'One of the greatest examples of 20th century American painting' could bring $35m

Sotheby's has excitedly announced that four masterworks by the celebrated American Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still (1904-1980) will headline Sotheby's Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Wednesday, November 9, 2011.

The four paintings come from the Estate of Patricia Still and are being sold by the City and County of Denver.

They are expected to realize a combined total in excess of $50m, and are being sold to further support the endowment of the new Clyfford Still Museum, which is scheduled to open to the public in Denver on November 18, 2011.

The paintings will be shown in Hong Kong and London at the beginning of October prior to the New York pre-sale exhibition.

"The appearance of these paintings on the open market represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors of iconic and Abstract Expressionist art," said Tobias Meyer, Worldwide Director of Contemporary Art at Sotheby's.

"A single painting by the artist of such quality as these would be a unique and extraordinarily sought-after occasion, as there are few Still paintings in private hands.

"With the additional understanding that the Clyfford Still Museum will never sell any works, we expect the sale to generate tremendous excitement.

"Offering a group of this calibre, which demonstrate the staggering depth of one of the most important artists of the 20th century, is therefore a great privilege for Sotheby's. Each of these paintings would be a wonderful addition to a connoisseur's collection in this field."

Clyfford Still contemporary art painting 1949-A-no-1
Clyfford Still's exciting contemporary art painting 1949-A-no-1

Considered to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Clyfford Still (1904-1980) was among the first generation of American Abstract Expressionists who developed a new, powerful approach to painting in the years immediately following World War II.

Still was independent, bold, incisively intelligent and utterly influential. This insightful selection of four paintings presents the full spectrum of the artist's career that represents a complete historical retrospective of Still's repertoire.

1949-A-No. 1 is the most impressive of all the works. With its fiery reds and velvety blacks, jagged passages and textured strokes, was included in the 1959 retrospective organised at the Albright (now Albright-Knox) Art Gallery.

Tobias Meyer continued: "The jewel of the group is 1949-A-No. 1, which is without doubt one of the greatest examples of 20th century American painting. This piece confirms Still's resonance and importance within the canon of 20th century American art."

The painting is expected to realise $25-35m. Watch this space for more on the other works: 1947-Y-No. 2, (PH-1033) and (PH-351)

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