Category Archives: Uncategorized

Just in: Karel Appel Untitled (Cat)


LAMA has just acquired a one-of-a-kind drawing by the Dutch painter, sculptor, and writer Karel Appel (1921-2006).
Along with Danish artist Asger Jorn and Belgian artist Corneille, Appel founded the experimental artist collective known as Cobra, an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Through their exhibitions and periodical of the same name, Dutch modernism was reborn and Appel’s distinctive style began to materialize. His rough, often haunting paintings and lithographs exhibit a color-heavy abstract expressionist perspective on children and animals, reflected by life in postwar Europe. As he broke from the Cobra movement in the early 1950s to join Art Autre – which included Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Sam Francis – he won the Unesco prize at the 1954 Venice Biennale and in the same year, he had his first American exhibition at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. In 1957, he traveled to New York to paint portraits of some of his favorite jazz musicians, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, and Miles Davis. Created in 1960 only three years after his landmark American visit, Untitled (Cat) harnesses the intrinsic impact of primary colors, evoking a primal and chaotic representation of one of his most familiar subjects.

Just this week, over 400 works by Appel were found in the warehouse of a British logistics company. They were lost in transit to the Karel Appel Foundation in 2002. Check out the story here.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

“Karel Appel Biography.” Karel Appel Foundation. Karel Appel Foundation, 2012. Web. Feb. 2012.

Karel Appel
Untitled (Cat)
Colored crayon and graphite on paper
Signed, dated and inscribed lower right
Image: 17.25″ x 23″; Frame:  25″ x 30″

Estimate $12,000 – 15,000
To be included in the May 6, 2012 Modern Art & Design Auction

LAMA Holiday Hours

LAMA will be open for the rest of the week for shipping pick ups,
but will close early on December 23rd at 1 p.m.

LAMA will be closed from 1 p.m. December 23, 2011
through January 2, 2012.

LAMA will re-open on January 3, 2012 at 9 a.m.

Happy Holidays &
Happy New Year
from LAMA!

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings Sans Epoque Tables

Responsible for designing over 200 pieces of furniture in Hilda Boldt Weber’s Bel Air mansion Casa Encantada, British designer and writer T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings (1905-1976) brought a fresh interpretation to neo-classical furniture design to the mid-20th century. While studying in London, Robsjohn-Gibbings gained experience as a draftsman and then continued his formal education at the University of Liverpool, London University, and the Slade School of Fine Art. He moved to New York to pursue a career with the Elizabethan furniture importer, Charles of London, where his design sensibility took shape. The designer’s lifelong fascination with classical design was showcased at his newly opened Madison Avenue studio with his first line of furniture, Sans Epoque, described by Robsjohn-Gibbings as “a new form of clear-cut beauty based on ancient traditions of purity of line…form without period because pure beauty is everlasting.” It was at Casa Encantada that Robsjohn-Gibbings was given the opportunity for the Sans Epoque philosophy to flourish. Working closely with the Peterson Studios in Santa Barbara, he supplied Greek, Roman, and Egyptian themed furniture for each of the sixty-four rooms, including this pair of Cupid end tables. In 1986, some of Robsjohn-Gibbings’ era-defining designs from Casa Encantada were featured in High Styles: Twentieth-Century American Design at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer 

Head, Jeffrey. “T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings.” Modern Americana: Studio Furniture from High Craft to High Glam. Ed. Todd Merrill and Julie V. Iovine. New York: Rizzoli, 2008. 194-205. Print.

Lot Information:
Lot 188
Pair of Sans Epoque Tables
Custom, designed circa 1930
Retains “Sans Epoque Robsjohn-Gibbings” stamp
25.75” x 15” x 15”

Robert Graham Elisa

In the history of Western art, the subject of the human body is enduring. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, California sculptor Robert Graham (1938-2008, born Mexico City, Mexico) contributed to the tradition of the nude with an approach that melds realism with expressive force. Some of his most notable sculptures include large-scale public commissions such as the Olympic Gateway depicting two headless athletes for the 1984 Olympiad in Los Angeles and the Joe Louis Memorial in downtown Detroit (1986). For the “Eight Statues” exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York in 1994, Graham created a series of female nudes in various poses. Characteristic of Graham’s treatment of the female body, one of these forms, the cast bronze Elisa (1993), is a realistically rendered portrait nude of a young woman.  A self-contained and confident figure atop a flawless architectural column and base, the work is a synthesis of classical form and a modern perspective.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Lot information:

Lot 152
Robert Graham
Bronze on footed pedestal
From the edition of approximately 12
58″ high
December 11, 2011 Important Modern Art & Design Auction
Estimate $40,000 – 60,000

Robert Graham. Robert Graham Studio, 2008. Web. 22 Oct. 2011.


