Bridget Riley
Bridget Riley (B.1931), Pass 1981. Sold for £906,300.

Bridget Riley and female artists triumph at Bonhams Post-war & Contemporary Art Sale in London


Impressive results for works by female and under-represented artists with works by Lynne Drexler and Helen Frankenthaler also smashing pre-sale estimates

London –Female artists stole the show at Bonhams’ Post-War & Contemporary Art sale yesterday (Thursday 13 October) in New Bond Street, London. The top lot of the sale was Pass 1981 by Bridget Riley (B.1931), which sold for an impressive £906,300. Floral Chaos, 1967 by Lynne Drexler (1928-1999) sold for £403,500 against an estimate of £100,000-150,000. There were also impressive results for Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), with Untitled, circa 1958-1961 achieving £365,700 against an estimate of £150,000-250,000, and Untitled, 1994, achieving £98,580.

The 52-lot sale made a total of £6,365,340 with 88% sold by lot and 99% sold by value.

Helen Frankenthaler
Left: Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), Untitled, circa 1958-1961. Sold for £365,700. Right: Lynne Drexler (1928-1999) Floral Chaos, 1967. Sold for £403,500.

Ralph Taylor, Bonhams Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, commented: “We are delighted to have achieved such strong results for works by female artists in the sale and in particular for works by Bridget Riley, Lynne Dexler and Helen Frankenthaler. These artists were pioneers, and it is no wonder their bold and evocative artworks captured the attention of bidders.”

Other highlights of the sale included:

Mikuláš Medek
Mikuláš Medek (1926-1971), Sorrow of the IVth Inquisitor, 1965. Sold for £731,100.
  • Mikuláš Medek (1926-1971), Sorrow of the IVth Inquisitor, 1965. Sold for £731,100. Medek is widely considered to be one of the most important representatives of Czech modern painting in the post-war period. During his life Medek was in permanent conflict with the communist dictatorship in Czechoslovakia and ended up on the Index several times. As a result, he was not allowed to exhibit his work. Sorrow of the IVth Inquisitor from 1965 is the first work of a cycle of ‘Inquisitor’ works and was executed in a rare timeframe where the artist was able to exhibit nationally and internationally.
  • Etel Adnan (1925-2021), Déjeuner au soleil, 2016. Sold for £151,500.
  • Lynne Drexler (1928-1999), Untitled, 1959. Sold for £82,200.
  • Anna-Eva Bergman (1909-1987), Grand Miroir D’argent Sur Fond Noir, 1960. Sold for £101,100.
  • Ernie Barnes (1938-2009), The Gospel Truth, 1985. Sold for £756,300.Ernie Barnes dedicated himself full-time to art following a career in professional football. The Gospel Truth is the latest of Bonhams’ recent successes in selling masterpieces by Barnes. The Gospel Truth was originally purchased directly from the artist by Tim Hauser, the eight-time Grammy winner and founder of The Manhattan Transfer. This was the first time the work had been offered on the market.
  • Georg Baselitz (b. 1938), Er ist es, ich bin es nicht, 2018. Sold for £617,700.
  • Alex Katz (b. 1927), Snow, 2004. Sold for £403,500.
  • Anish Kapoor (b. 1954), Red Void, 1993. Sold for £340,500.
  • Invader (b. 1969), BIG BLUE, 2009. Sold for £164,100.
  • Caroline Walker (B. 1982), Dividing Lines, 2011. Sold for £12,112.

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