Tag Archives: Modern Auction

Pedro Friedeberg and the Absurd

Going against the grain of serious political artwork in Mexico during the 1960s, Pedro Friedeberg’s objective was to point out the absurdity in everyday living. The artist’s light-hearted view of life naturally led him to join the Neo-Dadaist group, Los Hartos (The Fed Up).  Hating functionalism, Friedeberg once said “the house and its objects is supposed to be some crazy place that make you laugh” rather than a dreary “machine you live in.”  Along with Surrealism, Friedeberg also synthesized Early Renaissance, Rococo and Art Nouveau style into his whimsical works.  His off-center pieces include meticulously detailed paintings, gilded chairs, tables, couches and “useless objects.”  Hands being a consistent theme in his work, he is most famous for the visually entertaining Hand & Foot chair.

The October 17, 2010 Modern Art & Design Auction features three amusing works by Pedro Friedeberg including a signed airplane made of rulers and paper cut-out angels, a miniature Foot/Hand sculpture, and a miniature Hand/Sun sculpture.  These objects are exceptional examples of Friedeberg’s desire to fill space with the absurd, and ultimately bring a little smirk to viewers’ faces.

Pedro Friedeberg
Estimate: $7,000 – 9,000
To be offered in October 17, 2010 Auction

Pedro Friedeberg
5.5″ h x 3″ x 4.5″d
Estimate: $700 – 900
To be offered in October 17, 2010 Auction

Pedro Friedeberg
10″ h x 3″ x 2″d
Estimate: $800 – 1,200
To be offered in October 17, 2010 Auction

Recap: May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design Auction

Bringing together a selection of top quality material is a journey in itself, but actually seeing those items go up on the auction block for twenty seconds and find new homes is a whole other story.

The May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design auction brought together a large assortment of 20th century material, each with a distinction, but all sharing one common theme: MODERN. Modern showed up in the forms of fine art, furniture, design, and decorative arts, ranging from Mid-Century, Early 20th century, California, Danish, and French design, to Contemporary, which made up the largest portion of the auction.

LAMA Showroom full of people for the May 23, 2010 auction

All the Warhols offered found buyers with a total realizing $216,518.75. Four pieces that stood out as surprises were the Francois-Xavier Lalanne Monkeys, doubling the low estimate of $100,000, realizing $199,062.50. Three other interesting lots that far exceeded their expectations were: Pipsan Saarinen Swanson Group of Outdoor Furniture realizing $14,700, Anna Katherine Skeele War Dance realizing $13,475, and Charles & Ray Eames “Hang-it-all” realizing $8,575.

The room was full of people, including Francois-Xavier Lalanne’s daughter, who was ecstatic to see her father’s pieces sell so successfully.

Francois-Xavier Lalanne's daughter holding up one of the monkeys

Overall the sale was a success, and we are thrilled with the results. To see the results, please click here. The online catalogue lists pieces that are unsold, which are still available for purchase (please call or email Shannon at 323-904-1950 or shannon@lamodern.com to make an offer).

Thoughts on the May 23, 2010 Auction

It’s finally March and soon we are getting ready to close out the sale in preparation for photography in two weeks. Amidst the chaos at the warehouse with all the furniture and art flying in, I got a chance to take a moment to reflect on how the auction is shaping up and ask Peter a couple of questions.

What is the proportion of fine art to furniture?

Peter: For the first time the majority of the consignments is fine art.

What is an investment piece for a beginning collector to look out for?

Peter: We have a lot of small works on paper and prints in the sale under $5,000. One of my favorite areas in this auction would be the photographs. The Richard Avedon, 1971, Image of Warhol, estimate $3,000 – 5,000 will probably be a great long-term investment for a not a lot of money now.

Richard Avedon, 1971, Image of Warhol, estimate $3,000 – 5,000

Is there anything you are anticipating to go up on the auction block?

Peter: We have several works by artists we have never sold before- Thomas Hart Benton and Paul Cadmus. It will be interesting to see what the reaction to this material is with our regular buyers.

In terms of the market have you seen a shift in what people want to sell?

Peter: I am starting to get offered a lot more works from the 70s and 80s in both furniture and fine art. Also, in this auction we have the largest selection of recent contemporary art, so it seems more people are starting to sell recent works. In the past the average age of modern and contemporary artwork that was offered to us was about 25 years old. This time we have a lot of works that are less than five years old.

What is your favorite piece you have gotten in so far?

Peter: John McLaughlin, “Untitled (#33)”, 1958. Even though it’s a small work, it has the most beautiful proportions of any paintings by this artist that I have seen in the market in some time. In addition, the condition of the work is pristine, which is very rare for McLaughlin’s work.

John McLaughlin, “Untitled (#33)”, 1958, estimate $20,000 - 30,000