Tom Sachs Hello Kitty

Barneys New York in 1994 had one of the most provocative Christmas storefront windows in the city. Shoppers were greeted with three Bart Simpson wise men, a McDonald’s stamped stable, and a Hello Kitty Virgin Mary. This was the holiday ruse of Tom Sachs (b. 1966), a Westport, Connecticut-born artist whose fascination with consumerism and luxury goods became the basis of his work. Sachs explained, “I started out doing work about brands as a way of investigating my feelings about luxury goods: wanting them, being offended by them, both at the same time.” Prior to opening his studio, Allied Cultural Prosthetics, in New York’s machine district, Sachs improved his fabrication skills during an internship at Frank Gehry’s workshop in Los Angeles. After his 1994 Barneys display, Sachs began exhibiting his “cultural prosthetics,” homemade grenades and guns branded with high fashion logos, at New York and Parisian galleries. While many of his pieces are inoperable, Sachs has constructed working objects: firearms, Knoll furniture from discarded phone books, a grand piano, and a refrigerator. According to Sachs, his career-spanning attraction to Hello Kitty and her friend Miffy stems from the cartoon icons’ “almost Buddhist sense of nothingness.” At a first-floor exhibit in New York’s Lever House, Sachs installed two 10-foot crying Hello Kitty and Miffy fountains with water pouring from their eyes. The white-painted bronze Crying Hello Kitty (2008) was placed in front of the Eiffel Tower. Hello Kitty (circa 2000), a Gucci hatbox lid with the familiar feline painted on the underside, is exemplary of Sachs’ subversive commentary of consumerist iconography.

Sperone Westwater is currently exhibiting Tom Sachs’ latest solo show “Work”, which is open now through December 17, 2011. This show precedes Sachs’ major interactive exhibition  ASTRONAUTS TRAINING MANUAL; SPACE PROGRAM 2.0: MARS, co-presented by Creative Time and Park Avenue Armory, and on view at Park Avenue Armory in New York from May – June 2012.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Lot Information:

Lot 200
Tom Sachs
Hello Kitty
Circa 2000
Acrylic and pencil on gift box lid
16” x 18.25” x 1.75”
December 11, 2011 Auction
Estimate $8,000-12,000


Sheets, Hilarie M. “This Is His Life: A Blue Whale and Hello Kitty.” New York Times, 4 May 2008. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.

Tom Sachs. Tom Sachs Studio, 2011. Web. 23 Oct. 2011.

John Chamberlain Sculpture from 1962

For over fifty years, John Chamberlain (b. 1927) has been constructing welded metal sculptures using crumpled and distorted automobile parts. In a recent New York Times interview, Chamberlain wished his claim to fame was having a drink with Billie Holiday, though it is his innovative, “articulate wadding” that has earned him international acclaim. After studying sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina in the 1950s, he began working primarily with car parts. He recalls, “It was like, God, I finally found an art supply, and it was so cheap it just made you laugh.”  In 1961, the same year he was invited to participate in the São Paulo Biennale, his sculpture was included in an important survey exhibition, The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The influential Leo Castelli Gallery in New York began showing Chamberlain’s work in 1959, and Chamberlain had a solo show there in January of 1962.

As he continued to construct the large-scale automobile sculptures that became his trademark, Chamberlain experimented with some of the same materials in smaller, mixed media relief sculptures. Untitled (1962) is a complex tangle of rusted metal scraps exploding from a canvas of stapled brown paper. Its willful disorder evokes Chamberlain’s early experimentation with poetry at Black Mountain College, where he explored the visual combination and structure of the words on the paper, and is characteristic of his continually evolving engagement with the process of assemblage.

