Fiterman Masterpieces Come to Auction

LONDON -- Christie’s will present further highlights from The Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection as leading works on 2 February 2016, The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale, and 11 February 2016, the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network will identify museum-exhibited works throughout the auction.

Following the successful sale of work from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman collection in the New York sales in November 2015, this new selection brings together major British artists, including David Hockney and Barry Flanagan, alongside international figures such as Joan Miró and Andy Warhol.

From Minnesota to Palm Beach, New York, and beyond, the Fitermans held a lifelong and deeply shared affinity for fine art, and built a collection that featured artistic pioneers such as Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miró, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol.

Their collection was founded on not only the appreciation of scholarship and visual flair but also an understanding of the importance of establishing longstanding connections with artists.

Eleven works will be offered across ‘Twentieth Century’ at Christie’s, a series of auctions that take place in London from 2 - 12 February 2016.

Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction

Leading the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction are three works by David Hockney, including his vivid celebration of light and color ,Beach Umbrella' (1971, estimate: £1,000,000 – 1,500,000).

Created during a highly productive period following the devastating end of the artist’s relationship with Peter Schlesinger, the work is also a powerful testament to the therapeutic power of paint. Its vibrant colors and rich, tactile surfaces demonstrate the solace Hockney found in the medium.

Beach Umbrella was a highlight of Hockney’s landmark 1988 retrospective, which was shown to great acclaim at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Tate Modern in London.

Also offered for auction alongside Beach Umbrella are Hockney’s Parade Curtain After Picasso (1980, estimate: £600,000 – 800,000), a jubilant tribute to his greatest artistic hero, and The Sea at Malibu (1988, estimate: £600,000 – 800,000), an example of his triumphant return to painting that year, and his continued reverence for Southern California where he had a studio in Malibu.

Pop Art Champions

The Fitermans were champions of Pop Art in all its forms and whilst Hockney was a leading figure of the Brit Pop scene, in France Jean Dubuffet cultivated his own unique way of looking at the quotidian.

Dubuffet’s, Veglione d’Ustensiles (1964, estimate: £1,000,000 – 1,500,000), painted in 1964 is a vibrant early example of Jean Dubuffet’s most revered series: ‘l’Hourloupe’, a celebration of the everyday. Emblazoned against a black background, a swarming puzzle of red, white and blue segments form a teeming, interlocking mass of his now legendary visual language.

Completing this survey of international pop is Andy Warhol’s vibrant portrait of the artist Man Ray (1974, estimate: £200,000 – 300,000), a tribute by the Pop master to one of the leading figures of the Dada and Surrealist art movements.

Rendered in Warhol’s distinctive Pop palette, Man Ray’s likeness is constructed out of a single screen of Warhol’s original photograph, which is then embellished by a series of expressive brushstrokes in tones of green and golden yellow.

The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale

Featuring three works from The Fiterman Collection all by Joan Miró, The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale includes Tête, Paysage, Constellation (1974, estimate: £600,000-900,000, pictured above), one of a series of bold, free and dramatic paintings that the artist created in the early 1970s.

Included in one of the largest retrospectives of Miró’s work held at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1974, this work employs some of the most central and iconic themes and pictorial motifs of Miró’s career – namely, the head of a figure, stars and a nocturnal landscape – and portrayed them with a dramatic simplicity and expressive power.

Also offered for sale, are a pair of Miró’s groundbreaking experiments with found objects and sculpture, including Femme et oiseau (1967, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), one of the first of a pivotal series of painted bronze sculptures that Miró began of the same year.

Another major work L’Oiseau au plumage rougeâtre annonce l’apparition de la femme éblouissante de beauté (The Russet-feathered Bird Announces the Apparition of the Dazzlingly Beautiful Woman), (1972, estimate: £300,000-500,000) soars from the ground at over two metres tall and illustrates the artist’s playful and inventive imagination, revealing his ability at envisioning birds and human figures from an amalgamation of seemingly incongruous, quotidian and natural objects.

Miles and Shirley Fiterman

Miles and Shirley Fiterman began to collect soon after they were married. Initially drawn to the work of local Minnesota artists, they became ardent students of the wider art historical canon. Spirited bidders at the New York sales, the couple also worked closely with European dealers such as Daniel Lelong at Galerie Maeght, and East Coast dealers such as Leo Castelli and the esteemed Minnesota gallerist Gordon Locksley.

It was Locksley who introduced the Fitermans to Andy Warhol, when the gallerist staged the artist’s first exhibition in Minneapolis. Warhol photographed Miles and Shirley Fiterman for his celebrated series of Polaroids, and captured the essence of a couple profoundly connected with the art of their time. It was a passion the collectors believed in sharing with others in ways both large and small – a combination of personal leadership and prodigious financial support that became a model of cultural philanthropy.

Renowned patrons and philanthropists, and dedicated supporters of the arts throughout their life, Miles and Shirley Fiterman were committed supporters of the Walker Art Center, with Miles Fiterman serving as a board member and chair of the museum’s Acquisitions Committee. Over several decades, the Fitermans gifted or facilitated the purchase of some 70 works of art at the Walker, including Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture Geometric Mouse-Scale A. The couple were also benefactors and board members of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Tel Aviv Museum, and Shirley Fiterman served as president of the board of the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach.

In 1993, they delivered a groundbreaking gift in American educational philanthropy, donating a fifteen-story building to the City University of New York in downtown Manhattan.

Mr. Fiterman started a small lumber company in Minnesota soon after World War II. During the postwar building boom, the business began making kits of precut lumber to erect homes, which were sold in 41 states. In 1972, he sold the company, Miles Homes, to the Insilco Corporation.