol’s first screen prints, Liz is especially important because it marks the beginning of the artist’s fascination with celebrity imagery in his print works. From an edition of approximately 300, this print was created in 1964-65 and was published by Leo Castelli Gallery. This work will be offered in the upcoming May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction.

Andy Warhol
Liz (F/S II 7)
Offset lithograph printed on white paper
Edition of approximately 300
Signed and dated lower right
Publisher: Leo Castelli
Image: 21.75″ x 21.75″
Estimate $25,000 – 35,000

Bob Thompson: Symbolic Expressions

Two paintings from 1964 by Bob Thompson are going up on the auction block on October 9, 2011 as part of The Collection of Richard Dorso.

During his brief yet prolific career, Bob Thompson (1937-1966) became one of the first African-American painters to be embraced by the art market. The sudden death of Thompson in 1966 introduced a void in the critical appreciation of African-American artists that didn’t end until the emergence of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Thompson was a devoted student of the classical masters and sought to reinvigorate their themes for a contemporary audience through his use of bold colors and narrative warmth. In 1959, after completing his studies in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson moved to New York’s Lower East Side where he immersed himself in the burgeoning jazz and arts scene. His work gained immediate attention at the Delancey Street Museum and two years later he was granted a Whitney Foundation fellowship to paint in London and Paris where he was finally able to study the old masters firsthand. After traveling and living with his wife in Ibiza, Spain, Thompson returned to New York City to exhibit his work at a number of galleries and museums, including the Paula Cooper Gallery, the Martha Johnson Gallery, the Whitney Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1966, eager to continue his lifelong study of the mythological themes that illuminate his paintings, Thompson and his wife traveled to Rome where his continued drug use during his recovery from gall bladder surgery resulted in his death.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Lot Information

Lot 49
Bob (Robert Louis) Thompson  
Venus & Adonis  
Oil on canvas  
Signed “BThompson”, dated, titled verso
Canvas: 10″ x 8″; Frame: 11″ x 9″  
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000

Lot 50
Bob (Robert Louis) Thompson  
Mythological scene    
Acrylic on paper  
Signed and dated lower left  
Image: 10.75″ x 10.125″; Frame: 16.5″ x 15.5″  
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000

“Bob Thompson (1937-1966).” Hollis Taggert Galleries, 2011. Web. 3 Oct. 2011.

Robert Cottingham – House with Awnings

American Photorealist painter Robert Cottingham (b. 1935) employs hyper-rich color, a photographic framework, and sharp lines and shadows in his depictions of the urban landscape. He is especially inspired by the details of storefront signage and building facades, and each city in which he has resided has been a catalyst for his distinct close-ups. Although many describe him as an American Pop artist, Cottingham is a self-proclaimed Photorealist who imprints onto the canvas a personal interpretation of his photographs. Currently an internationally recognized master of his genre, he began painting in Los Angeles in 1964 when his employer, the advertising agency Young & Rubicam, transferred him to provide some New York experience to the West Coast offices. Cottingham describes this move as an advantageous change, “I was restless. I had maybe two paintings under my belt, and they were small.”

While working for the agency, he rented a small studio on Olympic Boulevard a few blocks east of Western Avenue that was once a shoe repair shop. The Southern California sunlight drenched Los Angeles’ two-story urban sprawl, an unexplored landscape that was foreign to Cottingham. He recalls, “In New York, the buildings would block my subjects. It was like I was working in a canyon. In L.A., I was always sure the sun would get to my subject matter.” Enthralled with the ubiquity of elaborate advertisements, he took snapshots of Los Angeles’s urban scenes and objects – storefronts, busses, neon signs, and theater marquees – and transformed them into paintings. He was also interested in the residential architecture of Hollywood and surrounding neighborhoods, “These houses were so fascinating. So different from what I knew.” Cottingham had three shows from 1968-70 at the Molly Barnes Gallery where he exhibited his eight Hollywood Stills, including House with Awnings (1968), a Sunset Boulevard home saturated in sunlight in front of a cloudless sky. Robert Cottingham continues to paint and exhibit his work, and in addition to numerous solo and group exhibitions and a retrospective at the Long Beach Museum of Art, his paintings are in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Hamburg Museum.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

A conversation between Peter Loughrey (PL), Richard Dorso (RD), and Bianca Dorso (BD) regarding the Cottingham.

PL: I guess I’ll ask you about the Cottingham a little bit, too, because I want to write something special in the catalogue about (it), do you have any recollections of why you picked that one.

RD: Well, I’ll confess something. I like happy art – and you’ll notice most of the art is happy.

PL: Right.

RD: And this house is very happy. The Cottingham – there’s an interesting story about the Cottingham. When he had the show, Long Beach or—

BD: It was Long Beach.

RD: The gallery called and asked for my picture, early in putting it together. And I didn’t want to ruin—I just don’t like when they …. So, he called and said, “Would you do it?” and it was two days before the show. So, I finally consented and Bianca called him and said how much she liked the show. She says she thought my picture was the best in the show and he said it may not be the best but it’s the happiest. The other house pictures were threatening. Barbara Feldon – I took her into Molly Barnes and she got one, and it’s much more sinister. All the house pictures were sinister except this one.

PL: They were sinister because the colors were darker?

RD: Dark, yeah. Blacker. More night. Shadows. They were threatening.

PL: Yeah. Well, this one definitely is very bright and optimistic and—

RD: Happy. That’s why I bought it. 

Lot Information

Lot 44
Robert Cottingham
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 59” x 59.5”; Frame: 59.5” x 60”
Literature: Hollywood Stills: House Portraits by Robert Cottingham, Exhibition Catalogue, Long Beach Museum of Art, 1997
Provenance: Molly Barnes Gallery
Estimate $80,000-120,000

Literature: Cottingham, Robert. Telephone interview. 20 Aug. 2011.

“Robert Cottingham.” Forum Gallery., 2011. Web. 20 Aug. 2011.