Chamberlain was honored with major retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1971, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1986, and the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Germany in 1991. Now 84, he is still creating massive, mangled sculptures at his Shelter Island, New York studio with the help of Belgian fabricators. A career-spanning exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York is slated for 2012. Chamberlain is currently represented by Gagosian.

– Paul Des Marais, Contributing Writer

Lot Information:

Lot 194
John Chamberlain
Mixed media relief on panel
Signed and dated lower right;
Leo Castelli, New York label verso.
Relief: 12” x 12” x 5”;
With mount: 17” x 17” x 7.25”
Provenance: Leo Castelli , New York;
Betty Asher, Los Angeles (acquired from Castelli in 1962); Private Collection, Los Angeles (acquired from Asher c 1970).
December 11, 2011 Important Modern Art & Design Auction
Estimate $150,000-200,000


Cohen, David. “The Probity of Modernism: Collages by John Chamberlain and Alfred Leslie.” Art Critical, 12 Nov. 2010. Web. 1 Nov. 2011.

“John Chamberlain.” Guggenheim Museum. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2011.

Kennedy, Randy. “A Crusher of Cars, a Molder of Metal.” New York Times, 8 May 2011. Web. 1 Nov. 2011.

Happy Birthday Picasso!

Today is Pablo Picasso’s birthday! He was born on October 25, 1881.

What better way to celebrate than to unveil three beautiful Picasso ceramics that will be offered in the upcoming December 11, 2011 Important Modern Art & Design Auction.

Pablo Picasso
Trois sardines
Glazed ceramic
#37 of 200
12.5″ x 15.25″
Numbered with edition verso; Madoura Edition Picasso stamp verso
Raime #34
Estimate $9,000 – 12,000

Pablo Picasso
Mat Owl Platter
Stamped and painted ceramic
Edition of 450
15.25″ x 12.25″
“Edition Picasso Madoura” verso with Madoura stamp
Ramie 284
Estimate $7,000 – 9,000

Pablo Picasso
Face No. 0
From the edition of 500
Marked Picasso and Madoura verso
Raime 458
Estimate $4,000 – 6,000

More Auction News from LAMA

Los Angeles Modern Auctions’ (LAMA) single-owner auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso held on October 9, 2011 was one of the strongest sales in LAMA’s history and marks the highest results for Fine Art for the company.

In a press release from October 10, 2011, LAMA mentioned a Craig Kauffman oil painting on Masonite and claimed the sale price of $4,687.50 was “a new record for a painting” by the artist.  However, according to the Frank Lloyd Gallery, which represents the Kauffman Estate, the current world auction record of $146,500 was established on March 9, 2011 at Sotheby’s New York. The work, Untitled from 1967, is described by Sotheby’s as “acrylic lacquer on vacuum formed Plexiglas” and was erroneously assumed by LAMA to be a sculpture due to its three-dimensional nature and being listed as sculpture on Internet databases.  According to Frank Lloyd, Kauffman always considered these works, however unorthodox, to be paintings nonetheless. LAMA regrets the error.

In addition to the record-breaking results for original works by De Wain Valentine and Roland Reiss, LAMA is happy to announce that the Dorso Auction set more auction records for prints and multiples:

  • Roy Lichtenstein’s Sunrise sells for the highest price on record at auction, realizing $21,250. The work, a screen print from 1965, found extremely competitive bidding because of its excellent condition and strong provenance.
  • Ellsworth Kelly’s Green, a color lithograph from 1964-65, soared to a new auction high of $10,625, beating the previous result of $6,250.
  • Adolph Gottlieb’s Hieroglyph set a new auction record for any print by the artist, reaching $9,375. Another example from the edition of this extremely rare drypoint from 1944 was featured in the artist’s print retrospective Adolf Gottlieb: Early Prints from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College in 2006.

Source for auction record data

Record Breaking Sale – The Collection of Richard Dorso

Yesterday the October 9th auction of The Collection of Richard Dorso had records, bargains, and everything in between.

The sale totaled nearly $1.54 million, more than doubling the pre-sale estimate of $657,000, with 100% of the 417 lots sold.  LAMA set new auction records for De Wain Valentine and Roland Reiss, both of whom are currently featured in Pacific Standard Time exhibitions.  And since this was a no reserve auction, smart buyers went home happy with treasures from every price category.   Works with attractive estimates sold particularly well, encouraging buyers to join the bidding.

The top lot of the sale was the iconic John Baldessari 8th and D, National City, estimated at $80,000 – 120,000. After furious bidding it climbed to a staggering $293,750.  

But that is not all. Other works that far exceeded pre-auction estimates were the John Baldessari Sleep While You Grow Rich, which was estimated at $80,000 – 120,000, and realized $187,500; also Richard Tuttle’s Untitled from Letters (the Twenty-Six Series) estimated at $15,000 – 20,000, realized $59,375. In addition, two Bob Thompson paintings, were the sleeper hits of the show–each estimated at $4,000 – 6,000, together totaled $75,000.


  • De Wain Valentine Circle (est. $3,000 – 5,000) set a new auction record for the artist bringing $32,500
  • Roland Reiss The Dancing Lessons: The Reconciliation of Yes and No (est. $4,000 – 6,000) set a new auction record for the artist, bringing $15,000


  • The Kees van Dongen Le Coquelicot, estimated at $600 – 900 sold for a whopping $13,750
  • The Adolf Gottlieb Hieroglyph, from a very small edition of 15, estimated at $600 – 900, brought $9,375
  • Jon Friel Untitled pop-art gem estimated at $500 – 700, achieved  $4,687.50
  • Gifford Myer’s text-based conceptual piece Do Not Touch Works of Art estimated at $500 – 700, fetched $4,687.50

Fresh, original works with strong provenance and low estimates brought a global audience, resulting in record-breaking attendance in the room, on the phones and on the Internet.  Buyers were drawn to this collection, even in this economy, proving freshness leads to desirability.

 Peter Loughrey, Director:

“The records set by the Dorso Collection show us the beauty of how auctions work today. Small companies now have the ability to reach top collectors in many specialty fields. This proves you don’t have to sell Modern Art in New York to obtain the top price.”

Paul Wonner – Bay Area Figurative Artist

In the 1950s and 60s, Paul Wonner (1920-2008), a participant in the Bay Area Figurative movement, produced colorful, ethereal paintings. After completing military service in Texas and working in New York, he found his home in California as he earned his master’s degree at UC Berkeley. It is here that he gained recognition for his abstract figural paintings with loose brushstrokes of bold color, like Drawing in the Studio(1964). He spent about twenty years in Southern California teaching at the Otis Art Institute and UC Santa Barbara until he settled permanently in the Bay Area in 1976. Wonner found his niche within the Figurative movement in the late 60s when he began drawing and painting with a distinctly realist style characterized by sharper lines and dark shadows. In the 1970s, the artist turned his focus to carefully arranged still life compositions in which objects from contemporary life are meticulously rendered in a manner evocative of the still life tradition of the Dutch Baroque. Wonner’s mastery of color and composition is apparent in the expressive, narrative intensity of his figurative work as well as his highly detailed still life paintings.

– Paul DesMarais, Contributing Writer 

Literature: Baker, Kenneth. “What set Bay Area painters apart in ‘60s.” San Francisco Chronicle. 23 Jan. 2009. Web. 29 July 2011.

Baker, Kenneth. “Bay Area Painter Paul Wonner Dies.” San Francisco Chronicle. 25 Apr. 2008. Web. 29 July 2011.

Hopkins, Henry. 50 West Coast Artists. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1981. Print.

View all three Paul Wonner works online here. 

Lot Information

Lot 53
Paul Wonner
Drawing in the Studio
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right
Felix Landau Gallery label verso
Canvas: 24″ x 30″; Frame: 24.75″ x 31″
Estimate $15,000 – 20,000

Lot 54
Paul Wonner
Untitled (Nude)
c. 1961
Watercolor on paper
Signed lower left
Sheet: 18″ x 11.75″; Frame: 25″ x 18.5″
Estimate $8,000 – 12,000

Lot 55
Paul Wonner
Untitled (Nude)
c. 1961
Watercolor on paper
Signed lower right
Sheet: 11.75″ x 17.75″; Frame: 18.5″ x 24.75″
Estimate $8,000 – 12,000